Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
First of all, thank you to the many who stopped by my 20th anniversary of priesthood party last Sunday, as well as those of you who sent cards with thanksgivings and prayers and even gifts! What a packed twenty years it has been! I never could have written the story of these 20 years myself. As an associate at Sandusky St. Mary’s Parish, I taught full-time high school classes. Then, to my great surprise, I was asked to go to Rome to get a license and doctorate in Biblical Theology. Then, once again to my great surprise, the seminary towards which I was heading to be on faculty lost four priests in its college division, and I ended up having to run the college. So I taught biblical classes, did spiritual direction and “external formation” direction, and administrated the college division of that seminary. Accomplishing that was a constant miracle of God’s grace, in my opinion. Then I moved back to downtown Toledo to serve at the Latin Mass parish, as well as teaching almost-full-time at Central Catholic High School and administrating the student religious formation there. After two years of this assignment, the religious order running the Polish parish in downtown Toledo pulled out of the Diocese. The Diocese asked me to pastor St. Adalbert and St. Hedwig Parishes and merge them together into one. So I was pulled out of school to take on the Polish parish situation, in addition to pastoring St. Joseph’s. That was another four years. Only a couple months after going on a three month sabbatical to learn Polish to help in that ministry, I ended up getting the call to come to Divine Mercy Parish of Paulding County. It’s been a blessing being here these last three years. It’s been a jampacked twenty years of priesthood thus far!
On another note, I thought I would share with you a few items to confirm our parish’s liturgical life. When our summer seminarian, Deacon Scott Perry, arrived, I first took him on a tour through our three churches. When he saw the Lumen Christi Missal in our pews, he was pretty amazed, because he explained to me that they’re using the exact same pew missal in his seminary. Since I knew Deacon Scott would be serving at our Sunday Masses, I wanted him to be able to chant the same parts that our permanent deacons now chant at Sunday Mass. So I sent him the same recordings that I made for our own deacons, asking him to learn these parts. He quickly told me that he already knew these parts, because they actually chant the same “solemn tone” in seminary (even daily to give the seminarians practice!) that we chant on Sunday’s. One final amazing fit: I have on my living room coffee table the book, Divine Renovation, which I gave to all of our pastoral and finance council members, to give them a better feel for the Amazing Parish movement in our country – aiming better to organize our parishes and help them have a mission orientation, reaching out to the world around them, and celebrating the liturgies in the most beautiful manner possible. When Deacon Scott saw the book on my coffee table, he was once again surprised: He told me that he had to read that book for his Pastoral Ministry class this past year. I thought it would be helpful to write down these anecdotes for you, in a way again to confirm the work we’ve all been doing at the parish.
This past week we were finally able to compare the final bids of four companies for the repair of the parking lot at Payne. We want to give the contract to the Loop Company. Because there is significant unevenness in the parking lot, and many spots where the pavement is disrupted deeply, there has to be a complete tear-out and replacement. The cost will be very close to $75,000. We have already received about $22,000 in donations specified for this project. We now have to raise the remaining $53,000. This past week we sent out a letter to the Bishop showing the various bids, and asking for permission to give the contract to Loop. (You probably remember that for any project over $30,000, we are required to get at least three bids, and then to ask permission of the Bishop for the project.) For the sake of getting the job done still this summer (We’ve been talking about it for almost a couple years, actually.) we are going to ask the Bishop to let us use money in savings, with the understanding that we will be trying to raise the funds ASAP to replenish the savings. I hope we can get the permission within a few weeks, and then we would like to accomplish this project in the last couple weeks before school starts. To give to this project, simply designate clearly somehow that the money is to be used for the Payne parking lot. If you have any questions, please contact Dianne Jones.
Finally, I will be on vacation July 3-14. So there will be no daily Masses during that time. Deacon Scott will still lead morning prayer the next two Wednesday mornings, when the Mass would normally be scheduled. The breviary is the official prayer of the Church, so it’s a great opportunity for daily Mass goers to get exposed to this prayer. Handouts will be provided. Afterwards, Deacon Scott will lead “The Gospel With Deacon Scott”, using the same format I have used for the past few weeks. Next weekend’s Mass will be celebrated by a priest from Cross Catholic Outreach. The priest’s name is Fr. John Quinn. I know you will enjoy hearing about his work and that of Cross Catholic Outreach. Cross Catholic is a fine relief organization, very trustworthy.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,