Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
THANK YOU I would like to express my gratitude to all the many parishioners that introduced themselves to me this past weekend and for your prayers. Please understand that this is a very overwhelming experience for me personally as I try to put names to faces. I am sure that this will come, but it is a slow process (past experience), especially as the schedules do not allow me to be present to both parishes each weekend.
SOME THINGS OLD As I begin my time with you, many things will stay the same. For the time being, Mass times and confessions will remain as they were scheduled in the past. The staff remains the same as well, and that is a good thing as they are the ones that really drive the everyday aspects of parish life, keeping it on an even keel in the midst of change.
SOME THINGS NEW As time goes by, I will be looking to make a few changes that better fit my schedule and other situations. Fr Barry will be taking one bulletin article each month, as this will be an opportunity for you to come to know him a bit better, and will help him continue on his path to becoming a pastor in the not too distant future. I will also ask for an occasional article from Deacon Jeff, as I have found that the deacons have a particular point of view that can be overlooked in parish activities, but are very important for us to keep in mind as deacons have a different perspective from that of a priest.
I look forward to working with the parish council and finance council as well. These are the backbone of a parish, and are especially helpful to a new pastor in getting a handle on many aspects of parish life. I will be in contact with the leaders of the councils soon to make plans for the continued service of these groups, and for others such as Knights of Columbus and PCCW.
Days off: I come from a fairly large and active parish in Prairie du Chien. It has been my experience those days off can be infrequent if we let them, especially in parishes with many funerals and weddings. It will be my desire, once settled in, to take Monday’s off as much as possible. This will remain Fr. Barry’s day off as well, so Monday will be a quiet day around the rectory. Of course, as funerals come up, we will make adjustments to this schedule, and other days or at least half-days will be taken as needed.
LOOKING AHEAD: There are many things coming up at our two parishes, and so I am sure the summer months will be over before we know. The Parish Pull this past Friday was a great way to start off getting to know more people.
Server Training: Sat July 20 at 9:00 AM Fr Barry will hold a training session for all current and new servers (Servers in grades 10 – 12 are excused). This will be a refresher for current servers and training for new servers. Servers must be entering Grade 4 this fall. Please call the office to register.
Bible Camp: Catholic Kidz Vacation Bible School will run from July 29 to August 2, beginning at 8:00 AM each morning and running till 11:30. This camp is for grades pre-K to 6th grade. See either parish website for more information.
Adventure Camp and Steubenville Rochester: These 2 are for high school students, and are very good experiences your children will long remember. They both come at our faith from different perspectives, but incorporate many of the basics of our faith (prayer, adoration, sacraments, reflection time) and are designed to help a young person embrace the faith on their terms.
With all these things going on in addition to the busy summer schedule of sports and work, the summer is sure to fly by. But don’t let business become an excuse to put your faith aside. It takes sacrifice to keep the practice of our faith alive, especially during demanding times. If you need another tool to help during these busy moments, check out the FORMED program on the parish websites. This is a great resource to help us live as Catholic Christians always. In our busy lives, there will always be those demands and conflicts; what do I choose? Because, in the end, it comes down to priorities and choices.
In Christ, Fr. Jim