Letter from Fr. David

Dear Friends in Christ

Before we plunge headlong into Lent this week, I’m giving you some pastoral and administrative updates.

1. Soup & Stations – We are doing this program again this year. The focus is on sharing simple soup suppers as a parish family, and then together meditating on the passion of Christ as we pray the Stations of the Cross. Once again a different group will host each supper, and this is a good thing for many reasons.

2. Consoling the Heart of Jesus – The folks are thoroughly pleased with this program, and I think we are growing spiritually as a parish because of it. I think it is good to have some educational / formational program like this going throughout the year.

3. Parish Website & App – The Rockford Diocese helped create a new website for us. Some of the information is based on older data, however, so we are still in process of updating everything. I do like the setup much better than the previous one. We are also looking into purchasing a parish app for mobile devices. This will open up many new communication tools for us. More information will be forthcoming.

4. Census Update – After two rounds of census forms at Sunday Masses, the Pastoral Council is now preparing to initiate the follow up phase. This will entail reaching out to everyone in our parish directory who did not fill out a form. Based on the number of forms received, over half of our parish families will be contacted. This then will become an excellent opportunity to reach out to, engage with, listen to, and invite back fellow parishioners who for whatever reasons are not currently with us. I consider this an excellent and appropriate endeavor for this Year of Mercy!

5. Phone System Update – I think we finally got this working the way we would like! In the absence of an answering service (which costs a lot of money!) we have an auto attendant system. If you call outside of office hours, you have one of three options – 1) Leave a general voicemail with the secretary, 2) leave a message in a specific mailbox according to the directory, or 3) leave on urgent message with me (which goes directly to my house). Hopefully this setup will prove to be effective for us.

6. Finance Update – Over the past four months we have averaged a little over $7,000 for our regular collections. This is significantly better than what we were averaging previously, which was less than $6,000. So you need to be commended for your generosity and your response to my plea a few months ago! We also received a few generous donations over the holiday season which gave us a little boost! I plan to write a more detailed financial update for you all soon.

7. Ministry Update – This week I met with a group of lectors to discuss the development of our lector ministry. This is an important step for you as a parish, and one that we will be taking with other ministries in the future. A training session for new lectors should be coming soon.

8. Compassion Ministry – The Mass of Remembrance was a beautiful and encouraging event. The ministry is now looking to move ahead with some other things as per the survey. This ministry has lots of potential but it will need lots of help from you to get the various aspects of it afloat!

9. First Fridays – I have decided two things for First Fridays. 1) We will have a Eucharistic Holy Hour after Mass (except of course when I’m away or when it is a major holiday). 2) Anointing of the Sick will be administered periodically during the year, and not every month. The bulletin and website will keep you posted. I have my reasons for this change which I can divulge at another time when I have more space.

Blessed Lent to You!

Fr. David