I hope I didn’t overwhelm everyone last week with the finances. I know it was a lot of information, but I was a bit surprised that I got very little feedback from folks. I guess it just took a while to process where we are. Aside from the Cemetery, we’re doing reasonably well all considered. There’s always going to be struggles and challenges, but it’s good to be open and transparent, working together to build up the kingdom of God. I know all those numbers are a necessary thing, but it is nice now to get back to the regular work of our parish.
I must have reminded a lot of people about cemetery business because we’ve have more than a few people checking on plots, putting in stones, and the like. I do want to thank everyone who’s come in this past week with cemetery related issues for your patience. We really are working on things, and slowly, day by day, we’re getting more organized. Everyone I’ve spoken to in the last week or two has been very patient, and I just want to say how much I appreciate that. We’re all in this together.
Now it is a little bit ironic, to follow up stewardship Sunday with celebrating a Saint who spent his life specifically renouncing everything, his inheritance, even his very clothes, for the sake of the kingdom of God. I know that sometimes we think of Saint Francis primarily for his love of animals, but he’s so much more than that. His one true love, was Jesus Christ. He wanted to be like that rich young man in the Gospel story, and literally give up everything to follow Jesus, unbound by all the cares of the world. Now of course, he understood that whether in the Church or in the outside world, someone had to mind those concerns, and he never degraded those who did, but he knew for himself, he longed for the freedom of complete poverty, dependent complete on God, sharing the good news and never worrying about what tomorrow might bring.
If you’ve never heard the story, or even if you have, I can’t recommend enough the Audio Drama of Saint Francis that’s on FORMED. You can easily listen in your car, on a walk, or anywhere. It’s one of the best audio drama’s I’ve ever heard, and the 2nd best version of Francis’s story I’ve ever encountered. Second only to Saint Francis’s Biography by GK Chesterton, which is also a freely available ebook or audio book.
Saint Francis is a pretty amazing figure, and I think we can all certainly understand his desire. Over the last year I know I’ve had to spend a lot of time on the practical matters of our Church, with things like hiring staff, dealing with building repairs, cemetery maps, managing grass cutting, budgets, technology, and the like. Of course, I’d love to spend more time teaching adult education, preparing for homilies, anointing the sick, hearing confessions, and doing priestly work, and I hope as we get some of these concerns ironed out, I’ll be able to do just that.
That’s part of why I’m very excited as John’s starting to find his way around here, he’s starting to get set up with facility concerns. We’re going to have to clear out the garage and get him set with a workshop, but with time, I think we’ll get a handle on our buildings maintenance so that we can focus more on the reasons we have a Church.
I’m also excited to soon be able to put our parish council together, form committees, and be able to better involve you, the people of our parish in the everyday decisions, so that you can feel you have more of a say and more ownership of your parish. Over the last year, I’ve had lots of people offer to help, the trouble is, it’s hard to get organized enough to know what to ask for help with. I really hope that as our nomination process concludes in a couple weeks, our parish council will be able to help organize many of both our material and spiritual tasks as a parish.
Please continue to keep me in your prayers, as I keep you in mine. God Bless, -Fr Matt
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.