From Our Pastor ~ March 9, 2014

Dear Good People of Saint Mary,

Our Parish Mission with Fr. Dennis Corrado already begins next weekend! Fr. Dennis will join us for all the Masses next weekend, then with a special talk on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm. Our annual 40 Hours’ Devotions will also be underway next weekend from Sunday night to Tuesday night, so it will be a time of real prayer and growth. Please note that we have changed the Masses to 6:30pm on Monday and Tuesday evenings in order to schedule both 40 Hours’ Masses and Father’s Mission Talks. Please mark your calendars, sign up in the church vestibule for a time of prayer in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and don’t miss these talks.

The topic this year will be forgiveness. I was told about Fr. Dennis by a music director friend of mine in Connecticut last year. She said that he came and preached all the weekend Masses and the word slowly got out. On Monday night, there were about 200 people, on Tuesday their church was full. On Wednesday they had to put up video screens in the hall for the crowds (their church is relatively small). He is a very dynamic and genuine, challenging speaker and brings a great opportunity for our growth and reflection in making this Lent a season of real conversion and prayer. I encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Thanks for your great initial response to our parish’s responsibility for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. After Commitment Weekend last weekend, our unofficial totals are right at 70% of our goal for this year, a great start. Please be sure to take your part and give your contribution. Envelopes are available in the church for you to use if you have maybe misplaced the one mailed to you.

Every diocese in the country has an annual appeal of some sort in order to accomplish the works of the diocese – diocesan ministries, the formation of priests, services to the community and everyday realities of payroll and utilities for many offices. We can’t be a branch without a vine! Please be generous.

I was in the front office the other day and overheard a conversation at the window which has me thinking. Someone was requesting a Mass intention for a particular date. As you may have guessed, the date requested was no longer available, in fact, it had been requested by someone already.

We are now filling Mass intentions for October and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Intentions Book for calendar year 2014 will be full by Easter. As you know, we only have about 1,000 announced Mass intentions available each year, since one Mass each Sunday must be for the parish. Canon Law allows for only one announced intention with a stipend (suggested $10) at each Mass (a law written in answer to abuses long ago), and in the parish we have limited the number of Masses you can request each month in order to give more people an opportunity to request a Mass intention.

Since we don’t open the book for 2015 until November, what do we do in the meantime? The person who came to the window was told about the possibility of unannounced intentions, but wasn’t interested, which indicated to me a lack of understanding of what this means. You see, every time a priest celebrates a Mass, one particular intention may be used and it provides him personally with a stipend. Each time one of us concelebrates (more than one priest at a Mass), or celebrates a Mass away from the parish for whatever reason (our parish pilgrimage, for example, or when we are away) we use all the unannounced intentions which have been requested. For a while now, we have had none of these. Consider it, if you will; there is no limit to the number of unannounced Masses you may request. And if we can’t get to them all, we send them to priests in parishes or missions who don’t have enough.

God bless you.

Fr. Don