January 12, 2008 – We Walk Not Alone

Pardon me first of all if this entry has some typing errors, or things that don’t sound right.  I’m writing this at the same time that I’m following the Jaguars-Patriots football game, so it may be a little tough to concentrate.  I admit that I am a football junkie, and I have already thought about how depressing that weekend after the Super Bowl will be when there is NO MORE FOOTBALL!  Geez, I need to get a life.

A couple things I wanted to post about today.  This morning I attended a meeting of the West Deanery Reflection Group in Evansville.  I’ve been a part of this group for about 12 years now.  This is a group where folks from different parishes in our deanery gather to talk about issues in our diocese, deanery, and our parishes, and to share ideas.  We certainly face our share of challenges in our own parish – keeping our school afloat, maintaining a base of parishioners when there doesn’t appear to be a lot of growth of population in our town, etc.  But we can take solace in the fact that we are not alone in facing challenges.

These challenges are wide-ranging: Parishes such as Ss. Peter and Paul in Waterloo and Immaculate Conception in Columbia are dealing with a “growing” problem – planning to build to accomodate the continuing influx of new parishioners.  Smaller parishes, however, are dealing with a “shrinking” problem –  trying to keep their parishes viable as their congregations decrease, resources are limited, and the clergy cotinues to decrease in numbers and increase in age.  One person made the statement that “It sure is hard to be a Catholic nowadays.”  However, there was not one among us that said that we were “giving up”, or crawling into a shell.  I know for me personally, I don’t know what I would do without my faith, and what I would do without being able to come to my familiar place of worship with a lot of wonderful, dedicated people.

With the season of Lent coming up, it is tradition to make some sort of sacrifice – giving up that favorite dessert, or giving something extra to a charity, etc.  Perhaps this Lent, we could also make a pledge to be proud of our Catholic faith, and to be witnesses of that faith to those around us – not just by wolfing down grilled cheese sandwiches on Fridays, but to spread the good news that is going on in our parish and our church as a whole.  It is quite a challenge, but a worthwhile one. 

I would be remiss to end without wishing a very Happy Birthday to Bertha Mae Blechle who is turning 80 years young.  Everyone who knows Bertha Mae knows what an amazing woman she is and the many things she does for our parish and our community; she one of those people that always seems to be there anytime you need her, which is quite often!  God Bless You on this happy occasion and may you enjoy many more years among us.

You can of course always find Bertha Mae at the K of C hall preparing the Monday luncheon, which is served from 11:00-1:00. If you haven’t tried it, you should!  Just $6.00 for all you can eat, including drink, dessert, and of course Kathy Albrecht’s thoughts on St. Louis sports.

Until next time, Peace.

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