Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Before treating our YDisciple program and the Payne rectory situation, I would like to announce that we have hired somebody to replace Heather Miller, our Administrative Assistant. I am happy to welcome Kris Stallkamp to our parish staff. Kris – whom many of you will know, since she and her husband Dave are our parishioners – comes to us most recently from her work as Receptionist and Legal Secretary for Hyman and Hyman Attorneys-At-Law, where she has been for the past eleven years. Much of her work at the law offices transfers nicely to the skills needed as Administrative Assistant in our office. I am grateful for Kris’ willingness to join us. I am hopeful that she and the parish will be mutually blessed by this move. (Perhaps the majority of people encountering Kris in our parish office will be found there more happily than those who had to enter the law offices!?) Welcome, Kris!
Next, I would like to address the situation of the rectory at Payne’s campus. A couple weeks ago it was brought to my attention that there is a significant leak in the roof, evidenced by a couple of interior, downstairs walls that are starting to lose their plaster from the amount of water coming in. So I went over to the rectory and took a tour. I think it is an awesome little rectory in so many ways; but given the fact that it has been neglected for quite a while, there are many problems with it. And I think we do not have sufficient reason to try to fix it up. I do not envision anybody living there any longer. This seems to have been the sentiment well before I came to the parish, given that we found a letter from the Diocese – dated April 22, 2013 – giving us permission to raze the rectory. It is also the case that when I first sat down with parish maintenance personnel, soon after my arrival, this rectory razing was mentioned to me as one of the projects on the docket.
What exactly is wrong with the rectory? Well, I already noted the leak in the roof that is significant enough to deteriorate a couple of interior downstairs walls. We would have to find the leak, replace any rotten wood, re-shingle, etc. Then we would have to assess the water damage in the walls and replace any rotted wood, drywall and paint . There is also the smell of mold inside. The rectory would need a thorough cleaning, if it were ever to be used again.
The bigger problems, however, are more fundamental to the structure. Look closely at the brick on the outside of the building, and you can see that so much of it is simply flaking away. The condition of the brick on the rectory is quite different from the quality of the brick of the church itself. If you look up towards the chimney, you can see how quite easily a piece of brick could fall. I am sure it would take a huge amount of money to repair and replace all of the deteriorating brickwork around the outside of the building. Then there is the cement between the bricks that is also in terrible shape.
Then there is a crack in the garage floor, such that a car could not be parked safely on it. The floor would give way. Again, we are looking at a lot of money to fix such major structural issues. Of course, it must be noted that we continue to pay for basic utilities in the rectory, and for taxes.
The conclusion is that I think we should follow up on the permission obtained from the Diocese prior to my arrival to raze the rectory. I feel obligated to bring the project to the Bishop’s attention again, given the years that have passed since our first obtaining permission. We will get a quote for the project first, so that we and Diocese can see how much razing the building will cost. We will soon have a “closed” sign on the rectory, given its condition. There are liability concerns with people trying still to use it; but it seems almost nobody still does use it. I believe there are still a few K of C meetings there, and perhaps a marriage prep meeting or two. I bet these could easily be moved elsewhere.
On the other hand, there are some nice pieces of furniture, and perhaps some appliances and kitchen items that we will have to consider. Do we give them to an auctioneer to handle, or do we hold a garage sale, etc.? I guess I am looking for a “rectory razing committee” to help me handle the various facets of this project. Any volunteers? I know it is very hard to consider tearing down such a building that has been part of the parish’s history, but I think the need is pretty clear. Please contact Dianne Jones in the parish office to offer help or ideas.
On another note, as of my writing this letter, we had our first training for YDisciple small-group high school men’s and women’s leaders. For a couple of months now, I have known we would be considering YDisciple as the solution for building up our high school youth ministry. Anybody who reads the bulletin or attends Mass has been aware of this. In the meantime we have done a lot of talking with parishioners to come up with ideas of potential group discussion leaders. Then we approached these people. I am so grateful for those who have said “yes” to our invitation to help us, by serving as YDisiciple men’s and women’s group leaders. I am so hopeful, given the potential of this program in our parish. We have great content. So far we have some awesome group leaders who have acceptd our invitation to lead discussion groups. Theresa Conley and I are committed to guiding this ministry as faithfully as we can. Put it all together, and I think there is a ton of potential.
We will have a number of training sessions for group leaders throughout the summer. Richard Maume, Director of the Youth Office for the Diocese of Toledo, should be joining us the last Wednesday of July to speak about youth protocol from the Diocese’s perspective; and to give us his wisdom on working in a program such as YDisciple. Perhaps you remember that it was Richard who invited a YDisciple rep and co-founder to speak in Fostoria a couple months ago to youth leaders of the Diocese. Theresa Conley and I attended that session.
For now we are planning on one men’s and one women’s group per campus, each of 5-8 youth. And each group will be led by two adults (although we still have a couple slots to fill). If we have to expand or rearrange, we will do so. We will probably have to do some assigning of youth to groups, but we are open to suggestions, if parents were to approach with a ready-made group.
Parents themselves will have website log-in info, so that they can see exactly what is being covered in each youth session; and they will have discussion starter sheets to help guide them. I am hoping parents of involved high school youth will be willing to host the group meetings in their own homes, providing refreshments and a place for fellowship for the first half-hour of each 90-minute session.
We did a YDisciple postcard mailing to every home with high school students, so hopefully nobody has been left out of the loop. We have talked about this from the pulpit and had it in the bulletin many times as well. If there is somebody you believe still needs to know about this new ministry to high school youth in our parish, or if anybody reading this has further questions, please contact Theresa Conley in the parish office for more information.
Finally, please pray for this endeavor. It is the Lord who has to make this work. He must fill our efforts with His Holy Spirit. He is the one who most wants our youth to know His love for them, and to have the capacity to live for Him.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,