Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Please mark your calendars for the weekend of September 9-10. On that weekend, Father Phil Smith, our new Director of Vocations for the Diocese, will be joining us to preach at all of our weekend Masses on the topic of vocations. Then, after the Sunday 10:30 AM Mass at Paulding, we will have a catered luncheon (by Puckerbrush) with Father Smith and any young men, grades eight through college, to hear more specifically his own vocation journey, and to give everybody an opportunity to speak with him in that smaller setting, and to ask questions. We sent postcards to homes last week, inviting any parents as well to attend with their sons. Please notify the office, so that we plan for the right number of people. It should be a rich weekend!
I am very happy that Father Smith is able to visit, because it has been very difficult for me over the last three years to invite young men to the Andrew Dinners that the Vocations Office sponsors around the Diocese. I think that is primarily because of sports commitments coinciding with the date and time of the Andrew Dinners each semester. I think that having the Vocations Director here for weekend Masses, and then for a Sunday luncheon, will be much more convenient.
In every parish, it is the pastor and all the parents in the parish, who have the duty to promote vocations to the priesthood. It is not a duty we leave only to the Bishop or the Vocations Director. But, having said that, it is a great help when the Diocese provides events that give us a specific time and place to focus intensely on the idea of God’s vocation for our own personal life. We simply have to provide these opportunities for our young men, as part of building a culture of vocations in our parish, and our Diocese. Of course, family faith life at home is an absolutely essential element in the building of this culture of vocations. What parent would not want to form sons and daughters into young men and women who will ask God first what He desires for their life, and then help them to discern the call? I hope that all parents in the parish will share with me this attitude towards vocations.
For the past couple of years we have offered a young women’s retreat in June, and that has included a strong vocational element, since our own Sister Mary Knuckles has helped present the retreat, and spoken about her own vocation, including handing out vocation material for young women. When we had our basketball events for boys this past summer with Deacon Scott Perry, I heard there were a few girls who would have liked something similar for them as well. I will have to see if I can find a basketball playing nun who could join us for a couple events in the summer. I have also thought of doing a “nun-run”, i.e., trip to several convents within reasonable driving distance. We would take high school and college women to a select number of convents to experience the life of consecrated sisters. We would probably have to set apart a few days for such an effort… Or we simply take two days, one convent at a time. (Usually the young women would stay for an overnight.) If there are any parents with young women who would be interested in such trip, please meet with me, so that we could discuss some possibilities.
Along these lines, I am also considering a trip to one of the “come-and-see” weekends that will be provided by Deacon Scott Perry’s seminary in Cincinatti. I will try to stay informed about these, and check around for interest in the parish. Those opportunities also prove to be very valuable for young men considering a call to the priesthood.
On another note, perhaps some of you saw Lee Construction working on our Payne Church back in early August. We realized that there was an active leak in the storage room of the choir loft there. The brick column, and some of the roof had to be repaired. This was a surprise expense of $3,750.
Finally, let me explain why the parking lot last weekend was still torn up for our weekend Masses. We found out that the entire cement foundation/footer of an earlier school was still intact underneath the asphalt of our parking lot. You remember that one of our earlier schools was positioned much closer to route 49, i.e., east of where the current Payne hall now stands. We did not realize that such a large section of parking lot was still underlaid with this old cement footer. The cement, and the asphalt over it, do not move well together; and this has led to some of the problems with the cracking and shifting, leaving low spots with huge puddles after rains. Removing a huge portion of the very, very thick slab of concrete set us back a couple of days. Thank you everybody for your patience with the inconvenience of our parking situation last weekend!
Finally, I am out next Sunday to help at Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine in Bellevue, Ohio. They have national Masses throughout the year, and next weekend they have a Polish Mass. The priest who normally covers this Mass for them is not available, so they called me. Because it’s a diocesan shrine with this tradition, I did not want to refuse them. One of the Precious Blood priests who care for that shrine is coming here for Sunday Masses to cover for me, as I come in to help them out. I will be here for Saturday Masses.
Have a blessed weekend!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,