All this week, I’ve been busy calling people. Thank you to everyone who’s answered my calls so far and agreed to be in the drawing for parish council. I’m happy to say that we had 28 people nominated, and it really is a very nice cross-section of our parish. The ages ranged from around 19 to 80, with men, women, people from pretty much all of the former parishes, younger people with kids, retired folks, and folks from all sorts of different backgrounds. I’m very excited to get things together and I do think it will be a nice group. It’s taking me quite a while to get everyone called, so I’m looking at drawing the names on November 1st.
As I said before, there will be 6 names drawn, and 4 appointed to make sure we have nice representation, and 1 youth representative. I’m very much looking forward to having a stable group of parishioners to help in our decision-making and planning here at Prince of Peace.
Meanwhile, we’ve been very busy up in the garage! I want to thank the Knights of Columbus for a generous donation toward the purchase of power tools for John. We’re setting up his workspace in the garage and it really feels good to be getting things cleaned up & functioning. We’ve been testing a lot of older appliances that had been used for the festivals in the past, moving them around, getting rid of what doesn’t work, and getting what does work into more useful places.
We’re also getting into high-gear for our Turkey Dinner. Every day we’re seeing a few more baskets come in. All the surfaces in both kitchens have been professionally cleaned. I’d like to thank everyone who helped Saturday morning with beginning to clean the hall and move around some things. It’s been a while since we’ve given it a good cleaning, and especially with everything going on with COVID, I wanted to make sure that we had everything nice and clean for the dinner. For those who weren’t able to join us Saturday morning, the reason we’re having two times was that we moved all the tables in the hall to one side to scrub the floor, the next time, after it’s dry, we’ve got to put them on the other side to catch the other side.
Please also check out the upcoming cleaning and work schedule for preparing the Turkey Dinner. We’d certainly love to have your help. I know after my first experience with dinners here, I was so very impressed with how many people turned out to help us prepare these wonderful meals. I know so many of us are anxious to get out to do things, and with our nice clean working areas in the hall, I’m looking forward to seeing and talking to all of you as we prepare for our big dinner.
For the dinner itself, please check out on page 5 in of this bulletin and tell everyone you know! We’ve posted a Facebook event on our page so for those of you who are on Facebook, please help us get the word out and share it. Please also make sure to tell all your friends that the dinner is on, it’ll be all drive-through or take-out, and that we have additional times to look at the baskets for those who want to avoid the crowds.
Finally, as I’m sure we’re all aware, the election is coming up in a little more than a week. Please make sure to vote. As a Church, as a rule, we don’t officially endorse any candidates, it’s been that way for generations and for good reason. The Church teaches about moral issues. Certainly some issues, like the Right to Life, are more important than other issues, but at some level, no matter what the election, no matter what the situation, there are not perfect candidates, so rather than play the game and be seen as endorsing views that the Catholic Church doesn’t teach, the Church simply speaks about what we believe as Catholics, believing that all of you are smart enough to look at where the candidates stand on what we believe and make your own decisions helping to protect our ability to live according to our faith, and to share the goodness of Jesus and His Gospel with the world.
I know a lot of emphasis is on the presidential election right now and it’s dominating everything, but I’d encourage you to read the voter guides, realize that as important as the presidential election is, it’s not the only election going on next week. Please take some time to read up on ALL the candidates for all the various offices you’ll be voting for and know where they stand with regard to what we believe. With that in mind, I’ll be posting our Diocesan Voter Guide on the parish website. I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard quite a bit already about the presidential race, but please read up on the others ones. It’s so important that we not just vote, but that we know just who and what we’re voting for. One of our parishioners passed on a prayer for the election, I found it worth sharing. It’s at the back inside cover of the bulletin, right after the music. Please remember that no matter what, we need to continue to pray for our nation.
Finally, next Sunday is All Saints Day, which means Monday, November 2nd will be All Souls Day. Due to some COVID restrictions, I won’t be heading to the Prison on Monday for All Souls Day. That means we’ll be able to have a 6:30pm Mass at the Church. At that mass, we’ll remember in a special way all those who have passed in this previous year and light a candle in their memory. As we were only just starting to get things in order this time last November, I apologize in advance if I miss any names of people from our parish who passed in the last year. We should have the names in next week’s bulletin, so if I miss someone, please give us a call before Monday’s Mass.
Please also remember your All Souls Day envelopes next weekend. They have a space for additional names. Please be sure to mark on them any other souls you’d like to pray for during the Month of November. After they’re counted, we’ll place those envelopes in a basket by the altar all month.
I hope all of you have a wonderful week, and I hope to see many of you this week as we get our hall cleaned up and begin to get ready to cook those Turkeys!
It must be Turkey Season because our parish is starting to spin into motion getting ready for our big Turkey Dinner on November 8th! It’s hard to believe that back in March, just barely the weekend after our dinner was the great shutdown. Baskets are rapidly coming into the office, we just had our 2nd planning meeting, and the plans for the dinner are really starting to take shape.
It’s going to look a little bit different than previous years. All the food will be take-out, and there will be a drive-through available. If you’d like to take advantage of the drive-through, simply begin on St. Stans Ave between our Church and St. John Byzantine up to the corner, turn left onto St. Elizabeth Street between the Church and the upper parking lot and you’ll see a canopy set up. The Dinners will be available for sale there under the canopy.
For the basket party and walk-through dinners, just enter the Church hall through the doors on the font side of the Church. At last count, we have just about 70 baskets and they’re all wonderful. If you’re a little cautious about the crowds, please take advantage of one of the alternative basket party times.
As we get ready for the dinner, I do have to ask all of you for a little bit of extra help. We’ll post our normal work schedule for kitchen cooking help next weekend, but right now we could really use you help with cleaning. Both of our kitchens have been basically closed up since our last dinner back in March, so they really need a good scrub before we get to the dinner. Typically, in the past we’ve gotten help from the inmates at Cambria County Jail to help scrub the floors. With COVID, we’re not able to get that help this year, so I’m asking all of you for your help. We’ll need both folks able to help scrubbing floors, wiping and cleaning tables, dishes, and kitchen equipment, as well as people able to help move the tables and other kitchen equipment around to clean under and behind. We’ll provide all the cleaning materials, but we really need help making it happen. We’ll gather in the Church hall at around 9AM next Saturday October 24th. Thank you in advance for being willing to help us get the hall ready for the dinner. I know I’m really looking forward to some Turkey Dinner and to start putting my tickets in for all these beautiful baskets!
This week, we also had our Cemetery Committee Meeting. I’m really pleased with how things are coming along with our mapping. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but we can start to see a real pattern coming together. We’re using a drone to rebuild our cemetery maps from aerial photographs. Those completed maps will then be used in conjunction with our new cemetery software to help us get all of our cemetery data organized. I don’t think even I really grasped just how big our cemeteries really are until I realized that just at Holy Cross, each section is at least 25 rows with 50 graves per row, that’s around 1,250 graves, and there’s 3 of those sections just at Holy Cross. Multiply that by 5 cemeteries, and it’s a lot of information to get into order. I really want to thank everyone who has been helping so far. I think we’re starting to get a system down, so if you like puzzles and you’d like to help, either here in the office looking at maps and entering information into a computer, or by walking the rows with a clipboard, please let me know, at this point, I believe we’ve got a plan and we’re ready! I also want to thank the extra parishioners who came by for the cemetery committee meeting just to see what was going on. I know those meeting can get a little dry and boring at times, but remember, it’s easy to be faithful and engaged when things are exciting, but in life things aren’t always exciting. I find it’s exactly when we keep at it through those dry and boring moments that we can see real long-term improvements and progress happen. So thank you to all of you who have shown such interest.
Finally, this will be the last weekend to put names in for our parish council nominations. So far, we had 25 nominations which is wonderful. After this weekend, I’ll start calling people to see who is willing to accept their nomination. If you get a phone call, please be generous with your time and remember, you’re being called because someone thought you would do a good job.
By our new bylaws, we will draw 6 members from the nominations. Normally we’ll draw 2 each year and they’ll serve a 3 year term, but since we are just getting started again, we’ll draw all 6 and then those 6 will then draw for 2 one-year, 2 two-year, and 2 three-year terms. Then, once those 6 are drawn, I’ll appoint 4 additional members along with one youth representative for a total of 11 on the council. I plan to take the appointments from the nominations, making sure that there’s some good representation of the various groups at our parish. If, for example all the names were men, I’d appoint a few women. If they’re all older folks, we’ll appoint some younger folks, etc. I hope to get the phone calls completed in the next week or so. As soon as that’s completed, we’ll have the drawing at a Sunday Mass. I can’t say how much I’m looking forward to having a real representative group of the parish so that we can move forward with a lot of planning at our parish and know that we really are making these important decisions and plans together as a parish.
God Bless You Now and Always,
We’ve had quite the busy week here at the parish. First of all, our sympathies to the family of John Frontino whose funeral was this Friday. Please keep their family in your prayers as with all families in our parish who lose a loved one.
It’s been pretty busy up at our cemeteries this week, with a few committal services, marker installations, and people inquiring about plots. Although it’s been a lot, I’m glad to have gotten to work with some wonderful families. I know that many of us aren’t always ready to face those sorts of decisions, but having worked with many families, losing someone is stressful enough, before adding all the complications of purchasing a lot at the time of death. It’s good when all those arrangements are already taken care of so that the family can focus more completely on what’s going on in their lives at that moment. If you’d like to reserve a plot, just call us at the office. All the pricing information and regulations are available on our website.
I also want to apologize to anyone who attempted to attend our last cemetery meeting. We had scheduled the meeting, and the night of the meeting, nearly all of our members had something come up and we had to cancel. I tried to watch for folks who might be coming, but I know I missed at least one person who contacted me wondering where everyone was at. We’ve rescheduled the meeting for this Thursday, October 15th at 7pm. If you’d like to hear more about how the new maps are coming along or even help, you’re certainly welcome to attend.
Over in our new maintenance department, John has been starting to get his feet wet here. We’ve been cleaning out the garage getting prepared to set up a bit of a workspace for him. We’ve already cleaned out quite a bit and over the next couple weeks, we plan on moving some of the older tables and chairs as well as some of the older refrigerators that have been sitting there for a while. It really feels good to be looking around and seeing these spaces start to be cleaned up, moving them into good working order. We will have some costs as we get his area all set-up with the necessary tools, but as we do, I’m excited to be able to start to get a lot of things fixed up around the parish that have been needing attention for a long time.
Meanwhile, plans are in the works for our Turkey Dinner coming up in a few weeks. After meeting, we have a couple big announcements to make about how things are going to work this year in light of COVID restrictions.
The biggest change is that there will be no eat-in option for the dinner. Everything will be take-out. Some folks have asked about the price change; the cost change is simply due to the cost of the take-out containers. On the day of the dinner we will have both a drive-through and a walk-through option.
If you’d like to walk-through, everything will function just like you’re used to. Simply park in either parking lot, walk through the hall doors down into to the hall as normal.
The drive-through will be held on Elizabeth Street just behind the Church. As we get closer to the dinner, I’ll be putting a map in the bulletin to show everyone how things will work. We simply wanted to let anyone who has concerns about going down into the hall know that a drive-through option would be available.
For the Basket Raffle, TV and 50/50 Raffle tickets, first of all, thank you to everyone who has contributed a basket so far, please keep them coming! In order to reduce the number of people in the hall, we’re going to offer additional times to participate in both the Basket Raffle and the other chances. They will be set up in the part of the hall where people would normally eat. You will be welcome to come into the hall first to participate in the Basket Raffle portion, then get into the dinner take-out line when you are ready.
To provide additional times for those who want to participate in the basket raffle, but are not comfortable with crowds, we will not draw the basket, TV & 50/50 tickets until Sunday, November 15th after the 11am Mass. At that time, the drawing will be livestreamed. Please watch the Turkey Dinner Page in the bulletin and on our website for all the times and for more information.
Finally, we had our first meeting with our family-centered Catechesis group for religious education. It’s a bit of a different model than we’re used to, but it’s one had been around since the earliest days of the Church. It’s simply helping our families live as good, solid, prayerful, Catholic families and share their faith with their children. Please continue to pray for all families taking part in our religious education programs, both parents and children.
May God Bless you now and always.
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.