I think we’ve all had those moments when it felt like we were taking 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. I know that’s what I’ve been feeling like this week. It’s easy for jobs that we think should only take weeks turn into months. I know it’s been a long time in coming, but I’m happy to say that our parish council will finally be having their initial meeting! I’m hopeful that as we get moving and get some committees going, we’ll both be better able to get parishioner input on what’s going on, better able to get some of our routine parish activities accomplished in a more reasonable timeframe, and better able to keep our parish active. I know it’s been frustrating for me the last few months, I’ve had a number of people willing to help with things around the parish, but until we get some organization to it, it’s hard to actually hand those things off to those volunteers. I’m really hopeful that by meeting as a council, we’ll begin to really make that process happen enabling you to better take ownership of this parish. I still remember when I first came, someone asked me “so what are your plans for your new parish?” and after thinking I responded, it’s not just my parish. It’s the Lord’s parish and it’s our parish. We’ve got to figure this out together.” I still believe that and it’s good to see progress in that direction.
Meanwhile, this has been a pretty busy week for our cemeteries. I’ve had a few people inquiring about graves, and I’m happy to say that we’ve made some major progress. It’s quite an adventure digging into the old cabinets and working through multiple maps. I had a meeting with the vendor who setup our database this week, and we’ve got quite a few sections pretty much completed at this point. It’s a long process, combining data from multiple sources and getting the paper information consolidated into 3-ring binders and the digital information input into the appropriate systems. We’ve got a ways to go, but it’s really good to see progress. The good news is that the sections with plots for sale are mostly completed.
So if you’re interested in a plot at St. John’s (flat or upright) or St. Stan’s (flat only) things are pretty clear and ready to go. In the next month or two we’ll be opening a new section at Mount Carmel, once that’s ready, we’ll be ready to go there as well.
As we all know, this pandemic had changed our lives dramatically. Coming up in the next week, is something that’s rather disappointing for me. For the last 15 years or so, nearly every year I’ve made the trip down to DC for the March for Life. Considering the realities of this year, that trip isn’t going to be possible this year. Even so, it’s important for us to support and pray for the unborn and their families. In light of that, the U.S. Bishops have encouraged us to celebrate a novena called “9 days for Life” beginning on Thursday, January 21st and ending Friday January 29th. Paper copies of the Novena will be available in the back of Church and an electronic copy will be on our website. I’ll be recording the reflections for each day of the Novena and they’ll be available on Facebook and YouTube. Then finally, since the folks who came really enjoyed the Rosary and Holy Hour for our Nation last week, we’ll have a Holy Hour for the final night of the Novena on Thursday, January 28th from 7pm-8pm. That will make hour Holy Hour coincide with National Prayer Vigil for Life held in DC. Our Holy Hour will conclude at 8pm just as the National Prayer Vigil begins. Our Holy Hour will be streamed and the National Prayer Vigil can be viewed on EWTN. I hope that many of you will be able to join us for the Holy Hour, and that you’ll join us in the 9 Days for Life Novena.
As we continue through Ordinary Time, please know that you are all always in my prayers and I hope I remain in yours.
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.