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September 15, 2019

posted Sep 13, 2019, 5:50 AM by Diane Lapinski

FROM THE PASTOR…..MY DEAR PARISH FAMILY, as most of you know by now, our FR. ANTONY received a letter of transfer last week.  This is nothing out of the ordinary.  Usually, an assistant is given 2-3 years at a parish.  This September will be his 3rd year here with us.  Transfers are a normal part of the life of a priest.  Where there is a need for a priest in another parish, the Bishop will usually make the moves for the good of the diocesan church.  Father Antony will be going to St. Benedict’s parish in Johnstown, with shared chaplaincy at Conemaugh Health Systems.  The transfer will be effective on the 25th of September.  Father came to OLV at the time when I was by myself, handling the entire parish duties and responsibilities.  He was a welcomed addition to us and especially to me.  I want to wish him well in his new assignment and I know that he will be loved there as much as he was loved here.  We will have a GOOD-BYE gathering for him after the 9:30 AM Mass on September 22nd in the Parish Activities Center.  Parishioners are invited to come and wish him well in his new  assignment. 


And with Father Antony's transfer, our parish must come to reality – we will NOT HAVE 3 PRIESTS HERE PROBABLY EVER AGAIN. The number of priests in our diocese has been declining ever since I was ordained in 1981.  At that time there were 126 Diocesan priests.  Right now there are 52 Diocesan priests.  The only reason we can minister to all the parishes in the diocese is due, in large part, to the presence of religious order priests on loan to us from their religious orders, e.g. Franciscans, Benedictines, etc.  Many other diocesan priests have also taken on more than one  parish, more than one ministry as well.  For example, Fr. Jonathan has been assigned as the DIRECTOR OF ON-GOING FORMATION OF CLERGY, as well as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy and assistant at OLV.  His time here might be affected.  The workload is just increasing daily as our number decreases due to retirements, medical issues, scandals, etc. Believe me, it is not getting any easier.  Because there will only be 2 priests at OLV, I want the parish to be prepared if there will occasionally be some changes in daily Mass times and scheduling of events.  Times will have to be adjusted when no priests are here due to conferences, vacations and other ministries that need attention.  And when that happens, please understand that we are doing the best we can and join with your priests in working together to continue to make OLV the wonderful parish that it is. I know that some will complain and gripe about some  changes that might occur.  That is always to be expected.   But there is nothing that we can do at those times.  Until we get many more vocations, Fr. Jonathan and I will do the best we can to minister to all     parishioners. 


As you read these words, I am still over in the HOLY LAND, making my annual retreat.  OLV pilgrims will return this Thursday and I will be back in the office on Monday, the 23rd.  Please keep all of us in your prayers for a safe retreat.


Just a reminder to parishioners that after all the Masses on the weekend of September 28-29, parishioners will have the opportunity to INSPECT THE NEW KITCHEN, LUNCH ROOM, and LOCKER ROOMS AND FRONT ENTRANCE OF THE SCHOOL. I am very proud of how everything turned out and I am sure you will be proud of what was done.  Thank you all who supported this  project that took just 1 year to fund and complete.


HUMOR FOR THE WEEK - Jim, Scott, and Alex are tired after traveling all day and check into a  hotel. When they get to reception, they find out they'll have to walk 75 flights of stairs to get to their room  because the elevator is out of order.  Jim suggests that they do something interesting to pass time while they walk the 75 flights. Jim will tell jokes, Scott will sing songs, and Alex will tell sad  stories. So Jim tells jokes for 25 flights, Scott sings songs for 25 flights and Alex tells sad stories for 24 flights. When they reach the 75th floor, Alex tells his saddest story of all, "Guys, I left our room key at reception."