Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As I mentioned in my letter last week, we recently had very important events in our parish. I would like to give you an update:
First meeting of the parishes that began the process of collaborative on June 1st. All the pastors of parishes becoming collaboratives had a meeting with their parochial vicars at the pastoral center. At this meeting, a team from the archdiocese gave us an overview of the whole process of collaboration. Because our parish will not be working closely with another parish, also known as a “stand alone” parish, our process will be easier. I will be attending more meetings to learn more about how to lead the parish in this process. A group will be created that will be working on a strategic pastoral plan to be implemented in our parish. This will be a long-term project. The team will be assembled by December, and the members themselves will also attend some formation meetings. Then we will be working on writing a plan to be implemented in the parish focusing on vocations, evangelization, strengthening the parish and making disciples. We will be hosting some information sessions and some training in the parish opened to everyone.
Our Parish Council met on Monday, June 17th, to inform all the members about the latest events in our parish. We began by meditating on the Gospel reading that was read two weeks ago, the feeding of the multitude. Then we went over the main events that have happened this year. I gave an update on the fire restoration, the situation of the school, the departure of Fr. Andrea and the coming of Fr. Przemek, multilingual events, Brazilian Festival and the search for a new Music Director. Then we moved on to speak about the future of our parish mainly the process of collaborative and hiring a youth minister. We spoke a lot about the need to improve communication. We are currently changing our website to make it more secure and user friendly. We are also looking into adopting an App or program to facilitate the communication between the parish and the parishioners. Finally, we spoke about some initiatives that would be good to have in our parish: ministry for the elderly, young adult group, an evening of praise and worship with adoration, a post-baptism program, and having a School mass every month. We concluded the meeting talking about the need to strengthen the parish council and set terms for each member. Our next meeting will be on August 16th.
The following day we had a meeting with the school commission (school board). New members were appointed and introduced to the commission. Now we have 12 members, in addition to the priests and school staff. We will be publishing a little bio of each member so that everyone gets to know who they are. After a brief overview of the past, Mr. Pablo Martinez, the school principal, gave a report of what was done in the first month under his leadership and the vision that he has for the school. Enrollment was the main focus, especially looking for alternative ways to bring more students to our school. We are also looking at different ways to provide financial help to students in need. We began visiting some businesses and approaching individuals to see if someone would sponsor one child who wants to have a Catholic Education, or contribute to pay part of a child’s tuition. Much was done to continue to improve our Curriculum and we are in the final stages of the planning of the new Science/STEM Lab. Hopefully in July we will begin the work. We concluded the meeting by creating new subcommittees dividing the work on Enrollment, Curriculum, Religion, and Finances. Our next meeting will be July 8th.
I would like to thank all those who supported and helped our Brazilian Festival once again. It was a great evening filled with people, games and great food. A special word of gratitude to our volunteers and our organization committee who worked so hard for the great success. Another great result was our raffle. We almost sold out of all the 1,400 tickets we had. All together, we were able to raise between $55,000-$60,000. All of that will go towards our restoration fund. Once again, THANK YOU.
This weekend everyone is welcome to take a peek at the restoration work that is going on in the upper church. Two weeks ago all the scaffolding came down as we finished the cleaning and the painting of the ceiling. Last week the last pews were taken out for sanding and refinishing. They will also get new padding. Now we are finalizing the choice of the floor before we begin the work to change the floor. Ideally we will finish the new floor by early September so that we will be able to install the new pews. All the work is planned to be done by November 1st. As soon as our new website starts working, we will begin advertising the online giving of the restoration fund. In the meantime, there are green envelopes available at the back of the chapel if anyone would like to make a contribution to the fund. Any donation can also be mailed to the parish office. Please keep us in your prayers so that everything goes smooth and on schedule.
Father Steven Clemence