June 28, 2014 – Taking Care of Business

First things first – we need to continue to pray for Pope Francis, who cancelled another appointment yesterday because of what the Vatican termed a “sudden indisposition.”  However, he did keep his appointments today, so hopefully again it is just a matter of tiring out from a very busy schedule.  The Pope has a light schedule in July, so hopefully he will take the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate.

Today (June 28) we wish a Happy 70th Birthday to Bishop Braxton.  In his 9 years as our Bishop, I certainly have had disagreements with his demeanor and his approach to some things.  However, he has also faced many challenges in his time here, such as continuing to deal with the past claims of clergy sexual abuse, and also having to make many difficult decisions dealing with the fate of our non-viable parishes and a dwindling pool of clergy.  Let us pray for Bishop Braxton’s health and well being in the years ahead.

You may have read in last week’s bulletin that we have decided to make some changes to the structure of our Parish Council.  Just to recap, our Council will now meet every other month instead of on a monthly basis.  Also, we are eliminating 2 positions from the Council which will leave us with a membership of 11 people.  On the surface, it would appear that we are downplaying the importance of the Council.  However, the structure of the Council has been basically the same for over 25 years, and these changes really are just a reflection of the present day situation.  Our parish membership is less, people’s schedules are fuller, and communication is easier with the advent of cell phones, e-mail, etc.  So really this is a move to maintain a strong Council.  We have 2 positions to fill at our next meeting on July 30.  If you have never served on the Council, maybe you would like to consider it.  We discuss many issues, and we have a fun social time at the end of our meetings (with FOOD).

As Father mentioned at Mass this weekend, we have received the final tally for the replacement of the boiler system.  The exact figures are: Asbestos removal … $11,840.00, replacement of boiler and pipes, etc…$83,250.00…grand total…$95,090.00.  This does not include the need to replace the heaters in the gym, to repair the roof over the sacristy, and to seal the bricks on the back side of the church.  Yes this is a lot of money, especially considering that we had a major donation campaign just a couple of years ago to repair the steeple.  However, our parish family has shown its generosity in the past, and I am confident it will again.

We are fortunate to have many parishioners who realize the importance of maintaining our gathering space and being able to worship as a family.  Pope Francis has talked on numerous occasions about worshiping as a community in order to maintain true Christianity.  In his Wednesday audience this past week, he spoke on how God formed the church to unify humanity.  He said that “Our identity is one of belonging. To say ‘I am Christian’ means to say: ‘I belong to the Church. I belong to this People with whom God established an ancient alliance that is always faithful … We are Christians not only because of others, but together with others” he pointed out, describing the Church as “a large family that welcomes us and teaches us to live as believers and disciples of the Lord.”

Observing how our relationship with God “is personal but not private,” Pope Francis stated that our journey of faith “is born of and enriched by the communion of the Church … Whoever says they believe in God but not in the Church, has a direct relation with Christ outside of her, falls into an absurd dichotomy … God has confided his saving message to human persons, to witnesses, and it is known to us through our brothers and sisters.”

However, to walk our path in the Church is not always easy, because “at times we encounter human weakness, limitations and even scandal in the life of the Church,” the Pope continued.  But despite these difficulties, “God has called us to know him and to love him precisely by loving our brothers and sisters, by persevering in the fellowship of the Church and by seeking in all things to grow in faith and holiness as members of the one body of Christ.”  If we make preserving the fellowship of our church a priority, the guidance of the Holy Spirit will give us the means to maintain our physical presence.

OK, we have dealt with a lot of heavy-duty church business, so let’s go to the lighter side.  Last time I gave some words that might have a different meaning to Catholics than to other people.  This time, I present some things that you’ll probably never hear a Catholic say.  ” Man, I wish this confession line were longer” … “Good thing we got to Mass with so much time to spare” … “I never people-watch during the communion line” … “There are too many people in the front pews at Mass” … “My priest seems to have a lot of spare time on his hands” … “No, I don’t want a beer. I’m Catholic” … “I’m not at all self-conscious after Ash Wednesday Mass.  Let’s go to the bar.” … “The Catechism? Yeah, it’s a pretty quick read. Totally beach material” … “I don’t have any worries about the future of our medical system conflicting with my personal beliefs” … and finally, “All that exorcism stuff doesn’t freak me out at all!”

Finally, we wrap up the “Fortnight for Freedom” this Friday on Independence Day (by the way, am I the only one who still calls it Independence Day instead of the 4th of July?).  Most of us I’m sure will have plans on Friday, but just a programming note that EWTN will televise the closing Mass of the Fortnight on Independence Day at 11:00AM from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Have a great week and a happy, safe Independence Day.  Peace.

 

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