On Thursday, February 19, we had another pastoral council meeting. The following is a brief summary:
-All the money for the Paulding air-conditioning project has been collected, thanks to very generous donors. The Diocese has given the final approval for the replacement of the old system. Demolition should start in the next couple of weeks, with plans to put in the new system the week after Divine Mercy Sunday.
-We reviewed very quickly the marriage preparation process. I am going to try to move the 2-day diocesan sponsored engaged retreat weekend for next year much earlier, so as not to conflict with the farming season. I’m very excited to have this process up and running finally. Marriage is too precious and beautiful to fail to provide a solid immediate preparation for it. I envision adding to the process some couples who become trained in Theology of the Body, who could partner with me in the process by meeting with engaged couples. We’ll see how this develops.
-I’ve been thinking and praying about, and discussing behind-the-scenes our need for a Wednesday night high school youth program that is more extensive. Primarily I’m looking for a person who could give about 6-8 hours a week to making a youth event happen most Wednesday nights of the school year (some summer gatherings as well?). I want somebody who feels called and has some theological training. The Diocese can also help me train somebody. I don’t think we can afford a full-time position, nor would there be enough work, considering just the high school. I mentioned to the pastoral council that I heard some people suggest that the DRE position was meant to cover the high school youth. But in fact Theresa Conley’s position originally only covered K-8 PSR at Paulding alone. Then the parishes were twinned. It was only when the parishes further were merged that she was asked to run the already-established Church and Family program (which had previously been run by Fr. Fillman, but in light of the merger he had to give up that task). She would not be able to run a Wednesday evening youth program as I have it envisioned, as I think we need, given so much input I’ve had from people since my arrival. I have a couple ideas for possibly getting a religious brother or sister to drive in and help out. I’m going to research these possibilities. I am still open for input/ideas people have in this area.
-Mari Ivan gave a report on the junior high program. In January they cooked and delivered a meal for shut-ins. There will be another service project the weekend of March 20, traveling to Our Lady of the Road homeless shelter at Notre Dame. It was noted that we should make sure the junior high PSR programs at all campuses are informed. Other meetings are happening, as advertised, with prayer and discussions and fellowship.
-For Divine Mercy Sunday we will have an afternoon event; and we will cancel the 10:30am Mass at Paulding (maintain the 8:30am Antwerp Mass), to encourage people to attend the afternoon Mass. It seems many people in our geographic area are looking for a Divine Mercy event, and we ought to provide it. Fr. Cirata at Edgerton and Hicksville was hoping he could recommend our event to his parishioners. We will sing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3 PM, followed immediately by the Mass, then by a meal. Confessions will be available 1-2:30 PM, with at least three confessors. St. Faustina’s relic will be available for veneration.
-I am looking for a new maintenance coordinator at our Payne campus. I envision a “young retiree” who would be able to take phone calls from me sometimes during the day and coordinate the various maintenance projects at the campus. Any ideas?
-We briefly discussed the annual parish retreat happening next weekend.
-The Guadalupe ceremony last December 12th ended up being a bit of a spring board for Hispanic life in our parish. Since that time we’ve had a couple “Hispanic gatherings”– one to prepare a couple for the baptism of their child, another to celebrate that baptism and have fellowship afterwards. Several additional couples and some single men participated in both of these gatherings. You might’ve noticed that we had a number of Hispanic people attend our Ash Wednesday ceremonies. I talked about perhaps providing a Mass in Spanish once a month on a Sunday afternoon (in addition to our current Masses), to accommodate those people who are much more comfortable with Spanish. It was suggested that we might consider once in a while doing the Paulding 10:30am Mass in Spanish and English – of course providing translations as need be, and necessary explanation. It was said this was done regularly when Fr. Cleo was pastor. I’m going to speak with musicians about what we might be able to do, and when we might have our first bilingual Mass. It was stated this could be a great opportunity for our youth to be exposed to the Spanish language. It certainly would be a gesture of welcome for the Hispanic community. Although it was stated that perhaps we could do it once a month, after wider consultation, I think perhaps we might agree to do it once every other month for starters, to see how it is received, and to make sure people are comfortable with it. I would love to see us do it once in a while in order to bring the Hispanic community into our parish and make them feel a part of it, rather than having them be separate all the time.
-Because the days of grace during Advent went so well, we will do the same for Lent. Rotating campuses Payne – Paulding – Antwerp, we will have 8 AM Mass, followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and confessions lasting up until 8 PM. Please consider signing up for adoration.
-We got a first quote for the repair of Payne’s sound system. (Nothing yet for Paulding.) The quote was for $13,000, basically suggesting we replace everything. I had asked for recording capacity to make mp3 sound files that could be put onto the website as need be, but that is the only extra thing we asked for. I don’t think we want to spend that much, so I’m going to ask Sweetwater to make it clearer what would minimally be needed to make the system work. We are also checking with another source. More information to come.
-Finally, we looked at the results of the Mass times survey. A counting committee with representatives from each campus tallied the results, but it took a while, being delayed by weather and then by some sickness. So we finally got the results. Out of 711 surveys mailed to homes, 308 were returned. The overwhelming majority (217) of surveys listed option #1 as first choice – keeping the schedule as it is, only moving the 5:30 PM Paulding Mass to 6PM, so that I have time to get there and can hear some confessions beforehand. 58 surveys listed option #2 as first choice and 33 surveys listed option #3. We will start the new Saturday Mass schedule (moving 5:30 PM to 6 PM) the first weekend of May.
So there is a summary of the pastoral council meeting.
On another note, as we begin to take registrations for our next academic year at Divine Mercy School, I want to express how pleased I am with the atmosphere at the school. I believe the children are getting top-notch training academically; but then they are also getting a very fine faith formation from teachers who approach reality from Catholic perspective. I hope that our parishioners are considering seriously the option of our own school for their elementary aged children. Please feel free to approach any of the school teachers or staff, or me, with any questions or concerns about the school.
May the Lord bless the rest of your Lent!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,