Tuesday, July 3, marks the one year anniversary since I became pastor here at Our Lady of Lourdes. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for welcoming me into the parish, into this community, and into your lives. Being a pastor, and being your pastor here, brings me great joy. I’ve often said that it takes me a full year to really settle in at a new parish, because you need to experience the entire liturgical year and all of the seasons with the Church. Now that I’ve been here a year, I can say that I’m even happier to be here than I was when I first got here.
We’ve had a lot of changes over the past year as a parish. The construction on the new Hall, or Parish Community Center (PCC), was really just getting underway when I arrived, they broke ground just a few months before I got here. We got to see the foundation get poured, the frame go up, the walls go in, and everything start to take shape. Archbishop Aymond came out in January to bless the new building, and we finally got to move in in March. It took some people a few weeks to realize that the offices had moved from the Rectory (which is now only my residence) to the PCC, and Fedex still sometimes makes deliveries to the Rectory. The new building has allowed us to restart the Nifty Fifty group, move parish meetings out of the Church, have nicer receptions, and have better facilities for CCD classes and youth ministry.
We’ve also seen some small changes to the liturgical life of the parish. You may not have noticed if you haven’t been directly involved, but we reworked the parish guidelines for Funerals and Weddings last November, and we just recently reworked the parish guidelines for Infant Baptisms. These are in the handouts rack in Church and on the parish website in the Sacraments section. I’ll take this opportunity to clear up a common misunderstanding. We don’t charge a fee for funerals or baptisms for use of the Church or for the priest, although there is a musicians fee if you choose to have a cantor. Anything you want to give to the Church for those services is purely voluntary, and it all goes to the Church’s operating fund. We’re also getting ready to do training sessions for all liturgical ministers, including altar servers, lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and ushers, not least of all because we have a new deacon in the parish, Dcn. Craig.
In this coming year, I want to continue to push the importance of the sacraments in the life of the Church, especially going to Mass every weekend and regular Confession. I’m also going to start putting more emphasis on devotions, like the rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and novenas.
Finally, we’re blessed to have a lot of young families and children in the parish. Last year we had 125 kids enrolled in religion classes from 1st to 11th grade, which is fantastic. As a parish, I think we need to focus on welcoming these young families, children, and teenagers into the community and offering programs for them.
As I said in the beginning, I’m happy to be in such a lively, devoted, and close-knit church, and I pray that we continue to grow as one family in Christ.
Next Week: Fr. Bryan Recommends
Fr. Bryan became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes on July 3, 2017. Read his bio here.