Jottings from Fr. J.J.

Do Dogs go to Heaven?– They will when I’m done with ‘em. Cats, birds, fish, iguanas, gerbils, and every other pet as well. Why? We are having our annual Pet Blessing this Sunday, October 4th, which so happens to be the feast of St. Francis, that good old patron of animals. It will begin just outside the church at 2 p.m. If the weather does not cooperate, it will be in the narthex. Bring your little critters and we will ask the Lord’s blessing upon them for their health and protection.

By the way, nine years ago on Friday, October 2, a little black lab came into my life. The rest is history. Andy, the ideal dog for a Pastor in ministry, died almost three months ago and I have been praying that the Lord would provide the right little companion for me. I have made many contacts, i.e., Leader Dog, Dog Rescues, Humane Society, etc. Last Wednesday, on the feast of St. Jerome, a 2 ½ year old cocker spaniel came into my life.  He is a rescue dog that was to be euthanized, and my brother the vet did surgery on his eyes and gave him to me.  I have already fallen in love with “Jerry” (St. Jerome, get it?) so, please pray for him and I that he will be the right fit for me, for you, the parish, and for the zillion and one kids he’ll have contact with.

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY vs. university of michigan– First off, whichever team wins this weekend: Congrats. Second, congrats to Fr. Mark, our parish council chairperson, Mike Hopkins, and a fellow parishioner, Mark Pipas. Why? They played in the Sacred Heart Seminary Desert Classic Golf Outing last Monday and not only did they golf well, they took first place. How do these two seemingly unconnected events, a college football game and a golf outing, correlate? Well, if the college team that wins wears maze and blue, it will cost the parish a great deal of money because we will have to widen the doorways simply to allow Fr. Mark’s swollen cranium to  get through. But seriously, congrats to the St. Anastasia team for representing so well. Also, pray for me. I do have to live with Fr. Mark, and my patience can only hold out so long!? Go Spartans.

Some more kudos to parishioners– Steve and Ann Toth will receive the Troy Distinguished Citizen Award on October 14th. This is presented to Troy residents who have made a significant contribution through involvement in local organizations. One of those many organizations is their parish: St. Anastasia Parish. Way to go Steve and Ann, for using your God-given gifts to serve! Congratulations.

Keep the old guys chugg’in along– At the convocation for priests a few weeks ago, a gentleman stood up who had been ordained by Cardinal Mooney. For those of you who are unaware, Cardinal Mooney died in 1958. That means that this man has been serving in the priesthood for more than 50 years. A diocesan priest finds his primary means of support coming from the parish community within which he serves. The retirement years can be difficult. They must rely on minimal Social Security benefits and their pension from the Priests’ Retirement Fund. The Fund is 25 million dollars under-funded! As you read this, there are 129 senior priests who need these benefits to cover medical services, prescriptions, and gaps in their Medicare coverage. Our parish is asked to help remedy this short fall by giving $30,000 each year. So we don’t have a shortfall, I would like to invite you to take one of the envelopes you received last week and make a donation. If you already made a gift, thank you. Know how much I and the parish truly appreciate it.

While I’m on the topic of donating . . .– We are almost there in hitting our CSA assessment of $237,000. We only have $10,000 more to go. If we do not raise it, that $10,000 has to come out of our operating budget. I really hate having to cut a position, or a ministry because of this shortfall. If you did not yet hand in your CSA envelope, every little bit helps. Please hand it in. How about a little Catholic guilt? If we do not make it, this will be the first time in my 10 years of pastoring that the target was not achieved. If that pulled your heart strings – thank you.

God bless,

Fr. J.J.