March 27, 2009 – Just To Update You

Well I know that many folks will be busy on Saturday with our dinner/auction, and I doubt if anyone will be toting their laptops to the gym, so I am going with the late Friday night blog this week.  I have one eye on my computer and one eye on the basketball game on TV, so my thoughts may not be as clear as usual … not that they were all that clear to begin with.

As I flipped on the weather this evening, I could not believe my eyes and ears when they uttered the words “Winter Storm Watch” for Saturday night and Sunday morning.  I think the watch area is a little north of us, but still, it is March 27th, right?  We’ve had a nice spring week to this point, right?  We are in the midst of global warming, right?  Just asking.  In a serious note about the weather, we pray for the folks in North Dakota and Minnesota who are dealing with flooding that it turns out not to be as serious as feared.

We had our parish council meeting this past Wednesday, and one of the things I reported on was the status of our cluster.  You have probably not heard much about our cluster lately, so I thought I would update you as to why and to what the future of the cluster is.  This clustering process began back in 2003 as a means for parishes to work together and to better deal with the shortage of clergy.  The diocese was divided into 30 clusters at that time.  Our cluster includes our parish as well as St. Mary’s in Ellis Grove, St. Boniface in Evansville, St. Pius in Walsh, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Sparta.  We began to meet at that time as a cluster several times a year to develop a plan as to how we would deal with the situation if we were to lose clergy from our cluster, and also how we could minister together.

When we began to meet, our cluster was ministered by 3 priests as well as a deacon who was a parish life coordinator.  At that time it was projected that by the year 2008, our cluster would lose one priest.  However, to this point this scenario has not occurred.  The main reason for this is that Bishop Braxton has been able to obtain the services of a number of international priests to minister in the Diocese.  We must be cautious however, and realize that this is not a long-term answer to our shortage of priests.  These international priests generally are here on loan from their home dioceses, and generally are only here for a period of about 3 to 5 years.  Also, there is no guarantee that we will continue to see an inflow of these international priests.  Ideally, we need more men from our own diocese to pursue the priesthood.

Anyway, because we still maintain the same number of clergy in our cluster, and due to other reasons, we have for the time being ceased to meet as a cluster council.  This disappointed me because I felt there was an opportunity for us to begin to work with other parishes on things such as youth ministry, RCIA, etc., and to make our individual parishes stronger as a result.  I could go into a long opinionated piece about why this did not occur, but I think it best to just say that some parishes were less willing to engage in this type of activity than others.  I hope at some point we can begin to dialogue again as a cluster.

This is not to say that we do absolutely nothing as a cluster.  For example, we had our Confirmation ceremony with the candidates from Evansville last year, which was a neat experience.  Also, as I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I was in contact with the person who maintains the website for the Sparta parish and we have linked to each other’s websites.  You may also remember a while back that we published a cluster “booklet” that has a brief history of each cluster parish as well as the Mass schedules for each parish.  So when you browse our website some time, I encourage you to re-visit the cluster page and to read the cluster booklet if you have not done so.  You can view it at this link:

I also encourage you to go to our links page and click on Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Sparta to check out their activities as well as some of the other links to Catholic websites, etc.

I am still humbled by the compliments that I continue to receive about our website, and as always, I am always open to suggestions; and if you see something that needs to be corrected on the website, please inform me of that as well.  Drop me an e-mail at

If you read this before the auction, please pray that the weather will cooperate at least until the auction is over, and if you read this after the auction, I hope your “auction hangover” isn’t too serious.  Thank you again to everyone who played any part in putting on the auction and to those who donated items, those who attended the auction, and those who purchased items.  You all are the greatest! 

I can’t believe that next week we begin Holy Week!  Just a couple of weeks to go until a lucious Dorito touches my tongue again!  Cripes, am I sick or what?!?  Have a great week.  Peace.



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