Jottings from Fr. J.J.

Like a engine up a steep hill, we are movin’ along with CSA.  We began the first week of Lent with a target of $243,866.  Now more than half pledged – we only have $86,000 to go. I ask that if you have not yet given in your pledge, to please do so (even if it is $0). This will prevent us from contacting you individually and having to send out a letter.  It saves on postage too. Thanks.

The Pew Research Center’s statistical study states that right now we have 262 active priests in 240 parishes. The projection for 2023 is 188 active priests.

In the next ten years we can predict, based on past experience, that 50 priests will die and even more will retire. We can see how many priests are now between the ages of 60 and 69. So it seems very clear that there will be 28.2% fewer priests ten years from now (that is, from 262 to 188).  Across the archdiocese, the average priest-to-people ratio is 1 to 2,839 parishioners, compared with 1 priest per 2,135 Catholics 10 years ago. Already, roughly 40 priests in the archdiocese work at two or more parishes.  That’s up from 2006, when 25 priests did so.  As you are well aware, I’m here by myself until our two new associates arrive in July.  We have about 10,000 people in our parish (3,300 families).

What is my point with all this? First, we have a Vocation Chalice that we hand out every weekend.  It was once owned by a parishioner’s uncle who is now deceased.  The parishioners wish is that it will eventually go to our parish’s next vocation.  Until then, it is to be passed from family to family to do as Christ said: “Ask the Master of the harvest to send more workers.”  For some reason, folks seem hesitant to take the vocation chalice.  I invite you to take it home (with its prayer cards) and do as Jesus said.

Second, of the priests working in metro Detroit parishes, the average age is 65, and 20% are near or above the retirement age of 70. That means we have to show a great deal of appreciation to our retired clergy who continue to work.

A few weeks ago we hosted an ecumenical group here at St. Anastasia for the National Day of Prayer.  I want to share some comments from one of our non-Catholic attendees:  “WOW! Last night’s program was wonderful!… the welcoming of guests, assistance with ‘stage’ detail, electronics, food, prop set-up, and clean up…You made the unexpected guest presenter feel welcome. . . The help from St. Anastasia volunteers ensured a smooth operation.  Guests were warmly received.  Folks lingered and mingled. I heard several remarks that it was the best National Day of Prayer ever.”

Way to go St. Anastasia!  I’m proud to pastor here!

God bless,
Fr. J.J.