Parish Update 7-12-2020
Looking Ahead: Zoom Teleconferences In these times of reduced personal contact, all of us are quickly learning new ways to connect with people and share information. The parish has purchased a Zoom professional subscription to allow us to use video conferences for commission meetings and other activities. I am very grateful to everyone who has spent the time to figure this out and participate. We’ve come a long way quickly. Our first Zoom meetings required about fifteen minutes for everyone to get the technical aspects figured out. Now it takes less than five minutes to see everyone’s faces and hear their voices. I have found these meetings to be very productive, but most important, very affirming as we reinforce our common mission. Kelly Hamrin, Mary Wagemann, and I all have administration accounts to schedule meetings. If your parish-sponsored activity could make use of Zoom teleconferences, please don’t hesitate to contact us to set up meetings. Commission chairs, commission ministry coordinators, catechists, book clubs, prayer groups, and study groups could all benefit by this technology and we will assist in its use.
Parish Website I can’t repeat this enough: we have been so blessed that the Diocese of Jefferson City provided us a new platform for our web site. This upgrade was long needed and we got things up and running just in time for the pandemic. Mary Wagemann and Marilee Poulter have been doing an awesome job of building it out, tweaking the details, and putting out fresh content. We still have some work to do in getting all the information we need a home on the site, but the framework is present and the rest is just getting the data in. The web site is the primary tool we have now of reaching parishioners, especially with news that requires immediate attention, for example a change in the mass schedule. Staff and commission members have been using the website to share stories and observations in blog posts. We are always ready to accept posts from parishioners, especially views about your daily life of faith. The more we can all share our stories, the better we will get to know each other and grow in our mutual support. There are many aspects of the website that are worth exploring in detail. But one part is getting a little more attention these days. In the About Us > People tab, we are setting up a memorial page to acknowledge those parishioners and friends who have died. Since we do not have a cemetery in our parish, nor any permanent memorial spot, it is very important that we do something to fulfill the spiritual work of mercy in praying for the dead. It may be a simple detail, but as the years will go by, this memorial page will be constant blessing to us all, strengthening the bond between the living and the dead, the whole communion of saints.
Weekly Bulletin and Email Contact Kelly Hamrin has been composing the weekly bulletin. Since printing and distributing a paper bulletin just isn’t appropriate during these times, our bulletin is mainly electronic. Kelly and Mary post the bulletin each week for you to download and read. All the past issues of the bulletin are archived and easily retrieved. In addition to the web site location, we email the bulletin out to quite a few parishioners who have requested copies to be emailed. If you would like to have a copy of the bulletin emailed to you each week, please contact email@example.com and we will put you on the distribution list. It would be great if we had the email addresses and good contact numbers for all our parishioners so we can notify people of issues that may be time sensitive.
Religious Education Having correct contact information is especially important for our religious education efforts. I know Vicki and the catechists have worked hard to keep communication going in these past months. Contact information is not static the way it used to be with the single land line in every house. That means families need to notify the parish when phone numbers and emails change. In the coming weeks, we will be contacting all families with children of catechetical age to begin planning for the 2020-2021 religious education year. I want to assure everyone that we are having religious education for our children starting in September. It may look a bit different from previous years, but our parish will insure that the religious formation of our children does not stop, even if regular classroom instruction can’t take place. We need catechists, assistants, and parents to step up and make sure that every child has time set aside for prayer, study, and faith sharing every day. With the changes at the School of the Osage for the coming academic year, all of us need to work together to reinforce learning and growth for our young people. Please find this week’s communication from Vicki Irsik, our religious education director, regarding plans for the virtual learning Mondays that School of the Osage has planned. I look forward to this opportunity to make a difference in the education of our youth. If you are new to the parish and have children of catechetical age, please contact Vicki to make sure your children are included in our plans. And as always, if any of your children have not had the Sacraments that are appropriate for their age, please let us know so we can provide this grace for them.
Parish Feast Day: The Queenship of Mary Last year we inaugurated parish patronal feast in the Queenship of Mary on August 22nd. Since it is a patronal feast day, we will transfer it to the weekend Masses instead of 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time. Two significant activities that assisted us in preparing for the feast were the 33 Days to Morning Glory, consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the parish novena that we celebrated in different households leading up to the feast. The Education Commission and the Worship Commission are once again planning programs to assist us in preparing for the feast day. Linda Bukalski and Kelly Hamrin are contact persons for those interested in doing the 33 day retreat beginning Monday, July 20 in preparation for a personal consecration to the Blessed Mother. God’s grace surrounds us at all times, but often we don’t recognize it. The 33 Days program will guide you in opening your heart and mind to the signs of God’s favor all around you. It concludes with a personal consecration to Mary where you entrust your holiness to her protection and guidance. For those who have done the retreat before, there are other stages in the journey of binding your heart more closely to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This year we will offer Consecration to St. Joseph as an additional personal retreat for the men of our parish. I will lead this group myself. I invite all the men of the parish to go through this retreat experience with me. You will receive a book and a workbook to assist you in your daily devotions and study. We will meet through Zoom teleconference at least once each week during the 33 days so share our journey together. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not be able to host novenas in private homes this year because of the pandemic, so all the devotions will take place at church for the novena and we will live stream each service.
Help for You The Social Concerns Commission continues to discern ways we can all assist each other and those in need. We are especially concerned for folks who need to stay isolated for their protection. Here is a reminder to continue to check in on our neighbors and family members who might be feeling a the stress of prolonged isolation. Giving a friendly phone call or note of concern and care could make the difference for someone. We note that many people do not have the resources they need to get things done around the house, like moving furniture, doing some special cleaning, or attending to items that need repair. Some folks are concerned about calling professional help in, either through an abundance of caution or financial restraints. We should be ready to help each other in any need. The Social Concerns Commission will facilitate connecting resource to need. We urge anyone who needs assistance of any kind to please contact the parish office and begin finding the resources to help you. Sometimes it might be just advice on whom to call for professional help or just wondering what to do. We will do all that is proper and required to keep people healthy and safe, but we also know that some things are getting neglected and need attention before it becomes serious. We are at the stage of the pandemic where the economic, emotional, and personal resources are getting stressed. The vast majority of us are healthy and strong and we need to bring that strength to those in need. Please let us know how we can assist you. 573-365-3341 or email@example.com.