Most of the time, I use this space in the bulletin to write about one topic. Today’s column is a bit of a hodgepodge – a little of this and a little of that. Maybe this will end up being a stream of consciousness?
Fr. Michael headed North on Monday, driving to NYC to take up his studies. And as Fr. Zack said, “And then there were two.” People are asking, “Do you know who’s coming to replace Fr. Michael?” At this point in time, we do not know and there is no one definitely scheduled. But not to fret, we are working on it.
It won’t come as surprise to you, but the work, ministry, and all that goes on in the parish hasn’t changed. “And then there were two.” Some things we can control; some we can’t. Fr. Zack and I are still responsible for the curé animarum – the care of souls – for our parishioners, Tampa General, and other ministries, and we will strive to be present in the ways that we always have. One of the things that is true about being in a parish is that you don’t control the afternoons or evenings. Most days, we are in the parish office until 8 p.m.; there are people to see, ministries, and getting ready for the next day. On Sunday, when Wednesday looked like a “light day,” Tuesday night might find you preparing for a funeral the next morning, seeing who can cover daily confessions because one of us needs to present at the burial site, and looking at other emerging requests. And new ones emerge on Wednesday, as they did this week.
We have a much better chance of some illusion of control in the mornings. Beginning the day after Memorial Day, apart from holidays and Holy Days, we will no longer have a weekday morning Mass. We will still have daily Confessions at 11:30 a.m. and daily Mass at 12:10 p.m., and so the pastoral care of the downtown business community will continue. The weekend schedule isn’t changing. What changes we are making will give some flexibility in our day for all the things common to a household: prayer, cleaning, vacuuming, cooking, shopping, chatting, paying bills, and all the rest that comes along with daily life.
There will also be some stretches coming up when one or both of us will be away. The week of Memorial Day, Fr. Zack and I will be in Albany NY, at a gathering of all the Friars of our Province. We are considering merging/reorganizing with five other U.S.-based provinces (centers in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Santa Barbara, Albuquerque, and Franklin, Wisconsin). Whether the measure is approved or not, in the near and mid-term, it will not impact the Franciscan presence here at Sacred Heart.
The weekend of June 23 I will be in NYC as witness to the priestly ordination of John Aherne, OFM (that’s him standing next to Fr. Michael). John spend the summer of 2015 here with us as an intern – he’s the one who taught Irish Dance! Fr. John’s first assignment will be at St. Mary’s in Pompton Lakes, NJ. Please keep him in prayer.
From June 27 through July 17, one us will be away on retreat or vacation. And summer will be over before we know it and we will be preparing for the “next year” that begins in September.
Oh yeah… the Annual Pastoral Appeal (APA): we are getting there! Sent in your envelope yet? Donated online? Some interesting factoids about APA: of the 84 parishes and missions, our assessment is the 11th largest. Our pledges to date are the 7th highest. But our percentage-of-households participating is 66th! In our case, only about 12% (318) of our registered households have donated compared to the diocesan average of 27%, which for us would be 718 households. As pastor, I set a goal of 650 participating households – so, please take a moment to donate online or take an envelope from the back of the church!
But you know what? I am so grateful for the 318 households that have given. Thank you and know that your contribution is deeply appreciated.
And that’s what I have been thinking about. Be well. God bless.