First of all I want to thank everybody who has already donated to the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Appeal. As of the writing of this letter we are only $6,000 below our goal. That is pretty impressive. I am impressed by the generosity of our parishioners. I believe that when we respond to an important fund drive like this, we send a message that we are a significant and alive part of the Diocese. Remember that of all the money given above and beyond our goal 85% ends up coming back to us for special projects, etc. This “extra money” has come in handy already on a couple of occasions this past year.
Next, I am still hoping to find somebody who can coordinate maintenance for me at the Payne campus. If necessary, we can pay a modest wage. The task would be very part-time. Shoveling snow at the Payne campus has already been contracted out, so please do not let fear of this task prevent anybody from coming forward.
I’m also wondering if there is somebody in the parish who is skilled at desktop publishing. Every once in a while we have a project that requires this capacity. For example, right now, because I cannot find a set of Stations of the Cross that I like for our school, I want to take something I was able to find on the Internet and add to it some elements to complete it. This will then have to be formatted into a booklet, and I think I can find somebody to print it for us at no charge. What I’m lacking is somebody with desktop publishing capacity. Is there anybody out there willing to take on a project like this every once in a while?
I continue to get feedback regarding a high school youth program. I still have to do some research, so the task is ongoing. Most recently I was introduced to a program called “ydisciple”, produced by the Augustine Institute in Denver Colorado. This is an organization that is super solid, from the heart of the Church, producing the Symbolon program the Diocese used for catechist training last summer, also producing a marriage preparation program and many other programs. Aimed at fulfilling what studies show are the “five needs of young people” (i.e., the need to be understood, the need to belong, the need to be transparent, the need to engage in critical thinking around faith and life, the need for guidance), they put together materials for running men’s and women’s small groups. The concept is that parents themselves would help the parish recruit a young adult or college student to run a small group in their home (4-8 high school youth). The parish would help train the small group leaders. The parish would subscribe to the program, so that our small group leaders and parents could access necessary materials. What about a program like this to meet our high school youth needs? I could imagine small groups meeting three times a month, and then coming up with a parish youth activity once a month. This could be a service activity, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, etc. We could come up with a syllabus of the monthly events at the beginning of the year. What initially attracts me about the program is that it is so flexible to fit our three-campus scenario. We have some families who prefer Wednesday night gatherings, yet some families who say they can’t make Wednesday night, so we end up having to repeat presentations for Sunday. Sometimes activities held at one campus might not be well attended by people attached to another campus. I also like the fact that families who have high school kids would be motivated to host groups; and new families can join the movement as their children become high school aged. High school youth who move on to college and young adulthood could in their turn lead new groups. Here at the main office we could administrate the whole thing, keeping records of who belongs to which groups, and who are the group leaders; and we could organize the monthly joint activities. And the Diocese can help train regarding child-protection protocols, etc. The website for the program is “ydisciple.org”. There are all kinds of sample materials, if you follow the links. I am still brainstorming on all of this. I don’t want to commit to anything without doing sufficient research and consulting with parishioners, parish council, etc. I still have to do some of the research I mentioned in earlier bulletin letters. I will probably have another meeting of interested families in the not-too-distant future. Check out the “ydisciple” website and see what you think.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,