* School Update
Many have asked how the opening weeks of school have been going. Thankfully, we have been able to maintain on-site schooling for these first few weeks and the school year has had a successful start. The staff of the school spent countless hours during the summer preparing for all contingencies—learning on-site, distance learning, quarantining, etc. We purchased over $60,000 of equipment (plastic shielding, technology, sanitization), limited class sizes to 20 (previously 25), hired extra teachers, and put protocols in place to handle suspected cases of COVID-19 (spacing and traffic in the halls, keeping cohorts from mixing, mandatory mask use, etc.). Thus far, we have had a few confirmed cases of the virus, but have been able to keep most children on-site. Every suspected case of the virus is reported to the Oakland County Health Department. They in turn issue the decisions about whether and who to quarantine. We expect there will be times when we have to go to distance learning but we are doing everything we can to responsibly keep the children onsite in as normal an environment as we can.
This includes sports programs. We are following the guidelines issued by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Catholic Youth Organization, such as how many spectators can be at games (maximum of 2 per athlete max and proper distancing kept and masks worn), tracking protocols (temperature checks, sign in for all people), and using outdoor space as much as possible. For example, football no longer uses indoor space on Mondays to come together for a light meal and review of game films. Volleyball uses the outdoor courts for as many practice sessions and games as they can. This is all a learning experience for everyone, so please let us keep encouraging each other to focus on the basics: masks must be worn; keep proper social distance even outside; wash/sanitize hands often; refrain from coming to anything public if you have been exposed directly to COVID-19, have symptoms that might indicate a possibility of the virus, or have tested positive for the active virus.
All of this preparation and the fact that we are allowing on-site learning has led to a significant increase in our school population. This is good news for the bottom line, but also a challenge to integrate a number of new students coming from a variety of schools into the common environment of St. Regis. Please continue to pray for the teachers and staff along with the students and their families. The key to success rests on the continued health and energy of our teachers and administration. They are on the front line just like health care workers. If you know any of them, please let them know you appreciate what they are doing and that you are praying for them. Thank you.
* Parish Leadership Night Tuesday October 13
Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 13 from 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. for our next Parish Leadership Gathering. The focus topic for the night will be “Poured Out in the midst of the Pandemic.” The parish theme this year is “Poured Out” and is represented by a jug of water turning into wine and then poured into the cross. This pandemic has caused us all to find ways to do things differently, to be “poured out” for others. We will spend the first group portion on everything that is currently happening in the parish in terms of the pandemic and ask that you think about and be ready to share if you like, any graces that have happened in the midst of this pandemic. Then, when we break into smaller groups focused on an area of parish life, we ask you to continue that discussion by suggesting ways in which the parish can make that area of parish life more robust in the midst of this pandemic.
These Leadership Nights are the primary vehicle for creating a common vision for the parish and seeking wisdom as we move toward the future. You do not have to be a member of any parish committee or group to attend. Please join us by going the parish website, click on “Events” at the top and scroll down to the October 13 Parish Leadership event and register there.
* Detroit Priests’ Retirement Collection
Each year in September there is a collection for the Detroit Priests Pension Fund. We have not emphasized it this year due to the more important C.S.A. appeal which is entering its final phase. The Priests’ Retirement is a worthwhile cause. A monthly pension (currently $1575), along with gap coverage in health care, auto insurance, and reimbursement of professional expenses (up to $1500 per year) is covered by the monies in the pension fund for priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit who have reached Senior Priest status. An envelope to contribute to this fund was put into your bi-monthly packets, or you can mark any envelope with the words “Detroit Priests Retirement.” Checks can be made payable to St. Regis Parish. Full disclosure: the parish is billed the full amount of maintaining that fund (about $11,000 this year). Any monies contributed through this collection help to offset the cost. In other words, it is a way to know specifically where your donation dollars are going, and it does help the parish’s bottom line as well. If we were to receive more than the billed amount, the excess would go completely to the Pension Fund as well. Thank you.