August 14, 2010 – My Saturday Sabbath

You know life sure would be less complicated if so many things didn’t come with both pros and cons.  If you eat a cheesy, crispy bag of Doritos, your taste buds and appetite are satisfied, but you gain weight.  If you win the lotttery, you are filthy rich, but you have to pay mega-taxes and all of those relatives you hadn’t heard from in years come out of the woodwork.  When I was battling health issues, I missed a lot of meetings and other committments.  Now that I have improved, I don’t have to deal with severe headaches and woosiness as often, but now it’s back to a full slate of meetings and committments.  Of course, I’ll take all the meetings, etc. over the alternative.

My Saturday today certainly took on a “church” theme.  This morning I had a meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral Council in Belleville, this afternoon I’m blogging and doing other website work, and this evening I get installed as Parish Council President.  Good thing these are such lucrative positions (ha, ha).   Actually I look forward to days like this – they are a nice change of pace from the same old routine.  Also, I know that I will either learn something new or I will be reminded of something that I should be paying more attention to.

Our Pastoral Council meeting this morning focused a lot on the Catholic Service and Ministry Appeal.  Like many other fund-raising efforts, this appeal has seen a decline in donations in recent years, and we are brain-storming ideas to try to boost donations for this important effort.  Many important organizations rely on this funding, and if their budgets continue to be cut, some of these organizations will have to cut back on the services they provide, and in a worst-case scenario, may have to cease entirely. 

Our parish has always and continues to be very generous in contributing to the Appeal, but there are other areas in the diocese that cannot say this.  Of course there are outside forces affecting people’s ability to give such as the bad economy.  But in thinking about why it is so important that we support the Appeal, there are two things to think about:

1) The monies collected do not go to the Office of the Bishop.  These monies go directly to the agencies that are funded by the Appeal, such as Catholic Urban Programs, Daystar in Cairo, the Newman Center in Carbondale, and many, many others.  Our parish and town have benefitted from the Appeal.  We have received grants in the past for things such as the Help-A-Student program and our Parish Library.  The Hospitality House at Menard has been a frequent recipient of funding.  If someone ceases giving because they disagree with the policies of the Bishop or the Diocese, it does not affect the hierarchy but affects these types of grass roots organizations.

2) Many people’s view of church does not go any farther than the building with the steeple on it that they attend on Sunday.  The word “Catholic” means “universal”.   Our parishes are parts of the larger community of faith that is the Diocesan, United Sates, and worldwide Catholic church.  Bishop Braxton has stressed that the priests currently ministering in our Diocese from other countries are not “foreign” priests because they have been trained and nurtured to serve in the universal Catholic Church the same as any priest.  We need to be aware of those things going on in our Diocese even if they may not be present in our hometown.  A great way to do this is to subscribe to The Messenger, or to check out some of the Diocesan links on the links page of our website.  You’ll be hearing more about this as the plan is finalized.

I cannot believe the school year starts Wednesday.  Where did the summer go?  Prayers and best wishes to our school teachers, staff, students and parents as they embark on another year.

My sports note of the week: A pitcher gets shoved against the backstop by his own teammates, then starts kicking everything in sight with the metal cleats of his shoes, giving a player from the opposing team a concussion, and only gets suspended for 7 games, and since he is a starting pitcher, will probably really only miss one game?  All I can say is I can’t wait until the Reds come to St. Louis next month!  Playoffs, here we come!  And as for the Cubs, well, you know ….

Thanks again for reading.  Peace.

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