Pastor’s Perspective – January 10, 2021

* Your Ongoing Support and Connection to the Parish

I want to thank all of you who have continued to give consistent support to the parish during these extraordinary times. What I thought might be six months has turned into what looks like will be eighteen months or more. Without that consistent support we would have to cut back in so many areas. But with your support, we have been able to maintain a relatively full parish schedule, and we hope to do so until this virus no longer wreaks havoc on everything. Elsewhere in the bulletin you can see where we stand year-to-date against our budget. We budgeted for about a twenty percent reduction from the previous year, due to the pandemic. At the six-month mark (our fiscal year goes from July-June) we are only about ten percent down from last year and therefore above our budgeted target for the year. Thank you.

Please know that we are not in lockdown mode at present, and only will be if required by health emergencies. We have our usual daily Masses and our normal weekend Mass and Reconciliation schedule, and we have added to that experience by livestreaming the Sunday 10:00 a.m. Mass and encouraging people to come for Communion in the parking lot. We continue to gather for committees and commissions, councils and parish groups, most often via Zoom. Our Adoration hours remain the same and the Chapel is open for prayer and Adoration during all those hours. Our office is open the usual Monday through Friday. School and Faith Formation are ongoing. People from the parish continue to bring Communion to the sick, and I continue to visit homes, senior living residences, and hospitals, as long as they allow a priest to do so (most do, if the family insists on the need for it).

Having said that, please think about how you and your family can maintain your connection to the parish. For example, even with social distancing restrictions in place (six feet distancing, sanitization, 20% capacity maximum), our Sunday Masses could easily handle double the number currently coming to church. The weekday Masses are nearly empty and so would be a wonderful alternative for those who want to come to Mass and need to be much more careful about interactions. To be clear, your health and safety always come first. If you are at high risk, elderly, not feeling well, have high anxiety or any other such reason, you are not obliged to be at Mass in person. I would encourage you to participate via the livestream. This would be true whether we were in the middle of a pandemic or not. Archbishop Vigneron has dispensed all Catholics in this diocese from the obligation to participate in person at Sunday and Holyday Masses, but we have to be careful here. Habits form that become harder to change. That dispensation goes until Lent. Would each of us be in a position to resume regular, in-person participation, if he were to lift that dispensation for most of us who are younger and healthy? Yes, it would mean the inconvenience of wearing a mask (covering mouth and nose!) for an hour or so each week. But that Sunday gathering at the invitation of our risen Lord, to connect all that we are and all that we are experiencing to his ongoing, once-for-all sacrifice, to be placed in intimate communion with him—that is the core identity of being a Catholic Christian community. Please, let us not allow the pandemic to destroy that.

* Parish Leadership Night Tuesday, January 12

Speaking of connecting to the parish…our next Parish Leadership Night is this Tuesday, January 12. It will be a Zoom meeting, open to all parish members. This is an excellent way to learn about what is happening in the parish and to offer your input into particular issues. We begin with prayer at 6:45 p.m. followed by a time together exploring a topic, and then people go into their chosen subgroup (Worship, Christian Service, Faith Formation, School, Finance), where the business of that group can occur. If you are already a member of any Commission or Council you will be pre-registered for the meeting and a link will be sent to you. If you are a member of any other group in the parish or someone who is interested in being part of the evening, please go to the website, click on “Events,” find the Leadership Night for January 12 and follow the registration process.

The shared topic for the evening is the Family of Parishes model that has been announced by the Archdiocese. An overview of the model will be given. Even if you are not able to attend the Leadership Night, I ask that you think through the following questions, jot down some thoughts, and email them to me or one of the staff members.

1) What is important to St. Regis’ identity and life that cannot be lost as we move toward Family of Parishes?

2) What are areas that are part of who we are and what we do that can be strengthened by being in a Family of Parishes?

3) Given what one knows about other parishes in our family (St. Owen, Holy Name, Queen of Martyrs), what are some things that will benefit St. Regis by closer collaboration with them?

4) Any questions, concerns, or uncertainties that need to be addressed more fully?

Thank you.

Fr. Buersmeyer

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