Well, I hope everyone here made out alright while I was away on vacation! I’d like to congratulate Brooke Semelsberger and Corbin Corrente on celebrating their wedding this weekend. It’s quite a time to get married, so congratulations to the newlywed couple!
This week also, I’m excited that quite a few things we’ve been working on for a while are finally ready to go:
Our new copier has been delivered so next week’s bulletin should look rather different and will include the readings, responses, and hymns. I’m going to put some faith in you folks, and please make sure that during the hymns, you’re actually singing along and not reading my column instead! In all seriousness, I think it will be a good change, as there will only be one “thing” placed in each pew each week, and we should be able to print as many as are needed.
We also received an update that our CemSites cemetery management package with mapping has been completed. We’ll be receiving training on it here in the office sometime next week. Although this means there will be quite a bit of work to be done, I’m hopeful that many of you will be willing to volunteer as we try to get things in order and start to get our cemeteries organized. Thank you to everyone for your contributions toward the project.
I’m also excited that now that the applications are in, as soon as I get them from our Diocesan HR office, we should hopefully begin the interview process for our new DRE and Maintenance person in the next week. Please keep all of us in your prayers that all goes well and we find an excellent person for each position.
In the meantime, I’m thankful to a couple of our Religious Ed Teachers who are looking through potential new materials for the Fall. As I get back and get a chance to meet with them, I hope to get some thoughts from them so that we can get a survey, as well as a fall religious education registration, out to our parents in the very near future.
We’re going to have a very busy August as we start to get all these things into place. Please keep us all in your prayers and be open to volunteering, I’m sure as I get back and see where we are, we’re going to need lots of help.
God Bless You,
This weekend we heard the Gospel of the Weeds and the Wheat. It’s a lesson that I think we all struggle with in our world. As much as we want things to be perfect, that’s rarely how it works out. Sometimes we all need to have a little patience and work together. Every single one of us falls short of what God calls us to. We’re all sinners, so what do we do when we’re faced with the messiness of the world? Do we encourage the good to grow in our lives, or do we pull up the wheat along with the weeds?
This week, I’ve got some exciting news. It’s official, by August 1st, our bulletin is going to look very different than it does right now. Our new copier has been ordered and soon we’ll be able to print it in house. The new bulletin will include the readings, hymns, and mass responses each week. I’m also excited as that means we’ll be able to start doing programs for funerals. It’s good as a parish to support those who are grieving for their loved ones, and it’s a blessing to be able to support them. Often, we have folks in Church who haven’t been inside a Church for years, and when we can put something in their hands that allows them to better participate, we show them we value them, and we want to help them to rekindle their faith. That’s part of our mission as Catholics.
As a reminder, if you know anyone who might be interested in either our Director of Religious Education (DRE) or our Maintenance position, please encourage them to send in their resume. I’d love to see us add some energetic and motivated people to our staff here at Prince of Peace. They’re welcome to apply on-line for either position at https://www.dioceseaj.org/employment. Applications are due no later than July 24th.
So with the applications due July 24th, and facing the reality that that will be followed by interviews and a mad rush to get things ready for Religious Ed in the fall, I’m going to be taking a short vacation this week. We’ll have our normal daily mass Monday, and I’ll be back Friday afternoon. We will NOT have daily mass on July 21-24. I’ll say the intentions for those masses privately while on vacation, but rest assured, they will be said.
Once I get back on the 24th, please expect a parent survey in pretty short order on our plans for Religious Education this fall. I’m hesitant to set anything in stone until we have an idea of who our new DRE will be, after all, that person may have some great ideas we haven’t thought of yet. Even so, I will be working to get ideas from our parents on how they would like things to run. I’ve been talking to a few of our teachers, and we’re excited about some of the possibilities. So parents, please keep an eye on your emails after the 24th.
Like everything else in our world right now, it’s probably not going to look like what we’re familiar with and not everyone will be happy with whatever direction we move in, but I’m hoping we can get some things together to work toward sharing the faith with our young people, to make sure we’re focused on cultivating the good seed, and that we do our best not to pull up the wheat with the weeds.
God Bless You, -Fr Matt
Congratulations to our 11th graders who made their Confirmation this week. I have to say it’s a bit of a different experience to have Confirmation here rather than at the Cathedral, but I think as a whole, it was a good experience. Now, I’d invite you to continue to pray for them. Now, especially, is a difficult time for our young people who look out at the world and aren’t sure where things are going to go in the future. Now that they’ve been strengthened by the Holy Spirit, I do hope they will continue to practice their faith and get involved here at our parish as they head into their senior year of high school.
Also this year, our Director of Religious Education, Dee Zernick, has announced her retirement. Dee has served our parish faithfully for many years, first along with her husband and now on her own. We thank her for her many years of service, and wish her the best in her retirement and future endeavors.
Now that we’re in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and I can see our numbers for the year, I really want to say thank you to everyone for your support of your parish in 2019-2020. Considering we had a change in pastor through a bit of a tumultuous transition and we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, we did very well. I’m working along with our Finance Council toward getting all of the numbers in order so that we can soon have a full financial report and budget to present to the parish. As a whole, we did reasonably well, but since we began the year with a lot of uncertainty, there were a few expenses that were deferred, so they’re going to hit in this budget year, including getting the air conditioning fixed on the tabernacle side of the Church. I hope to have that all ready to present in the next few weeks.
With Mrs Zernick’s retirement, on Monday we’ll be posting for two positions, first, a new DRE (Director of Religious Education) to take over the Religious Ed program. Because of the time it takes to hire, in the next week or two, I’ll be putting out an online survey about our Religious Education program in the past and some potential directions we could take for the fall. That way, once our new DRE is hired, they’ll be better able to hit the ground running for the fall.
The second position is something we’ve needed for quite a while, a maintenance person to manage all the routine maintenance of our facility, and fix-it stuff that needs to happen around the Church. I’ve known we needed a maintenance person for a long time now, but I had to wait until now to see what we could afford.
Both positions will be for around 20 hours a week. If you happen to know someone who might be interested in either position, please encourage them to check out the full job description and posting. It will be on our website and the Diocesan website on Monday. Please also pray that we get some good, solid, qualified applicants.
In the meantime, thank you again to everyone who has already stepped up as a Eucharistic Minister to visit those unable to come to mass. It’s a wonderful grace to be able to bring Jesus to someone. We’re almost half-way to where we need to be. If you’re a confirmed Catholic and would like to help bring Jesus to someone, please give me a call!
God Bless, -Fr Matt
Happy Independence Day! It’s wonderful to celebrate our Independence day this year! I’d also like to congratulate our First Communion kids on making their first communion last Saturday Morning! This week coming, we’ll be celebrating Confirmation here at our parish with our 11th grade students. Every year, we celebrate the Fourth of July, First Communion, and Confirmation. Yet, I don’t think we’ve ever celebrated any of them quite like this. I’m very proud of our First Communion and of our Confirmation young people and their families. This hasn’t been the easiest year for them. Yet, here we are and we’re celebrating these things together. It’s good to celebrate and make the Eucharist the center of our faith. It’s good to see our young people confirmed in the Holy Spirit. It’s good to see people back in Church.
I don’t want to say too much this week, as because of the 4th of July holiday, our publishing deadline was way back on Friday, June 26th, and the way our world is going, so many things I would like say will probably be out of date by the time you read this.
Yet, I think it’s important to remember the Gospel. That’s one thing that will never change. I think we’ve all run through the series on being upset, frustrated, helpless, overwhelmed, and everything else this year. So it’s important that we hear Jesus’s words.
“Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
As long as we think we’re in control, we’re going to be constantly frustrated. When we stop, and realize we need to put ourselves in our Lord’s hands, do his work, prepare as best we can, and act with all the skill he gave us...when we’ve done that, we can rest, knowing that we don’t have to carry these burdens by ourselves. The creator of everything loves us, and will help take the weight off of our shoulders if we’re willing to put our pride aside and let him show us how.
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.