BULLETIN GROWTH! If you are - unlike me - OBSERVANT you will have noticed that last week's bulletin contained two extra pages. One page (the one you most likely noticed first) is devoted to additional advertisements. There are currently plenty of blank spaces BECAUSE we are doubling the amount of space for adverts; the bulletin company is currently soliciting new advertisers, including those who previously advertised in Saint Aloysius' bulletin. These pages are important as our advertisers actually allow the bulletin to be provided to us at NO COST. I truly appreciate all the businesses who have chosen to advertise and urge parishioners to patronize them in gratitude.

Of course the expansion of the bulletin was NOT undertaken simply to allow more advertising. Rather, as our community has grown from three to four parishes, and as we have become increasingly active, there is just more to report. For example, Molli Vassar will be writing regularly to explain the various Rites of the RCIA. And when Fr. Dan 2.0 returns permanently next June (If I say it enough times it HAS to come true, right?!) he will undoubtedly want to continue his fantastically popular column. Speaking of the Fathers Dan perhaps 1.0 might want to write more frequently as well.

I am VERY proud of Our Lady, Queen of the Yough Catholic Community's bulletin. If there were Oscars for bulletins I have no doubt that we would be a contender! I have seen A LOT of church bulletins in my day but never one that even holds a candle to ours. Credit for this awesome state of affairs goes to our FABULOUS bulletin editor (and secretary) Karen Tweardy. She would be the one on the dais thanking the proverbial "academy" as she received the statuette for “Best Bulletin!"

But there is more than JUST Karen's "starring role" that makes our bulletin special; it is a team effort. Mary Sampey (OF COURSE!) would be waiting in the wings to receive the award for "Most Spiritually Moving Weekly Column" and I imagine that Fr. Dan Carr would at least be nominated for "Best Short-Run Column." Please be sure to let these fine people know how much you appreciate their HARD work!

WITH ALL THAT EXTRA SPACE ... One of the new features that you will see in the bulletin, starting today, is a monthly income vs. expense statement for each of the four parishes. This is information that many parishes include in their bulletins and undoubtedly some parishioners will have seen such reports when they attended Mass elsewhere. A number of members of the various Finance Councils have suggested that it would behoove us to do the same. The addition of an extra bulletin page has afforded us the perfect opportunity to do so.

The rationale behind sharing this information is to give parishioners a monthly "snapshot" of 1) what it costs to run the parish for a particular month; and 2) what the parish income was for that same period. Ultimately, the hope is that those who COULD give more in support of their parish (for at least some, PAINLESSLY!) will be moved to do JUST THAT. The information published herein this week indicates that last month two parishes took in MORE than went out and two took in LESS than went out.

My FEAR in regards to the parishes in the BLACK is that the parishioners will be self-congratulatorily high-five giving one another and deciding to CUT their weekly offering because "Hey, we're doing JUST FINE ... we got MORE than enough!" My rebuttal: 1) We are looking at ONE month; next month could be very different. 2) We need to be mindful of the future; excess funds NOW can go into the endowment to ensure that the parish is financially viable in the FUTURE. And MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL. 3) Christian stewardship is NOT simply about "paying the bills;" rather it is about willingly giving in GRATITUDE for the blessings God has given.

My HOPE for the two parishes in the RED is that people will be inspired to give MORE in support of the parish they claim is "near and dear to their heart." A couple additional thoughts:

1) Saint Rita parish suffers from a unique malady; they are so WILDLY successful with special fundraising (the Street Fair being the most evident, but also the various Christian Mothers events) that many in the pews feel that they don't really NEED to do much more than throw a few bucks in their offertory envelope and (maybe!) volunteer for something. (I have heard this excuse with my own two ears; I am NOT making it up simply to stress a point!) As I have stated MANY times a parish CANNOT survive if it has to rely on extraordinary income; those sources WILL dry up and the parish WILL close!

2) Saint Aloysius has experienced hard times as many parishioners abandoned the parish for (supposedly) greener pastures elsewhere. The Connellsville parishes experienced a considerable influx of "Dunbarians" over the past few years. I have NO objections to such individuals once again changing their parish affiliation and "going home." And remember, it doesn't matter in which building some-one worships; their offering goes to the PARISH where they are registered.

COVER PHOTO: Pic taken whilst I was hiking through State Game Lands 176 near State College. Fittingly, this was on 14 September the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. In 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 Saint Paul says "but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." So for US Jesus, rather than being an obstacle, clears the obstacles out of our way. Just ASK His help!


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