I can finally announce our seminarian for the summer. There was a bit of a miscommunication that prevented an earlier announcement, although both he and I have known for over a month that he was being assigned here. His name is Peter Grodi. I asked him to write a short autobiography for us, so you will find that in this same bulletin. The seminary semester ends for Peter on May 13th, and then he will spend a couple weeks with his family, before arriving at Divine Mercy on Tuesday, May 31st. (If we need help moving him in, I’ll let you know.) I will meet with Peter this next weekend at the transitional deacon ordination in Toledo’s cathedral to discuss elements of his summer with us. I hope to organize a reception on his first weekend with us. More details to come. Just as you have been instrumental in the formation of past seminarians, I know you will be a great help and inspiration to Peter.
I got another letter from Bishop Thomas, stating how much he enjoyed his visit. He asked me to greet and thank everybody who made his visit for Divine Mercy Mass and Confirmation so wonderful. He noted the nice liturgy, the well-trained servers, the fine choir and the fine Italian dinner at the rectory with the deacons and their wives after the ceremony. I once again add my thanks to everybody who put so much work into hosting the Bishop and making the Confirmation celebration so beautiful!
Somebody at a First Communion party two weeks ago asked me what it was that the choir sang after the processional hymn at our 10:30 Mass. I explained that it was the entrance antiphon of the Mass. Each Mass has proper antiphons for entrance, offertory, and communion. These antiphons, usually set to a Gregorian chant melody – simple or more complex – are the Church’s official way to set the focus of the Mass, or you might say to set our spirits at those moments. The antiphons are Scripture prhases. One of the things happening in Church music these days is that we are getting back to singing these antiphons, which are handed on to us by the Tradition of the Church. From my pastoral perspective, these antiphons will be rich nourishment for our souls, if we hear them repeated over the years. We need not eliminate good hymns at appropriate places in the Mass, but to ignore the antiphons is to lose something spiritually quite rich.
We have had some good initial response to my requests these past couple of weeks to have people sign up to take a turn cleaning our churches. Purchasing the cleaning for three campuses would cost about $7,000 per year. But I really don’t think we have to make this change. We just have to provide a better system to enable people more easily to sign up for cleaning. If you have not yet signed up to clean our churches, please do so. The greater the number of people who sign up, the easier it will be for all: many hands make light work. I would love to have so many sign up that each team only has to serve once or twice a year.
We are still awaiting a response from the Diocese to grant Strebig the Antwerp moisture project. My letter asked the Bishop to allow us to spend $75,000, whereas he had given us permission already to spend only $70,000. With this request I promised that we would continue fundraising, so as to dip into savings no more than the $8,000 we originally expected. Please continue to consider how you might support this project financially. I realize how generous people have already been. The fact that the lowest bid came in $15,000 higher than expected last year was a surprise; but it is also understandable that costs would rise in a year’s time. It was impossible to foresee both how the fundraising would go and how the project costs could rise.
At Payne we are finally at what I consider the end of the process to fix the sound system. I have still been experiencing the microphones freezing up at times, despite the fact that the pulpit mic and wireless mics are new. The ancient amplifier in the sacristy was the last item to replace. We did this last Monday. The amp cost, installed, was $325. I hope this does the trick.
Finally, we sent in the final parish budget for the next fiscal year, July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017. It was due on May 1st. The finance council met to preview the budget on Thursday, April 28th. We expect that with the various cuts and efficiency improvements over the last year or so, we can live within our means, based on the actual income from offertory collections over the past year. The new system we are setting in place for financial aid for our school families, including a broader application by families for Ed Choice state scholarships, should also help immensely to lower the parish subsidy of the school each year. When I arrived at the parish I told the finance council it would take a few years thoroughly to get a handle on finances and create a budget that is real. I think we are pretty close with this budget.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,