Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reaching Out To Those In Need

Hardly a day goes by without someone coming to the rectory door looking for assistance.  As you know, most of the assistance that we give to people is given through the Watertown Urban Mission, a great organization specifically missioned to help those in need.  Part of its work consists in providing all kinds of assistance.  The food that the parishes donate at Thanksgiving and at other times of the year is given to the Watertown Urban Mission.  However, I do keep a little bit of it to assist those families who may fall through the cracks and, for whatever the reason, may need food before Urban Mission is able to help.  The Mission has some very clear policies and procedures that it follows.  These policies are ultimately for the common good.  But, every now and then, there is a special need.
   The people of St. Anthony's have the custom of bringing food each first Sunday of the Month.  Beginning with December, instead of putting the food by the Mary shrine, I am asking that the food be placed in the area of the baptismal font.  Placing the food there will make it easier to transport later to Urban Mission.

The Light Is On For You

Advent - Season of Hope and Expectation

The best preparation for Christmas is Advent Prayer.  All of our preparations for Christmas are very important, but none can compare with our spiritual preparation.  The issue of The Word Among Us available at the doors of the churches is a wonderful aide to help us on our Advent journey.  The book contains the important scripture readings from each day at daily Mass during Advent.  For each reading there is an appropriate commentary geared to put us into the true Christmas spirit of Advent.
    Another great preparation would be to go to the news section of our parish website ( or and click on the link labeled Advent Reflections.  These reflections are written by Bishop Robert Barron and are guaranteed to put us into the right spirit of the season.
    Our celebration of Advent, indeed our preparation for Christmas, will be as good as we make it.  Come, Let Us Adore Him!

Hymnals - Breaking Bread

Both St. Patrick's and St. Anthony's are now experiencing new hymnals.  At St. Patrick's we have switched from The Heritage Missal to Breaking Bread.  The format is very much the same.  So, the transition is not as dramatic as it is for St. Anthony's.  At St. Anthony's, we have also switched from two books (Missalette and Music Issue) to Breaking Bread.  Something had to change at St. Anthony's because the printing company was no longer going to produce the smaller print Missalette and Music Issue.  All of their publications would be the easier to read larger print.  Also, Breaking Bread was chosen because it would contain everything that we needed and would need to be changed only once a year.  However, the racks in the pews were not the right size.  Also, some of the plastic racks had begun to break.  So, we have removed them.  The new ones should be here before Christmas, and we hope to have them installed in time for Christmas.  The new ones will be wood.  When they come, we may need some volunteers to help install them.  Stay tuned!

Shop for Christmas - Shop for the Parish

As you may know, the parish established a partnership with Amazon, the very popular online store.  If you access Amazon through the link on the parish homepage, you will be brought directly to Amazon.  After you logon, you will still have your regular shopping experience (including Amazon Prime) of Amazon PLUS 4% of your purchases will be given to the parish at no expense or cost to you.  This offer from Amazon is good throughout the year.  So,  please use this parish access to Amazon every time that you shop at Amazon.  Ask your friends and relatives to do the same.  This deal applies to anyone's purchases who entered Amazon through our parish website.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Stewardship and Stewardship Sunday

On this weekend, I will be speaking about stewardship and parish income. Our income in both parishes has significantly decreased over the past three years.

  • I have displayed the revenue for the past five years.  
  • Envelope income is the money that people have contributed to the parishes in an envelope or electronically or in some way that we are able to recognize the amount and the donor (e.g. a person writes their envelope number on the check).
  • Plate income is money placed in the basket on Sunday without an envelope or any way of knowing the source of the income.  
  • The total column represents envelope and plate added together.
  • A parish’s disposable income is basically envelope and plate, the money that can be counted upon each week to operate the parish.  Parishes like homes and families must budget and plan based on knowing how much income is available.
  • Extraordinary donations are always appreciated and often now fund what should be paid for from envelope and plate.  However, just as no family or business will budget based on unexpected income, so too a parish can budget responsibly only based on envelope and plate.
  • It is clear that income to both parishes has diminished over the past five years.  Some of the decrease can certainly be attributed to the passing away of generous parishioners or due to others who have moved.  I have no scientific method of determining the other causes for the decrease.
  • The downward trend must stop and be replaced with an increase in income.
  • If the downward trend is not reversed, then changes in the operation of the parishes will be required.  What would be affected if there is not an increase in income?  Here is what your donations currently fund:
    • Pastoral salaries
    • Catechetical programs
    • Subsidies to Immaculate Heart Central
    • Pastoral care
    • Reduction in energy use e.g. air conditioning and heating
    • Who knows what else
  • What must happen:
    • Envelope and electronic donors must look at their current giving and prayerfully determine whether a greater gift can be given weekly to the parish.  A simple question: When was the last time your income increased? When was the last time you increased your giving to the parish?
    • Envelope users should commit to making up their weekly donations when they are away and attend Mass at another parish.
    • Those currently not using envelopes should use envelopes.  There are two major reasons to use envelopes.  First, envelope use is a visible commitment to support the parish.  Second, envelope use prompts donors to give more.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Souls

In the Month of November, we remember our beloved deceased praying that they be joined in heaven with God. November 2 is the celebration of All the Faithful Departed or All Souls.  There are envelopes in your packets.  Whatever donation you put in these envelopes will be used to celebrate Masses for the Faith Departed during the year.  Likewise, any names that you write on these envelopes will be remembered during the Masses celebrated in November.