ASH WEDNESDAY MORNING MASS: There were undoubtedly questions as to why the 8am Mass was NOT at Saint Rita, given that Wednesday morning Mass is ALWAYS at Saint Rita. (There will be even MORE questions if there was a delay. I am desperately praying that did NOT happen - remember, I am writing at the beginning of the week - as everything would have been thrown into confusion.)
We made this adjustment in the Mass schedule in order to accommodate the youth ministry, which was meeting that Wednesday evening at the former school building. The goal was to have the kids attend the Ash Wednesday Mass after having the junior and senior high sessions. To my mind ANYTHING we can do to encourage our young people to participate in the Sacred Mysteries is well worth whatever other adjustments we must make. I am sure that all parishioners who place YESHUA above ever other petty issue will heartily shout out “AMEN” with me!
TODAY'S CHALLENGE-TOMORROW'S HOPE CAMPAIGN: Most will remember the Diocesan capital campaign from some years back. As part of the campaign each parish in the Diocese had to write a case statement specifying how that parish’s portion of funds raised (40% of the total) would be spent. Immaculate Conception’s case statement listed the following projects:
1. Maintenance and Refurbishing of Stained Glass Windows
2. Upgrade to Church Lighting
3. Improved Handicapped Accessibility
4. Sanctuary Restoration
Praise be to Jesus, ALL these projects have been accomplished! And even better we have $79,000 LEFT OVER! Can I hear an AMEN?! (If this weren’t the First Sunday of Lent I’d be shouting out that other A-word, verboten during this penitential season).
I asked the Diocese for permission to deport these remaining funds in the Immaculate Conception endowment. The request left the powers-that-be a bit flummoxed as NO other parish had fulfilled their case statement with money to spare. So it was determined that we should follow the procedure in place for redirecting funds from one project to another, namely publicise the intent to redirect the funds and ensure that no one objects. (We did this some years back when we redirected funds at Saint John to replace an air-conditioning unit.) SO, if any IC parishioners OBJECT to moving the 79K from a low-yield savings account to the endowment where it will earn much more speak now or forever hold your peace. (Actually you have until 31 March to register your objection.)
I, seconded by our finance councils, have been charting a course to build up endowments wherever possible. At present, unfortunately, that is limited to Immaculate Conception, Saint Rita, Saint Rita Cemetery, Saint John Cemetery, and the Saint Joseph Cemetery (which covers Old and New Saint Joseph, Holy Trinity, Sacred Heart, Old and New Saint Emory). These endowments can prove vital for our future. Have you ever wondered about how some of these massive Protestant church buildings remain in use with only a handful of congregants? Here’s a hint; it’s spelled: E-N-D-O-W-M-E-N-T-S! The rule of thumb is that for every million dollars in an endowment you earn 50K/year. And ideally, you keep reinvesting the interest and building up the endowmentuntil you actually NEED the cash. If only our forebears in the Jewel of the Yough and its environshad been more forward thinking decades ago. We could be sitting pretty NOW! My hope is to leave this community sitting pretty in the future so that these churches can still be functioning long after my earthly remains have turned to dust!
To that end, I would encourage parishioners, when they are doing estate planning, to consider a gift to their parish’s endowment. And if you are a parishioner of the two parishes currently unendowed, consider a gift to get the ball rolling! Your descendants will THANK YOU.
COVER PHOTO: To kick off the Lenten Season, a picture to remind us what this journey through the dessert is all about: conforming ourselves to the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ so that we might be conformed to His Glorious Resurrection.This is a close-up of the crucifix anchoring the rosary which surrounds the Grotto at Saint Rita. (Which took the place of the koifilled moat which formerly encircled the Grotto.) There happened to be a frozen drop of water on the Lord’s face; in the photo it appears as a solitary tear.
If you have eaten in the back room at O’Donnell’s recently you will recognise this photo as I have a 30x40 inch canvas of it on display there. I have been honoured that a number of local establishments have allowed me to play artiste by show casing my photography. In last week’s Rambles I mentioned how good friendships help me keep my sanity; exercising my creativity is ANOTHER necessary component of a healthy and balanced priesthood for ME. (Each priest is different but all NEED outlets to preserve their sanity and keep them healthy-mentally, spiritually, physically.)
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