Here is a smorgasbord of parish activity/news that I am thinking of:
-This past week the Paulding campus air conditioning committee met to finalize our decision to ask the Diocese for permission to upgrade the air conditioning system, fixing the problem of loudness, and lack of space up in the choir loft. As of my writing this letter, we are considering what is known as a “city-multi” system with individual headers around the interior of the church. The floor in the church is so thick, with no place for punching through with duct work, that we have had to do quite a lot of brainstorming with several companies. We have spoken with four companies to determine the options available to us and the cost. The total project will be about $52,000. Hopefully the Diocese will give permission to move forward with the project and donations for it. Installation would be in early Spring. I look forward to ending the domination of the air conditioning system over our liturgies!
-In the last couple of weeks I have spoken with those who have helped in the past with a high school program above and beyond the Faith and Family meetings. A plan is being put together for this year. I think our youth programs ought to have four components woven throughout the course of a year: prayer, catechesis/instruction in Faith, service and fellowship.
-This past week Dianne Jones and I had our second meeting with the Divine Mercy School Endowment Committee. The meetings were very fruitful: for our coming to understand the dynamic of the endowment investment and responding to the Diocese’s recent audit questions; for our understanding of ways that the parish finance office can communicate better with the endowment committee.
-We submitted our responses to the diocesan audit report. As need be, the Diocese will be in touch with us for any follow-up. We also finished our end-of-year report for our finances overall. This report is normally due ASAP after the end of the fiscal year (June 30), but with all of the transition in our finance office, the Diocese was willing to accept a late report from us.
-We are moving forward with the idea of First Saturday morning Masses. These will be at our Payne campus, using the side altar of Our Lady, and celebrated in the Extraordinary Form (the Latin, pre-Vatican II form of 1962). I ordered some small Latin Mass booklets to help attendees, and we have cards that the altar servers will be able to use until that time when they have their Latin prayers at the foot of the altar memorized. I am not sure exactly when we will have our first First Saturday Mass. I am hoping these Masses simultaneously satisfy the desires of those who are asking for Traditional Latin Masses, and of those who would like First Saturday Masses. The guide booklets have Latin and English side-by-side; and we will xerox the readings – also with English and Latin side-by-side – so that people can easily understand everything that is happening. Eventually I would love to get a few people who could chant the antiphons for those Masses. It would be beautiful.
-We are planning to create two separate offices out of the Ed Center office where now our CRE and Finance Manager have their desks. This mainly entails adding a wall and a door to separate out the finance part of the office. The remodeling will allow for some more confidentiality when people have to discuss finances in that office. Parish financial records will also be kept more secure.
-I want to resolve the moisture problem that has ruined the plaster in the back of the church on our Antwerp campus. Everybody says it started with the air conditioning system being installed. For years we have not been able to solve the problem. I hope to attend to the problem once again. We are consulting with the company that installed that air conditioning system to see what wisdom they can provide.
-Planning for Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th) celebrations continues. That Mass, and Las Mañanitas (songs to the Blessed Virgin Mary to welcome her in the morning), will be almost totally in Spanish, especially in hopes of attracting the population of Hispanics in the area who might not be connected to any parish. Thanks to much work by Maria Martinez and Deacon Rosalio, we have booklets that have English and Spanish side-by-side, so everybody attending will be able easily to follow. We are considering what type of follow-up event we could offer to reach out to Hispanics.
-As of the writing of this letter, the Mass times committee has met twice. You remember that we created an ad hoc committee to help me consider how to respond to the handful of complaints in the parish survey regarding the lack of a Sunday Mass at Payne. The committee has drafted a couple possible surveys that could be used to gather parishioners’ preference for Mass times. One survey deals only with weekend Mass times. A second survey includes the holiday Mass times. It is possible that without surveying the parishioners I will decide to rotate holiday Masses – Christmas and Easter Triduum – each year among the campuses. The survey gets pretty complicated when you add in holiday options.
As I have said before, I am not insisting on a change in Mass times. I am genuinely watching the process to learn what I can from it, given the fact that there were a handful of complaints on the parish survey about the lack of a Sunday Mass in Payne.
The only thing I am pretty sure I will want to change in the near future, even if nothing else changes, is to move the Saturday evening Paulding Mass to 6pm, so that I can make it in time. In good weather I am never able to make it back from Payne to start Mass on time. In winter weather, I am sure it will only get worse. And I don’t want to change my approach to the 4pm Saturday Mass. I don’t want to rush it (It is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!!); and I don’t want to miss out on valuable time greeting people after Mass. I heard that the second Mass on Saturday used to be at 6pm.
Now the plan is for the pastoral council to consider the work of the Mass times committee and advise on how to move forward. The next pastoral council meeting is Thursday, November 20th.
-One last, very mundane item: A few weeks ago after one of our Masses in Paulding somebody showed me a pew that had a bunch of kids’ cereal on the floor and on the seat of the pew. Then a few days later, on Wednesday, I went over to the church and was kneeling at a pew during adoration time; and there ahead of me on the floor were some peanuts, and some “peanut smash” on the seat of the pew ahead of me. If prudence dictates that you bring snacks to Mass for your little ones, please be very diligent in cleaning up afterwards. Thank you!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,