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January 29, 2017

FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

It is now my policy to provide some instruction/reminders at the beginning of a new year as to how we might best conduct ourselves at Mass (and beyond). This comes from Church teaching, but also from my general observations from the altar and is also influenced by the various things I read. My latest reading is from a book that I have recently referred to called Divine Renovation, Taking your Parish from Maintenance to Mission. It has lots of great ideas on how we might improve our parish life.

First off, let me say that I am now communicating with our various ministries by way of technology. Instead of having meetings, I will share my thoughts by way of Group e-Mails (or snail mail as needed). It makes more sense.

I just finished a communication to our Lectors and our Eucharistic Ministers (EM’s). We want to make sure that we are doing the best we can as ministers of the altar in proclaiming the Word of God and distributing the Word of God made flesh (and blood).

But from the congregation’s point of view,  I would like to mention a few things. It goes without saying that you should arrive at Mass in a timely fashion. To do otherwise, at least on a regular basis, would be rude. Now I’m sure you must believe that this is the most important event of your day, and of your week. It’s a “Divine Appointment”, so please be on time. A little earlier wouldn’t hurt. You can say a few prayers in preparation for your meeting with The Living God.

If you are in a state of grave sin, you should refrain from receiving Holy Communion. The guidelines for reception are on the inside front cover of the Missalette.

You may, however, go forward for a blessing. If you choose to do so, as you approach the priest or deacon, simply hold your hand up as an indication that you have made a decision to not receive. We will bless you on your forehead. The situation can sometimes be resolved in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As for reception of Holy Communion, you may receive on your tongue or in your hand. A gentle bow from the waist just before you approach is appropriate.

If you are disabled in any way, please make your wishes known to an usher before Mass and communion will be delivered to you at your seat.

We have a cry room for families with children, but it should be used only for families and not for those who arrive late. Seating is also available in the gathering space. We do not discourage children from being in the main body of the church, but for the sake of the preacher and for those being preached to, if the child is causing a disturbance, it would be greatly appreciated if you made the move to the cry room.

Technically, Mass ends whenever I say the Final Blessing. I’m sure none of you want to “eat and run”. Again, it would be …. rude. So yes, it would really be nice if you stayed and sang a song to God with the rest of us. And maybe even stayed for the prayer to the Archangel.

We are considering a policy revision with regard to the use of our Activity Center (A/C). It’s been common practice to make the room generally available to both parish members and to the public. It’s a great service, and it can be an evangelistic tool, but it has drawbacks too. So we are considering limiting its use to only parish events. The Parish Council is discussing this and we will share our conclusions with you soon. But please be advised that we are now not booking any events other than parish events, such as funeral luncheons, Trivia Nights, Alpha Programs, Movie Nights, Saint Joseph Table Pasta Dinners (coming up soon) and maybe some weddings. And who knows, there may even be a few “surprise parties” along the way.

Addenda:

The final figures for our Witness to Hope Campaign are in … 243 parishioners pledged $606,512 which is over our $550,350 goal. Our parish will get back 35% of the goal, approx. $192,622, and 65% of the amount over the goal, approx. $36,505 (maybe that would be cause for a party).

And, yes, Trivia Night is coming up soon. For those new parishioners who have never come, please consider organizing a table – “Try it, you’ll like it!” Its lots of fun, can be very humbling, and it is for a good cause, a fundraiser for our school.

The St. Joseph Table Dinner we talked about earlier not only honors Jesus’ father, but is also our means of welcoming our new parishioners. If you are a “newbie”, then please make sure you circle March 18th on your calendar. Special invitations are coming.

The next Movie Night on February 11 will be the classic, Academy Award-winning, Song of Bernadette, based on the book of the same name. Great family fare in this month of our Lady of Lourdes.

 

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