Dear Parishioners and Friends,
On Friday, May 5th, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared that Covid is no longer a global health emergency. The announcement came as welcome news to all of us, whose lives took a sharp turn back in March 2020, more than three years ago. Virtually empty streets, office buildings, schools and churches quickly became the new normal. As Catholics, we had to adjust to an alternative way of worshiping and being a community. Although many things have returned to the way they once were, we continue to be cautious nonetheless.
A few months ago, we took a simple survey of parishioners to find out if you were ready to return to the practice of receiving the Precious Blood at Mass. Out of 148 responses, 37 said they would receive from the cup if it were offered; 111 said they would not. However, since then we have been asked by a number of parishioners about when the cup would return.
After discussion among the staff, we are looking to begin offering the cup on a limited basis starting on June 11th, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). We will begin at the 10:00 AM Mass on Sundays and see how things go. That is the Mass for which we received the most votes in favor of returning the cup. Since we cannot reserve the consecrated wine the way the consecrated hosts are reserved in the tabernacle, we will consecrate a limited amount of wine at first, and adjust the amount accordingly. Just as we opened more Masses to the public during the pandemic, we will extend the availability of the cup at other Masses in due course. I should note, however, that much will depend on having enough Ministers of the Eucharist to administer the cup. If you are interested in serving as a Minister of the Eucharist, please contact Stacie Mawson ([email protected]).
On a related matter regarding the Eucharist, some parishioners have asked why we don’t use the tabernacle in the main church on weekends. As you might remember, we had some technical issues with the lock mechanism a while ago which have not been fully resolved. Therefore, we have continued to use the tabernacle in the chapel which is easier to open and close. There is a ciborium with a small number of consecrated hosts in the main tabernacle in order for us to maintain a Eucharistic presence in the church at all times.
Now on to some financial matters. Several months ago, upon the recommendation
of our parish Finance Council, we started to hold monthly special collections for
what I like to think of as “high-ticket” items in our operating budget, such as heating and air conditioning, liturgical music, and other miscellaneous items that can crop up without warning, like steam leaks, electrical repairs, etc.
So far, we have realized $19,293.60 from the first four collections for heating, music and “nuts and volts.” This is a wonderful response, which has helped us tremendously – thank you! In fact, our expenses this year are down by almost $26,000 from last year, and income is up by more that $41,000. We have been able to trim costs wherever possible, but some budget items (e.g., salaries and utilities) are fixed expenses that cannot be lowered easily. I have asked the staff to be conscious of where and how we can lower our costs. In addition, I am hoping to rely less on our investment account to cover our budget gaps. This has been the practice for a number of years, even prior to the pandemic, and it is not a healthy long-term solution.
The overall result has been good news so far. As we continue our monthly special collections, and everyone does their share, we will end up in a much healthier financial state. If you haven’t had the opportunity to participate in our May “Nuts & Volts” appeal, here is what it covers: replacement of emergency lights ($2,170); repair of two steam leaks in the church ($2,997); no heat in Friary & Center ($3,692); routine maintenance on A/C equipment ($5,016), for a grand total of $13,875. None of these items was foreseen, but the repair bills are high as need to pay them. If you can help, please go to https://osvhub.com/spsact/giving/funds. We are so grateful to all of you for your support!
We have had some wonderful events take place over the past few weeks: Confirmation at St. Joseph Cathedral, May Crowning and the Ladies Guild 85th Anniversary Celebration; First Eucharist, Walk Against Hunger, and so much more. Our parish is alive and well, serving God and one another with joy and hope in our future. We have weathered the storm of the pandemic, and now we move ahead.
Blessings on your week ahead!
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M.Pastor