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Things to Consider: May Musings

I would like to draw your attention to a few things to consider in the coming days. Often the information that we produce comes out in piecemeal fashion, bits and pieces here and there in different posts and bulletin announcements. I thought I would do a brain dump here and see where it takes me.

Scripts, masks, and social distancing

We will have two masses in English and one in Spanish this weekend that are open to the public. I can’t stress the importance of vigilance in regard to keeping oneself and others healthy. We will only be as healthy as the least careful member of our community. That means we will follow the recommendations of the CDC, local health officials, state directives, and most immediately, the explicit instructions of Bishop McKnight. In order to enter the church, you must be wearing a mask or other appropriate face covering. There is a possibility that we will reach the occupancy limit that has been determined for our church at this time and will not be able to let more people in. We will be following a carefully coordinated routine to preserve social distancing. The distribution of communion will be especially challenging as we take the time to allow for appropriate spacing for standing in line and the reverent yet hygienic reception of communion. One admonishment to everyone that for some  might be a difficult request to honor:  no person should leave church immediately after communion and before you are directed to leave. All will return to their pews. It is the only way we can assure that folks are keeping social distancing.  

We need ushers!

We are in need of people who are willing to assist in being ushers at weekend masses. We need at least six trained ushers for each service to ensure that entering the church, finding a place, receiving communion, and exiting go smoothly. Please consider volunteering because  we can’t ask many of the usual hospitality ministers to fulfill this role. I appreciate all those on the worship commission and others who have assisted me in planning for public masses to resume.

Confirmation scheduling

I have worked with the confirmation team to arrange for the celebration of the sacrament. The communication of our plans will first go out to the confirmation students and their families. In these extraordinary times, confirmation will look a little different from what we are used to. This week we will work on scheduling first communions.

Zoom available for meetings

All the commissions have met in the past two weeks through the Zoom teleconferencing system. It was great to see and hear everyone. We will continue to meet through teleconferences for the foreseeable future. It is my hope that we extend this use of Zoom to as many different areas of our parish as possible. While the free version has great benefits, we have purchased a professional subscription to allow us to hold longer meetings and have better access for all. Please check with the office if you would like to have a small or large group meeting to share faith, fellowship, or educational opportunities.

Mother’s Day blessings!

 Mother’s Day is Sunday. It is extra special for me as it would have been my Mother’s 95th birthday. She was born on Mother’s Day so whenever these two coincided, it was extra special. And it was great because then I only had to buy her one gift! Our Lady of the Lake has typically given some token of our appreciation of the mothers in the congregation at the masses on the weekend. That is not possible this year. I will, however, offer the special blessing for all mothers, present and absent, and lead the community in praying for all our mothers. In this day and age especially, we must uphold the dignity and beauty of motherhood as one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed on humanity. We need to teach our children that motherhood is not a burden or an affliction, but the source of all life and blessings. Motherhood is beyond value. Motherhood is something that can’t be put into an equation to weigh cost and benefits as we do for other human endeavors. Thank you all our beloved mothers for saying yes to God and bringing life into the world.

Rectory rehab

I so cherish the wonderful home that my parishioners provide for me. I can remember first entering it six years ago and feeling like I was in a dream. It was the first time since I was fourteen years old that I didn’t live where I studied or worked!  Recent diocesan guidelines for parish rectories have required the Administration Commission to assess  the state of the rectory and ensure that it is well-cared for and meets specific standards. We have noted that there hasn’t been any significant updates to the house since it was first purchased over 25 years ago. Among other things, the original carpet is still present . The ceramic tile in the kitchen is breaking up. The walls have the original paint on them. The laminate is peeling from the countertops and pulling away from the walls. The patio doors do not offer sufficient thermal protection. The appliances are all reaching the limits of their life cycle.. There have been funds budgeted for this project for this year and going into next year and to wait longer will only increase the work we have to do. We have been getting bids on the rehab and will be sharing plans with the parish soon.

Long-range and pastoral planning

Finally a word about our long-range planning and the pastoral plan that Bishop McKnight has asked us to prepare. We have engaged Connell Architects of Columbia, MO, to look over the results of our parish survey and discussion where we identified the problems that we encounter in the use of our facility. We will work with them to devise a plan to assist us in fulfilling our mission as a parish. The pastoral planning process has been extended through the end of May in the parishes throughout the Diocese in response to the public health crisis that has affected us all. I have received the response of the many groups and individuals who took the time to meet in Lent and after and engage in this process. I will share the plan at the end of the month.