This is the first of what I hope will be a weekly bulletin letter. It will be a means for me to inform, educate and nourish above and beyond what I can accomplish in a 10 minute weekend homily. I hope you will find it helpful.
First of all, I hope we can all be patient with one another: you are accustomed to a pastor doing things a certain way; while I am accustomed to totally different parish settings. Mutually we will have to provide each other explanations for how things are done now, and how we might change some things. And change is sometimes not very easy. Let us assume the best of intentions on all sides.
Already I can say that I have every reason to assume the best of intentions on the part of Divine Mercy parishioners. In my first couple of weeks I’ve encountered very welcoming and helpful people. Moving my stuff into the rectory, I was aided by about 15 parishioners! In my 17 years of priesthood, I have been asked to move six times, as my superiors assigned me to different places. [I hope this is not an indication that I am a troublemaker!] The move to Paulding has been the smoothest one yet.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice different about my approach to the Mass is a new style of vestment. A generous friend from a previous parish donated a set of vestments for two of our campuses, and then I was given a set from my previous parishioners. So I will use this new style of vestment for most of my Masses. The style is called “fiddle-back”, because the vertical panel hanging down the front and back is sort of shaped like a fiddle. It is not “better” or “worse” than the Gothic style vestment worn by most priests in the United States. I prefer the fiddle-back, because it is lighter, and there is much less sleeve-area cloth to deal with as I am handling the sacred vessels and making sacred gestures at the altar. [I have seen the precious blood spilled, simply because the priest’s flowing chasuble catches somehow on an ornamented chalice. Also, in the Traditional Mass the priest has to hold the chalice up over his head, so that the congregation behind him can adore for a moment just after the consecration; this is much easier to do in a fiddle-back vestment.] The fiddle back is very commonly connected to the traditional Latin Mass which I celebrated over the past six years. But it is very often and increasingly worn even in the English Novus Ordo Mass. Again, the Church has expressed no preference for the fiddle back or the Gothic. Both styles can be worn at the Ordinary Form [English/Novus Ordo/Vatican II] Mass or the Extraordinary Form [Latin/Pre-Vatican II] Mass.
On another very practical note, I plan on making monthly First Friday Holy Communion calls to shut-ins of our parish. If you think we in the office might not be aware of a home-bound parishioner, please call the office to let us know. I am not sure that I can get to every home-bound soul each month, but perhaps I can split the list into two or even three groups, so that at least with lesser frequency I can see everybody. Have a blessed week!
On still another practical note, I want to inform you that I asked the Diocese to conduct a financial audit on the parish for me. This is basic protocol when a new pastor comes in, but I knew the Diocese is sort of swamped with such work, so I asked to make sure it would happen. Our audit will begin on July 15th, probably lasting for some days. Please pray for its success. It can be a great tool in my hands to help me get a feel for where we stand financially, how we are doing with financial procedures, how is our financial recording, bill-paying, etc., etc. Please pray for thoroughness and clarity
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,