On Thursday, April 23 we had another pastoral council meeting. Here are some highlights:
-We noted that the demolition of the Payne rectory should be happening this week. At our last pastoral council meeting, we learned that there is a group from Payne interested in exploring the possibility of a small prayer grotto in that space. At this meeting, it was suggested that perhaps the grotto would have a Divine Mercy statue, a place for some seating, and perhaps be made out of cement. I said I am very open to the idea. We need a committee to consider who could do the work, who would design it, and then how much it would cost, and how to raise the money. My guess is that we would also need permission from the Diocese. I would also like to use the space for at least a couple clergy parking spots. Sometimes the spaces in front of the Morton building are not that convenient, especially if the Morton building is being used, or if there is a lot of playground activity during the school day. It seems we can consider both the parking spaces and some type of grotto.
-We need somebody to run the production of a new parish photo directory. Everybody seems to agree that now is a great time to make a new directory. I will probably be approaching a representative from each campus to lead the project.
-I presented the pithy mission statement for the Volunteer Life Committee, now led by Mari Ivan: “Can we create a structure better to empower volunteer life in the parish, involving more parishioners, and enhancing bi-directional communication and support between pastoral staff and volunteers?” I am really very hopeful about the potential in this project. Imagine a structure that includes people whose volunteer service is helping to manage that same structure, systematically surveying the various volunteer areas to make sure they have what they need. I’m hoping that perhaps by next January we have some structure built. The committee will be in contact with the various volunteer leaders in the parish, and they will continue to be in contact with the pastoral council. I think it will be impressive to see how much everybody already does, and to see this laid out in a structure on the website that serves everybody.
-I announced the upcoming “Singing The Mass Workshop” for May 21st for everybody who helps with music in any way in the parish. I also had samples of the Lumen Christi Pew Missal and Hymnal on hand, so that people could get a close-up look at what I’m suggesting the parish purchase to replace our current throwaway missalettes. We would save over $5000 per year. We’ve received a grant of $10,000 from the Auguste Shaefer Liturgy Foundation of the Diocese for the project. The council read highlights from my February 14 bulletin letter, which contains the vision laid out for the Auguste Shaefer Foundation. The hymnals and vision were pretty well received. There was one comment about a person’s favorite songs not being included. To respond to this I said that a hymnal will never contain all the songs that people love. Also, some people’s favorite songs are not really the best-suited songs for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Furthermore, there is still plenty of training to do to help us all understand what liturgical music is supposed to be in the Tradition of the Church, up through Vatican II Council. The music seminar on May 21 will be a significant step to impart such teaching. We will continue at times to teach about music, and eventually everyone will get a chance to see sample pages, including the table of contents and song lists for the hymnal, and the sample sections of the pew missal. In other words, there is a process to get us all thinking about the advantages of adopting new music materials. If we eventually adopt the new pew missal and hymnal, which I hope we do, we could still keep a supply of our current missalettes for funerals, when people are really attached to certain songs.
-We discussed the dilemma with the cleaning of our churches. At Paulding and Payne it seems there is not a system to make sure the cleaning happens, and when it does, there are very few people who share the workload. We learned that at Antwerp a system set up years ago seems still to be pretty strong. A schedule is made for the whole year, and everybody shares the workload, each team having to clean only twice or three times a year. We discussed my speaking about the problem from the pulpit, and giving people a chance to sign up with sheets in the pews. My guess is that the problem is not a lack of willingness on the part of parishioners (because I see our parishioners serving constantly!), but rather a system that is not very convenient at all, i.e., expecting all of our parishioners somehow to find their way to the cleaning schedules on the bulletin boards to sign up. If we end up deciding that the volunteer cleaning can no longer be sustained, I would have to purchase cleaning services for each campus, and I estimate this would cost about $7000. My guess is that with a better system for scheduling, we will be able to cover the cleaning. As of my writing this letter, we still need somebody at Payne to lead the scheduling, once the sheets get turned in from willing parishioners.
-It was noted that our all rental charges have not been raised for some years, and they should be. I presented the suggested rate hikes to the council for feedback. There was just a little bit of concern that a few people might be displeased. Overall the increases made sense. I will run the hall rental increases by the finance council as well.
-We are talking about the best way to transition into our second year of the YDisciple high school program. Although the discussion is not over, right now it seems best to me to have any incoming new YDisciple members meet during Wednesday evenings in August, so that they can get through the necessary initiation theme, and then they could be divided up into the existing groups, which would start up again in September. Of course, once we see exactly how many students we have, we might end up making one or two new groups. I might be seeking out a couple more potential group leaders; and they would receive some training in the summer.
-Two of our pastoral council members are finishing their three-year term on the pastoral council: Corey Walker and Vince Schaefer. I am very grateful for the help they have been to me these past two years (Their term was already one year completed when I came to the parish). So I will be looking for two new members representing Paulding and Payne campuses.
So there’s the summary of the meeting. Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,