It’s hard for me to believe that after just about two years here, this will be my final bulletin article with you folks. As I look around, the shelves are bare. My things are all in boxes and I’m mostly just working out of a few bags at this point. Next weekend I’ll be celebrating my first weekend mass at my new parishes. Transitions are always a bitter-sweet time. Change is hard, especially when these changes happen so quickly, and priests are only in a parish for so short of a time. Still, it’s been a very good two years. I’m thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend with you folks.
We’ve accomplished a lot here at Prince of Peace. In the office, we’ve updated all of our parish records, and we’ve gotten our finances into pretty good order. We’ve redone the bulletin and brought printing in-house, replaced the website, implemented On-Line Giving and our Cemetery Mapping project, and overall we’ve moved things into a pretty stable place. In the Church, we’ve fixed up the air conditioning and heating, gotten the hall and garage cleaned up and created a maintenance workshop inside, and updated some of the lighting. We’ve made new liturgical decorations for both the Church and Chapel, and we’ve brought back some wonderful Christmas decorations. We’ve had a few adult classes, and we have revamped our Religious Education program. We’ve trained Eucharistic Ministers to visit the homebound and we’ve had some very successful dinners and basket parties.
Then, of course, for the last 16 months or so of that time, we’ve walked through a pandemic where we launched into the adventures of streaming. Folks who had been previously unfamiliar with terms like Facebook and YouTube were able to join us for Mass virtually. We spent some time with masks in Church, and yet, we’ve come through it pretty well. I’m happy to say that as we look at the end of the fiscal year end attendance and financials, we’ve done very well through it all. While our numbers have dropped a little, as have all Churches, we have weathered the storm far better than many. Our collections haven’t really dropped at all. All of that involvement is a testimony to your faith here in Northern Cambria. I’ve been blessed to walk this journey with you.
I remember when I first arrived, one of the biggest concerns was the cemeteries. While we haven’t quite finished, we’ve made enormous progress in getting our five cemeteries into good order. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s so good to know that we have everything in place to keep good records and be able to sell the plots that keep the cemetery running. The grass is being cut on a regular schedule, and while it’s not perfect, things are slowly getting moving again.
With all that in mind, I had a chance this week to meet with your new Administrator, Fr. Mark Groeger. After showing him around, walking him through the buildings, and giving him a brief rundown on things, I think he’ll do very well here and I’m much more comfortable with moving on when I know I’m leaving things in capable hands. I hope that you will continue to work with him as you worked with me and together work to build up the kingdom of God here in Northern Cambria.
If you’re ever in Johnstown, please stop by either the Co-Cathedral or St. Patrick’s for Mass!
God Bless You all!
New Assignment Locations:
St. John Gualbert Cathedral
117 Clinton Street in Johnstown
609 Park Avenue in Johnstown
My new mailing address:
Very Reverend Matthew Baum
c/o St. John Gualbert Cathedral
PO Box 807
Johnstown, PA 15907-0807
Father Matthew Baum was the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA from July 2019 thru June 30, 2021..
Prince of Peace