On December 10 we had another pastoral Council meeting. Below are highlights:
-We discussed impressions of both the wine tasting event at Payne and the bazaar at Paulding. Both events seemed pretty successful financially. But even more importantly, they both seemed to be very good events for community building. The next wine tasting event is scheduled for Saturday, September 10, 2016. There is some discussion about adding beer to the event. And the venue is being researched, in hopes for a bit larger of a facility.
-I learned from Chris Bercaw that there will be a beef and noodle dinner sponsored by the Right to Life Washington DC March group at next year’s Flatrock Festival In September. This past September the event did not happen, due to various organizational obstacles with the festival. The Right to Life group is probably going to have a beef and noodle dinner on January 3, 2016 as well (at our Paulding campus).
-We discussed the new parish retreat format for the beginning of Lent. The retreat team decided on one specific segment of the Eucharist presentation by Brant Pitre from the online Formed material to which the parish is now subscribed. Then I agreed to give a priestly witness/teaching on the Eucharist, and then another on the other sacraments. Plenty of other detail still have to be worked out, but all seems to be coming together well.
-We discussed the various aspects of our diocesan and parish observation of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Regarding visits to our Holy Door, it was noted that we have to make sure the door is left open until 7 PM most nights, since the hours advertised for most days and at 7 PM. Evidently there some groups that might use the narthex and lock the door before 7 PM. We really do not have the faintest idea of how much traffic we will get from pilgrims to the Holy Door, but it might be the case that there are occasions when prayer groups accustomed to using the narthex get inconvenienced a bit by visitors to the Holy Door. I hope prayer groups in the narthex will be very accommodating of guests, even being willing to move to the basement of the church on occasion, if it is clear that there will be a conflict. Again, it is very hard to predict the flow of pilgrims. Perhaps there will never be a conflict.
-I reminded everybody about the decision to host the sacrament of Confirmation at Paulding this year, whereas it was my intention at first to use Payne’s campus. Once I learned about the Holy Door, it became obvious to me that we have to have Confirmation at the Paulding campus, given the Holy Door there.
-We discussed the volunteer Thanksgiving dinner at Payne the week before Thanksgiving. There was consensus that it was a good event, and people seemed to appreciate being recognized for all their faithful service throughout the year.
-We looked at an initial draft of a questionnaire that can be used for the various volunteer ministry areas to try to get a good picture of all the volunteering that is happening at the parish. The desire and need is to create a slight structure that will better enable the pastor to support the various areas and have a line of communication opened up. Right now I am thinking about a volunteer coordinator at each campus to help with the structure. We significantly rearranged/rewrote the questionnaire, so now it seems the next step is to get the questionnaire into the hands of various volunteer leaders and start drawing up a description of what service is actually happening in the parish. With such a structure drawn up, I think parishioners will be very inspired to see how much is really being accomplished overall.
-We discussed the razing of the rectory at Payne. Two weeks ago I received the permission letter from the Diocese. The plan is to auction off everything that can be taken to an auction site. Then we have a couple recommendations for people who would like to bid on the stationary stuff in the rectory (woodwork, windows, boiler, stairwell, etc.). Liability issues would prevent us from allowing many individuals to walk through the rectory and remove stationary items. What to do with the space, once the rectory is taken down? I had recommended some more parking, an idea brought to me recently. Somebody also mentioned the possibility of a grotto for prayer. Could we do both? Provide at least a few spaces for clergy parking, since there are occasions when the spaces in front of the Morton building really don’t serve well; and then commission somebody to design and erect a Marian grotto? We are looking at a spring demolition of the rectory. Anybody want to research the possibility of a grotto, lead a committee to consider all aspects?
-We talked about the possibility of a new parish pictorial directory. Everybody seems to think it is a good idea. We regularly have companies approach the parish to offer their services. Is there a parishioner or group of parishioners who would be willing to organize and execute this project for us? If families take the opportunity to purchase family portraits as part of the project, this covers the cost of the directory for the parish. If anybody is willing to spearhead this, please call the office.
-We discussed fundraising for the Antwerp belltower moisture repair project. Money continues to come in, and two weeks ago we received some $6,500. We will just have to watch the timing of everything. If we do not get enough money before the start of the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Appeal – at which point all major fundraising is suspended – or we do not get the money in time to get permission from the Diocese for a spring repair, perhaps we see if the architect can plan on a fall repair, assuming we would have the money in time. It was asked if we could piece the project out, handling the external stuff first, then raising more money to handle the interior, etc. The problem with this is that we are asking the architect to manage the whole project, so I don’t have to. And the fee we pay the architect assumes considering the whole project at once. Dragging the project out significantly into major parts, interspersed with fundraising, would certainly cost us much more for managing.
-Although it seems we have sufficient numbers of servers for each campus, Deacon Bob Nighswander mentioned that his scheduling job would be a bit easier if we had a couple more at Antwerp. Since we are approaching a new semester, this is a good time to put the call out again for any boys interested in serving for Mass. It does help to have a large pool to choose from, especially in summer months and tournament seasons when special events make some boys unavailable. A boy must turn nine years old during the semester in which he starts. If there are any older boys out there who have never served, but are considering it now, I would love to hear from you. Please call the office or call the servers’ trainer at the campus you usually attend.
That’s it for the summary of pastoral council. Many thanks to those who helped with the documentary and meal for the vigil of Guadalupe, December 11 at the K of C Hall in Paulding, and also with the Spanish Mass and breakfast for Our Lady of Guadalupe on the 12th. Both were fine events! Also many thanks to everybody who gave so generously for the Angel Giving Trees at each campus. It is so impressive to see how great a work of mercy can become, when each person does his or her small part!
I wish you all the richest blessings with your families during your Christmas celebrations!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,