I cannot even guess how many times each day I think of you, either as individuals or as “the parish”, but it is often, always with love, and usually accompanied by a small prayer. You are always one of the petitions during my Masses and in the Liturgy of the Hours. I have a few updates and some information for you.
Anointing of the Sick, Confession
I am not allowed to enter hospitals or nursing homes to anoint people, but I can anoint someone before they go into the hospital. If you are having surgery or a procedure, I am happy to make arrangements to anoint you before you go. Also, just a reminder, if you want to go to confession, please call me for an appointment; we can celebrate the sacrament in the office, where we can maintain social distancing.
I am being asked quite often lately if I know when things might re-open. The College of Consultors met with Bishop Foys this week, and that was one of the things we discussed, but at the moment there is no date. Besides discussing when things might begin to change, we must also talk about how to re-open. My answer at the moment is, when and if we come up with a date, I will let you know.
Live-streaming Sunday Mass
I have decided to live-stream every Sunday Mass for now. Ken Farney has graciously offered to facilitate this, and our deacons, Barry Henry and Brian Cox, are also graciously willing to help. I am grateful to them. Information about how to access the Mass will be forthcoming.
Mike Clines, the Superintendent of Schools for the diocese, announced this week that no students will return to the classroom this year. We will continue our non-traditional teaching (and hopefully your children will continue their non-traditional learning) until the end of the year. There are more details, but those will come from Julie Scherer to the school families. We are discussing ways we might still have an eighth-grade promotional ceremony, but have not finalized any details as yet.
Julie Scherer, our principal, and the teachers are coordinating two days next week for the children to pick up their belongings. Again, necessary details will go to the families.
This is not the place for a full account of our finances, but I want to give you a snapshot view of our income. At the end of March we were over budget for income about $3,600 for the month, and about $12,000 over for the fiscal year to date. At the end of this month, April, we will be approximately $46,000 under budget for income for the month, and about $34,000 under for the fiscal year to date. That is roughly a $50,000 swing in six weeks’ time. (The last weekend that Mass was open to the faithful was March 14/15.) Holy Day collections are down about $3,100 (Christmas was down and no one could come to Easter Mass.); Fund Raising is down about $5,400: we only had two Fish Fry’s and the Winter Fundraiser brought in less than budget.
I am calling a meeting next week to discuss other fundraisers – the walk-a-thon, the flower sale and the summer festival. I will let you know what we decide. If you want to weigh in with some ideas about those, feel free to call or e-mail me.
There is some good news. The diocese qualified for some of the Payroll Protection money. Money was awarded based on 2019 payroll, and because the diocesan payroll was so high (about $12 million), we will receive only 95% of our payroll (I have no idea how all of this is calculated), but that will be a big help. We will receive four payments of $41,800, which will partially cover our payroll through 15 June. At the moment, this is a one-time grant – forgivable loan, I guess is more accurate.
The purpose of this is not yet to ask for money, but to keep you updated. However, I will not deny that if you are able to give a little more right now to make up for our shortfall, it would help. I will keep you updated as I can.
St. Catherine Feast Day
St. Catherine’s feast day is coming up next Wednesday, 29 April. Bishop Barron is offering a couple of things related to her. One is a free showing of an episode of his “Word on Fire; Pivotal Players” series, devoted to St. Catherine. That is on the Word of Fire website, wordonfire.org. The other is (and I think they are not the same) a video on her on a different website, which will either be in this e-mail or a following one. Along with the video is an offer to buy Bishop Barron’s book on St. Catherine, which might interest you. It might actual be kind of fun for all of us to read it; perhaps I can figure out a way for us to discuss it as a parish.
Ministry to You
I have been praying about what I can be doing for you during this time. The live-streaming of Sunday Mass is one product of that, but I was thinking about another type of video service. For some of my classroom visits, the students and teacher would save up questions that arose since my last visit. I was thinking that if you all had questions, you could e-mail them to me, and I could post a video occasionally answering them. They could be about anything at all, as far as I am concerned, and I would just read the question without the sender’s name, then answer it.
Of course, I continue to pray for you, offer Mass, hear confessions, call and write to people, but if there is something else that you think I could do for people, or you think of some need, please let me know. I am here for you.
This is long enough. Let us continue to pray for each other, and for all who are affected in any way by this pandemic. Let us pray for our elected officials and bishops as they try to find solutions to problems no one has dealt with before. Let us remember and pray for our graduating seniors – high school and college – who will be denied a traditional graduation ceremony this year, and for their families. This is a big disappointment for them, but let us pray that families and schools can come up with creative ways still to celebrate this milestone in their lives.
I carry you in my heart, and, more important, our Blessed Mother carries us in her Immaculate Heart, and Jesus carries us in His Sacred Heart.
God bless you all.