Jottings from Fr. J.J.

Changing Lives Together
We had some wonderful gatherings this past week with Archbishop Vigneron and his assistant, Bishop Michael Byrnes. They spoke about the mission that we all have and the vision of what Changing Lives Together is all about. I am grateful to so many of you for taking the time to come. We had opportunity for Q and A, which was very positive and clarifying. There was an excellent spirit. A couple things came up that I thought might be helpful. I would like to point out that the targets for the parishes throughout the Archdiocese are set at 90% of the annual offertory collection (Sunday and holidays). For us here at St. Anastasia, that target is then $1,300,000. There is no penalty if we do not reach it. In other words, unlike CSA, we do not have to dip into our operating budget if it is not reached. We keep 70% of that. That means if we reach our target, $910,000 is used to do what we want with. That is why I want you to “Dream Big”, so we can figure out how we will utilize it here. In the next few weeks you will be able to let me and the staff know what you want. If we raise any amount over the target, we get to keep that as well for our wants and needs.

We have about a million dollars outstanding on our loan from the Archdiocese. Parishes with a loan apply 75% of the money we   receive from Changing Lives Together to apply to our loan balance. We have been making quarterly payments on the principal and interest of our loan of $41,000 ($164,000 annually). This comes directly out of our operating budget. Given that the Changing Lives Together pledge period is three years, given that we do well in reaching our target, and given that we continue to make the quarterly loan payments, we will be debt free by mid-year 2014. Imagine having all that extra income to apply to our ministries, outreach, and to making our worship space more comfortable and efficient. Please keep praying and working toward our mission. St. A’s will simply grow stronger and stronger in our mission to serve the Lord.

Is it me, or does Deacon Ron look different? 
First, it is not you, and second, that isn’t  Deacon Ron. If you missed the blurb in last week’s bulletin, newly ordained Deacon Don Baross has been assigned to serve with us here at St. Anastasia. We now have Deacon Ron and Deacon Don. Sure it will be confusing, but it will be great having him serve with us.  I have known him for four years, and we are greatly blessed. The Second Vatican Council teaches that deacons, strengthened by sacramental grace, serve the people of God in the diaconia of liturgy, word and charity, in communion with the Bishop and his presbyterate (Lumen Gentium, no. 29). That same Council also provided for the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate as an expression of the needs and desires of Christian communities, as a driving force of the Church’s service toward the local Christian communities, and as a sign or sacrament of Christ the Lord Himself, who “came not to be served, but to serve.”  We are very blessed, since, with God’s help, both  Deacon Don and Deacon Ron will continue to faithfully exercise this important ministry for us here.

With Changing Lives Together, and the Convocation falling in all at once, we have not had an official party to welcome Deacon Don, YET. We will, but until then, please make him feel at home and give him a gracious St. A’s welcome.

We Need Your Help 
“When I was grieving, you comforted me.” Those famous words of our Lord should all ring in our ears. We have a ministry to help folks who are experiencing a loss, by providing food on the day of the funeral. Are you someone who likes to organize gatherings? Then this may be the ministry for you. We are currently very short of Team Members.

What is a Team Member, you ask? They are on call for a month at a time. Each person on the team takes a turn being the “Captain” by taking care of the organizing and shopping for the meat and other items needed for the meal. Others help by calling for food dishes, and your team will be there on the day of the funeral to help set up, serve and clean up.

As someone who recently lost my Dad, it would have been great to have a team like that to help my family. Please, help your fellow parishioners. Contact our Christian Service Coordinator, Kim Houseman at (248) 689-8380, Ext. 112.

God bless,
Fr. J.J.