August 21, 2010 – More Miscellaneous

Last week I talked a little bit about life’s pros and cons.  One of my pros this week was that it was a pretty uneventful week – no unexpected crises or nothing to cause me to lose any sleep.  The con to this is that I didn’t have anything happen that gave me any real inspiration to write a blog entry.  I thought about skipping this week, but I don’t want to break my current winning streak (unlike the Cardinals – good job of motivating the troops LaRussa!).  So I’ll just jot down a few thoughts and see what happens.

Test of willpower: There have been certain foods that I have missed as I have been making the effort to eat healthier, but I have been fortunate that I haven’t missed sweets that much.  Even the desserts at the Monday KC lunches, while decadent and divine, have not touched my lips.  But what I perceived as a strength was shaken to the core yesterday, torn down to the very foundation, exposed for the world to see.  There, at our local Wal-Mart, by the bread, was a temptation the likes that has not been seen since biblical times – a new Entenmann’s display!  Donuts, muffins, etc., etc.  I don’t know what it is about an Entenmann’s that makes it so enticing.  But my willpower got the best of this archrival, and I settled for reduced fat Cheez-Its.  Besides, eating an Entenmann’s with a glass of SKIM milk would be like eating a pizza with no cheese – what would be the point.

Got a nice e-mail from Fr. Gene this week.  Someone who works with disabled vets in Southern Illinois called him.  He got a look at our website and was impressed that we had a page to honor those in the military, present and past.  I mention this not to brag on myself, but to remind you that we do have a military page which was set up to recognize those from our parish (or anyone with a connection to our parish) for their brave service to our country and to remind people to pray for our military personnel.  If you would like to include someone on our page or if you see something on the page that needs updated, please send me the information.  Here’s a link to the page:

www.maryhoc.org/military

The other reason that I mention this is because moments like this remind us of the power of the internet, and that we may be reaching people that we never dreamed of.  Last week at my Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting we talked about the need to market the Catholic Service and Ministry appeal more effectively, but that professional marketing services are very expensive.  My suggestion was to utilize the internet as a way to get information out about the many valuable programs that the CSMA supports.  I cited our website as an example – I use just a basic small business starter program, and look at all of the information that can be sent out – not just to our parishioners, but to anyone who is interested.  So keep spreading the word about our website and about all of the other great things taking place here at St. Mary’s!

The vitality of a parish is something that is going to be explored in the coming months and years.  You may have seen articles in the paper about documents that came out of the Bishop’s office that talk about a process that is going to begin exploring the possibility of merging and/or closing small parishes.  At face value this seems like a scary concept, but let’s delve into it a little further.  From what I can gather the small parishes in our diocese aren’t going to automatically be padlocked shut.  There will be a process in which the smaller parishes will be examined – what is the faith life like, what has been the trend in terms of # of families, does the parish sustain itself financially, what are the geographics, is there a suitable alternative should the parish close?  All these and other factors would be considered.  Our pastoral council has been reminded on several occasions that compared to other dioceses our size, we have the largest number of parishes.  We have been fortunate as a diocese that for the most part, we have access to a “neighborhood” church and do not have to travel a great distance to receive the sacraments.  But population shifts, etc. may require a change in this model.  Pray that as this process of discernment begins that wise decisions are made for all involved.

Finally, it has been a tough week for the Cardinal faithful.  Now we know what it’s been like for Cub fans the past 102 years.  It is perplexing because the Cardinals have the talent to win, but are not playing inspired ball.  I’m usually not one to say change should be made for the sake of change, but it may be time for Tony to pay more attention to his animals.  Just sayin’.

Have a great week.  That was a lot for having nothing to talk about!  Thanks again for reading.  Peace.

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