August 27, 2017

What will ministry look like moving forward in the Church Alive!: One thing is clear as we move through On Mission for the Church Alive! With the diminishing number of priests to serve our local church it will be necessary for all baptized members of the The Church to actualize their responsibility as servants. We are called to share our unique and individual skills and charisms that we have been graced with by the Holy Spirit. It will be important for our community, especially in her evangelization efforts, to authorize all our members to exercise a ministry which manifests each individual’s spiritual gift. This process will demand prayer and discernment. It will also require a new commitment to the parish and the Church on the part of many. However, those who embrace their baptismal call to serve others will experience a joy that the world simply cannot supply.

To this end, I would like to encourage you to pray over your involvement in a very special opportunity called Stephen Ministry. Stephen ministers are well-trained lay caregivers who provide high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people experiencing various difficulties in life. They may be best described as the “after-people” – – those who come alongside a person after a crisis occurs and walk with them for as long after as necessary.

What type of after events do Stephen Ministers help with? They are there after: you receive the phone call you hoped you would never get, the death of a loved one, your relationship ends, your last child leaves home, the new baby arrives, your marriage becomes more than you anticipated, you think you lost your way with God, you find a pink slip in your paycheck, your family and friends have heard your story one too many times, but you still need to talk it out. Stephen Ministers help after any situation in which you need, and will benefit from, the Church walking with you.

On Saturday, September 23, there will be a half-day introductory Stephen Ministry Workshop at Saint Bernard Parish in Mt. Lebanon. The day begins with check-in at 8:00 AM and will conclude at 1:00 PM. There are three sessions to the day: Session 1 is Ministering to Those Experiencing Grief, Session 2 is An Introduction to Stephen Ministry, and Session 3 is How to Care in a Distinctively Christian Way.

If you are interested in learning more about Stephen Ministry, please stop by the Welcome Desk to pick up a packet of information and/or visit stephenminisrty.org.

I would ask you to also pray over this ministry; and if you feel called to explore it in greater detail, please e-mail or call the Parish Center Office (by September 13) to register for the introductory workshop. The parish will cover the cost of registration for any member who attends.

Those who attend the meeting will, at a later date, meet as a parish team to determine if and how we should move forward. Personally, I believe this ministry is crucial to the vitality of a parish. Additionally, with all the dramatic change that is upon us (and soon to come) as part of the On Mission of the Church Alive! there will be a need for “After People.” The need will exceed what the priests and deacons of the Church will be able to fulfill. Therefore, we will all need to depend upon those men and women who are gifted by the Spirit to be a Stephen Minister. Have you been gifted this way? Is God calling you to walk with others? Please pray over this and join me in discerning this ministry for our Parish.

August 20, 2017

Let’s get together for some prayer, work, and fun! On Saturday, August 26, a plan is being put together to converge on the campus to do some general clean-up and hopefully have some fun. The day will kick off with Mass at 9:00 AM (like normal) and then continue from there, weather permitting, of course. You are invited to grab some tools/equipment from home and come join the work party. Or simply come to supervise, come to encourage others, come to make new friends. Things you might want to bring along, if you have them, would be: weed whacker or weed cutter, rake, shovels, leaf blower, hedge clippers, tarp, and work gloves. Bring other stuff if you think you can use it.

This will be a great time to show off the back porch area of the Parish Center as well. Once again, weather permitting, we will have food and drinks available on the porch throughout the day. You might want to bring a lawn chair and sit a while on the porch and enjoy the great space available. There is a good chance that you will find Fr. Ken on that porch cooking up some hot dogs after he gets done hearing confessions (Fr. Daniel might even be seen doing some weed pulling).  Everyone is invited to stop by the campus on the 26th to pray, work, confess, or simply come and have a hot dog. If you forget to RSVP, don’t worry; come over anyway. However, if you do plan on coming out and would like to join us for lunch (or even if you want to stop over after Mass for coffee and a donut) please give us a heads up by letting the Welcome Desk attendant know before you leave today or by calling or sending an e-mail to the Parish Center Office before the end of the day on the 24th.

August 13, 2017

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: A Holy Day of Obligation, a Holy Day of Opportunity: Tuesday, August 15, is a Holy Day of Obligation. Monday night’s regularly scheduled Mass and novena will be the Vigil Mass and will fulfill your obligation for Mass. On Tuesday Mass will be offered at 7:00 and 9:00 AM as well as at 7:00 PM (all in the main Church). Please note that our Holy Days of Obligation are important feast days within our faith (every Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation) and it is a mortal sin to intentionally miss Mass on one of these days. We call them obligations because the Precepts of the Catholic Church tell us that celebrating these feast days is a part of the minimum level of commitment to the Catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that “the precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor (2041). These days are the principal liturgical feasts that honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. They are days that allow us to worship the Lord and grow deeper in our faith through word, instruction, celebration and action. But why do I call them Holy Days of Opportunity? Because they are days for us to rejoice! As Catholics, we know that these are the most important days of the year and the best way to celebrate them is with the source and summit of our life, the Holy Mass. Within Mass we gather with all the angels and saints and our brothers and sisters comprising the Body of Christ as we offer the greatest prayer of intercession we have for ourselves and the world. As we do this we also fulfill Christ’s command to “do this in remembrance of me.” It is truly right and just that we gather on these special days of “obligation” outside of the normal Sunday to receive the grace that comes from the Mass. What a wonderful opportunity!

Buildings, grounds and work going on: Recently I wrote about work that was going to be starting soon to address several water issues. There was a slight delay in that due to a last-minute change in the engineering report we received from the diocese, but work should soon start. Some areas of concern are also under further review as initial evaluation has not been supported by second opinions. Several areas of the campus have been undergoing repair and cleanup recently, even if all the rain and fast-growing weeds have made it seem like nothing was accomplished. Recently, I’ve been asked to allow for a parish-wide volunteer clean-up day to be held on Saturday, August 26. I have no objection to that idea or request. So, mark your calendar and keep an eye out for more details in next week’s bulletin.

August 6, 2017

The Davin Room: We recently completed a clean-up of the Davin room and are looking forward to opening this space to the parish for more activities. Currently, it is used for the Children’s Liturgy of the Word, the St. Vincent de Paul meetings, and by our music program. This large room can be arranged in many ways to accommodate different group sizes and
activities.

The doors to the school building: You will be seeing a new sign on the doors by the restroom which provide access to the school building stairway. This sign will make it clear that this doorway is NOT an emergency exit. In fact, these doors are not to be used during the weekday and are locked Monday through Friday and connected to an alarm which will be triggered if anyone attempts to open the doors. Additionally, these doors are monitored by security cameras at all times both within the church and the school. On weekends the doors will be open and this stairway will be available for those who park in the gym parking lot.