Even as we watch in our world as the COVID numbers continue to spike, still life continues. This weekend, our neighbor Fr. Jeremiah will be joining us for the Saturday 4pm Mass while I celebrate a wedding for a former student down at the Cathedral in Johnstown.
This week we celebrated the funeral for one of our parishioners, William Hendrick, and last Friday, we celebrated the funeral of one of our priests, Fr. Andrew Stanko. Most recently Fr. Stanko had been pastor of St. John Vianney in Mundy’s Corner, but I knew him best as pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Cambria City, Johnstown. Just like Northern Cambria, Cambria City had been a haven for Ethnic Parishes. About 13 years ago, when I was just a Seminarian, I spent a year in the parish with Fr. Stanko. He was a wonderful priest who had served for many years as a Hospital Chaplain. I remember how, in the days when we were able to do such things, every day he would make a point to stop out to the Hospital and visit his parishioners. I still think of him often when I’m able to do communion calls. I’d ask you to continue to keep Fr. Stanko and all of our priests, living and deceased in your prayers, as well as encouraging young men to continue to be involved in their faith, and should God call them to the priesthood or religious life, to generously accept that call.
Meanwhile, this week, as we wish everyone a joyful Thanksgiving, please know that you are all in our prayers as you make those difficult decisions on who to gather with. My own family has decided that we’re going to be scaling back dramatically for Thanksgiving this year, and although we’ll all eat Turkey somehow, we may not be able to gather as we usually do. Please continue to pray for all those who are unable to join their families this Thanksgiving.
In more joyful news, please also remember in your prayers Julie Pawlikowski and Brian Laurito, who are to be married next Saturday. If you see them, offer them both congratulations on their happy day and prayer for a faith-filled, joyful marriage.
We also have a couple of big things coming up in our parish. This weekend at the 11am mass, we’ll be drawing the names for our new parish council. One of the first orders of business for our new council (provided we can get things assembled in time) will be to decide the times for our Christmas Masses this year. We will need to make some adjustments so that we can accommodate all the folks who want to come to mass this Christmas, and if possible, I’d like to get the input of our new council as we do that.
Similarly, we’re working on Advent Confession schedules in our region. With the COVID-related restrictions, we won’t be able to have penance services as we typically do. Instead, we’ll have 2-3 evenings where we will have confession with 1-2 visiting priests from our neighboring parishes. We’re currently working on the schedule and I hope to have it out to you soon.
Also, please don’t forget to check out our baskets next weekend and the weekend of December 5th & 6th. We have some wonderful baskets that will make some great Christmas gifts! Stop by and check them out.
If you’d like to help us set up for the Basket Raffle, we’ll be moving tables and setting things up on this Tuesday, November 24th at 10am.
I hope all of you have a joyful Thanksgiving this week. Please stay safe and know that you are always in my prayers.
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.