The bulletin last weekend imparts some hope that parishioners will be able to work with leadership to assure the health and vitality of our parish community, including our churches.
A generous gift from a parishioner enabled St. Mary's to build a new bathroom. Deacon Dean said, "The gift inspired some further thoughts on doing smaller, incremental improvements at the church. Some parishioners may want to give very directed contributions to make specific improvements. We are in the process of prioritizing these and sizing up the costs. Some of these could include redoing the entrance ways to our church, improving and expanding the child care area, fixing the north side stained glass window and ...."
This is lovely to hear and it blends very well with this article from Vatican Insider, quote:
"A diocese in difficulty does well to reduce the number of parishes, but must maintain churches and chapels where they exist, perhaps entrusting the care to families of the faithful who are willing to look after them and keep them open. Then on Sundays it is easy to send a priest to celebrate Mass."
At last year's community meeting, parishioners came together to brainstorm ideas on how to proceed with the issues in our parish. Go here and here. As you can see, the idea to do" directed contributions to make specific improvements" was one of the suggestions. This really is good news. In fact, we are hearing from parishioners of the desire to do just such a directed contribution to repair the steps at St. Vincent's.
That said, it must be noted that in his article, Deacon Dean did not use the plural word 'churches' but only church, and only in reference to St. Mary's. And, in his article titled "Update on St. Vincent Church Property", Deacon Dean says, "In light of this new development, our Parish Pastoral Council, Finance Council, and Facilities Council will work together to develop the best plan to ensure the strength of our parish community."
Surely he does mean to include all parishioners and not just the selected council members who do not have decision-making powers. It would be heart-breaking if parish leadership continues to use closed sessions and secret meetings, and fails to follow diocesan guidelines for communication and input from the parish faithful.