FROM THE PASTOR…..MY DEAR PARISH FAMILY, many times throughout the ministry of a pastor, issues or concerns need to be addressed, issues that a pastor might be uncomfortable addressing. For me, this includes talking about money, which I try never to do. However, after having a meeting with our Financial Council, it was suggested that I do say a few words about our status. I first want to thank all of you for being good stewards of your time, treasure and talent. Our parish, financially, operates in the black, with suitable reserves in the neighboring banks and in the Diocese MAP plan. I am grateful for all the sacrifices given by parishioners. However, as we looked at the reports, we noticed that church expenses have gone up, as do ordinary home expenses which all of us experience daily. We are meeting these increased expenses; however, the Sunday collections, great that they are, are not increasing at the same rate as our expenses. As we look down the road, we are seeing other possible major expenses that will surface – new church and rectory roofs, campus security, repairs within the school and pre-school buildings – just to name a few. We are relying on our Capital Campaign income to take care of the majority of projects; however, we do rely on Sunday collections to take care of the rest considered “ordinary.” Therefore, I guess what I am asking is that as Christmas is coming, please consider giving a “major” gift to the church, return your Sunday envelopes even if not present for a Sunday, possibly increase the ordinary Sunday collection. By no means are we hurting and the Finance Council is pleased with our progress. What we are concerned about is our future over the next 3-5 years. Again, it is with a little nervousness that I write these words to you. But as the Finance Council reminded me, we are overseers of the “treasure” of OLV and we want to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us so that OLV will be around for many, many more years ministering to God’s children. Again, thank you for generosity and kindness. As pastor, I could not be more proud of all of you!
Each Advent and Lenten Season, the priests of the Northern Deanery gathers together to celebrate the SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION in the churches of the Deanery. As I said to you last weekend, I was finalizing the schedule and you will find the times and places listed elsewhere in the bulletin where the sacrament will be celebrated. Our Penance Service at OLV is on Sunday, December 21 at 2:00PM.
The Penance Service here concludes the scheduled times that confessions will be heard in anticipation of the celebration of Christmas. With the above scheduled times and with our own regularly scheduled times, no one should miss the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament before the Christmas season. And as always, your priests will be assisting at all the services scheduled, thereby limiting our times that we will be present at the rectory. Please be understanding of the time constraints that this busy season brings to your priests. I will repeat the time and places as we journey throughout the season.
On Monday, December 8, the church CELEBRATES THE SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. Even though this solemnity falls on a Monday, the Bishops have still promulgated that this day is a HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION. Pastors are asked to remind their parishioners that they are obligated to attend 2 Masses over those days – one for Sunday and one on the holy day. Masses for the holy day will be celebrated on Monday at 7:00am, 9:00am (School Mass), 12:05pm and 6:00pm. Again, parishioners must attend a Mass for Sunday and a Mass on the Holy Day. One Mass for both does not satisfy the obligation, e.g. the Sunday evening Mass.
On the 20th of December, I will host our ADULT CHRISTMAS PARTY, 21 and older at the Ramada Inn on Atherton Street. We will be doing the party a little different this year. If you remember last year, we had to cancel because of the weather. Well, this year, since the party will be held at the Ramada it will go on, weather situations or not. We will have a light deli fare, followed by music and dancing. Again, this party will be hosted by me as a way of my saying THANKS FOR BEING SUCH A GREAT PARISH. No one has to prepare anything or set anything up or pay. Just come and enjoy being a parish family, celebrating this great season of Christmas. The party will be from 6:00 PM till 10:00 PM or thereabouts. Please call the rectory and reserve your place.
SEASONAL HUMOR - It was a few days before Christmas. The trip went reasonably well, and Sam was ready to go back home. The airport on the other end had turned a tacky red and green, and loudspeakers blared annoying elevator renditions of cherished Christmas carols. Being someone who took Christmas very seriously, and being slightly tired, he was not in a particularly good mood. (Almost a scrooge) Going to check in his luggage (which, for some reason, had become one suitcase with entirely new clothes), he saw hanging mistletoe. Not real mistletoe, but very cheap plastic with red paint on some of the rounder parts and green paint on some of the flatter and pointer parts, that could be taken for mistletoe only in a very Picasso sort of way. With a considerable degree of irritation and nowhere else to vent it, he said to the attendant, "Even if we were married, I would not want to kiss you under such a ghastly mockery of mistletoe." "Sir, look more closely at where the mistletoe is.” "Ok, I see that it's above the luggage scale which is the place you'd have to step forward for a kiss." "That's not why it's there." "Ok, I give up. Why is it there?" "It's there so you can kiss your luggage good-bye."