Third Sunday of Advent, 2014

advent3Dear Parish Family,

The Third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday”. The name is taken from the Latin Introit of the Mass “Gaudete in Domino Semper” which in turn is taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter 4, “Rejoice in the Lord, Always, again I say, Rejoice”. The Liturgical Color for this Sunday is Rose, it is the lightening of the color of violet. It is on this Weekend the Church urges us to Rejoice!

We can rejoice for several great reasons this weekend. The first is that a very generous parishioner ‘stepped up to the plate’ and covered the entire cost of the new well!!! The cost was $15,000.00 and I am very grateful for their gift to the parish! The individual asked to remain anonymous. So thank you to Anonymous; you know who you are!!! That was very exciting news!

Another reason to rejoice is for the gift of a portrait of St. Padre Pio given by Mr. & Mrs. John Genuard. Over the summer John asked me to bless a portrait of Padre Pio. Some months later I asked him where he acquired the por-trait as I wanted to put one in the Church. He told me he had painted it. I asked him if he would paint one for his own parish? He said yes but he would paint a different portrait and asked if I wanted to be involved in choosing the subject. I decline since the painting I blessed was very nice. When he informed me the portrait was completed and asked about a day to dedicate it, I suggested Gaudete Sunday since this is a day to rejoice. He put his head down and was silent for a moment. I thought at that point I had offended him since that date was nearly a month away at that point. Then he looked at me and said, “Father, the image I painted is of Padre Pio saying Mass on Gaudete Sunday, he is wearing Rose vestments”.

I had wanted to ask John to Paint Padre Pio giving a Blessing but never got around to calling him. When I went to his home and he unveiled the picture there was Padre Pio looking at me with his hand raised in blessing!!!! I told John that truly Padre Pio had guided his hand in the making of this portrait. Today we dedicate, bless and en-throne this image of one of the modern Church’s most beloved Saints and wonder workers. Padre Pio had the gift of healing, counsel, and knowledge of souls during his life and he continues to bless those who seek his intercession from Heaven still. May St. Pio bless and intercede for all of us and watch over all our endeavors.

I once again invite everyone to come to the Mission which begins Monday at 11:00 a.m. and again at 7:00 p.m. which will explore Prayer, Chant, Sacred Iconography and the Family as an Icon of the Church. The morning ses-sions will be hands on while the evening sessions will be reflections with dialogue. This promises to be a very different Parish Mission with the very timely focus on the family.

Peace and Good – Fr. Bambrick

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We Have To Save Christmas!!!

Poor, fragile Christmas. .. Almost all of the movies flooding TV during this fine season are about saving Christmas. Now, this almost always refers to making sure that the gifts for all the children around the world get delivered—Christmas is reduced to the reception of gifts from Santa; usually with a nice moral twist. We are also all aware of the “War on Christmas”—the perceived, intentional erosion of the meaning of Christmas by atheists and retailers who do things like saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,”(although, Hanukkah is right around the same time as Christmas and maybe they are just trying not to assume our religion) removing religious symbols from civic arenas, the increasingly consumeristic nature and removal of the real meaning that many people resent.

While watching “Arthur Christmas” last night, and seeing the really nice message at the end of it (even though there were a few things not right with it), I got to wondering why all of these kid’s shows are about saving Christmas …what is so vulnerable about this holiday that everyone seems to find a need to protect and “save” it? Then it hit me—the very thing that we are remembering is the birth of an infant. Of course, the shows mostly leave this element out; but it is the essence of what we are celebrating.

We are celebrating the fragility of a newborn. All powerful God entered humanity as the most vulnerable being—a poor, marginalized infant. There is something that needs protecting there—that needs nurturing. And even the most secular Christmas specials manage to capture that—perhaps unintentionally—but they do, nevertheless. God doesn’t need our protection (My first pastor/boss used to say, “Jesus can take care of Himself.”). But the Incarnation is about our frailty and our need for care. God cared for us in human form to teach us to care for one another. These specials are always ultimately about that—our need for human relationship and changing the way we care for one another.

As Christians, we can’t leave out the Divine element to the story—it’s not just about human relationships, but the way God enters into them. It’s about our interaction with the Divine and how we are vessels for God. We need to nurture and let that grow in us and help others to do the same. It does need to be protected and sometimes even saved in us.

So, rather than getting upset about God missing from the “Christmas” or “Holiday” themes that we are currently bombarded with, we could use it as an opportunity to bring Christ and be Christ for the people we meet. Even if they miss the mark, these shows can instruct us; and even if the retailers wish us “Happy Holidays” we can take it as a kindness and reciprocate with the gentleness of Christ. Maybe our reflecting Jesus to others in our actions and celebrating Christmas appropriately can be the best ammunition against the war, and help to save and protect the gift that is Jesus the Christ born into our world and our hearts.

Jen Schlameuss-Perry

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Second Sunday of Advent, 2014

advent2Dear Parish Family,

Two weeks ago I wrote to you concerning a number of financial challenges facing the parish. The most pressing are: our 3 mortgages on the New Church, the failed well, the B Wing School Roof, the Gym Roof and the Church Roof and renovation of the Old Church.

To all of you who have increased your weekly offering or made a pledge to replace the roofs I wish to express a deep sense of gratitude. The collection has been up two weeks in a row; your stewardship for your parish is so vitally important.

Those who use the Bates/County Line Road entrances will have noticed work in progress to install curbing. This work was contracted several months ago, before the school roof and well issues became apparent. This work was undertaken proactively to prevent further collapse of the roadway. When the property was reconfigured in 2009, Belgium Block curbing was installed around most of the property but not on the edge of that road. As a result of people parking (in no-parking fire zones) partially in the road and partially on the grass, rutting has occurred. As it rains (the topography slopes to the parking lot) erosion occurs under the structure of the road, resulting in partial collapsing along the uncurbed edge. This was especially pronounced at the Bates Road apron where people were making a right out of our driveway onto the dirt, creating a large pool of mud. In a very short time we would have lost the top of the paving at the Bates Road entrance. We attempted to deter this by putting stakes up but people drove over them. Then we tried stakes and a four-foot high bright orange fence but again people drove over the stakes and the fencing.

At the time we contracted the curbing, it was decided to only curb part of the road edge due to the expense and complete the rest at a future date. The remaining stretch will have to be completed at some time as the same issue is happening all along the roadway. Please park only in designated spaces and not on the road edge; the weight of vehicles combined with the rutting causes the road to cave in. We chose to match the existing curbing around the property, which is Belgium Block rather than use concrete.

One mortgage will come due for full payment in 2020, the other two in 2019. Their current interest rates range from 3.5%-4.5%. I do not expect those rates to hold when we renew – if the economy improves the rates will go up.

The 2nd collection, usually on the 1st Sunday of the month (with a few exceptions) is for Mortgage Reduction. The current envelopes say “Debt Reduction” however your new envelopes will more accurately say “Mortgage Reduction”. The donation received in these envelopes is applied to the principal of the largest loan (3 Million) in an effort to reduce both the interest we pay and to pay off as much of the loan before January of 2019, when it comes due. On the remaining two loans we pay interest only; we cannot pay anything else.

After all this talk of finances and infrastructure issues it is important to recall the reason for all these buildings and grounds – JESUS CHRIST THE LORD!!! This place exists to Glorify God, give Him praise and a provide a place of sanctuary for His children.

It is Advent and from December 15-18 our Parish Mission will take place led by David Clayton. In the spirit of Advent I am patiently waiting with expectant hope this time of prayer for our parish family. Each day is a “stand alone” session so if you can only participate in one session, come! However by the end of the three days you will have a sense of the three being woven together. So come for all three days, come for one day, come for one session, but come!

The Mission will follow this schedule each day except Thursday.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will begin with:

Chanted morning prayer at 11:00 a.m. No experience needed. Come learn to pray through chant!

-Following morning prayer: David, who is an artist and Iconographer, will lead a prayerful hands-on sacred art lesson which will end with a simply chanted midday prayer at about 1:00 p.m. Bring a bagged lunch to share fellowship following midday prayer.

*** If you are an artist **** or if you would like to learn by hands-on use of artistic medium, you are invited to bring the following with you to the morning sessions: watercolor paper, brushes, a jar to hold water to clean brushes, watercolor paint, plastic egg cup style palate. These supplies can be found at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Around the Corner Art Center, or any art supply store. No skill is required and if you do not wish to take part actively, you are welcome to come learn, reflect and observe! Believe me when I say “no skill is required” – he taught me how to paint in August and I can’t draw a straight line!!!

-Each evening at 7:00 p.m. will begin with Chanted Evening Prayer followed by a reflection on Personal Transformation through Liturgy, Personal Devotion and Prayer. There will be an open dialogue following his reflections to further our sharing in faith.

*The theme for Monday will reflect on the artistic notions of Harmony and Proportion and how these are reflections of the Church’s Liturgy and Prayer in the life of Christians.

*Tuesday Evening will reflect on different forms of Sacred Art in Icons, Baroque and Gothic styles and how these reflect the Church’s prayer life.

*Wednesday Evening will reflect on Modern Art and it’s influence on prayer.

Each evening will also center on the Family as the Domestic Church where liturgy, devotion and prayer transform the individual thereby enabling them to transform the world. David will give a presentation from his new book on how to create an “Icon Corner” in the home to facilitate transformative prayer, making the home sacred.

On one of these days, David will demonstrate Egg Tempura Icon Painting as well. He will bring some pigment to show how to make the paint.

The mission will conclude with Chanted Morning Prayer on Thursday, December 18, at 7:30 a.m.

David Clayton is a Professor at St. Thomas More College in New Hampshire, Author and Iconographer. He is married with a little daughter and another child to be born in January. He is a disciple of Aidan Hart, one of the worlds’ most renowned Icon Painters.
David’s latest book is “The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Prayer in the Home.” Dr. Scott Hahn, K.H.S. of EWTN recently reviewed the book saying, “This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen. It is inspiring yet practical, realistic yet revolutionary. If one book has the potential to transform the Catholic Family (and Society), this is it”. High praise from a man who is highly praised himself!

Peace and Good – Fr. Bambrick

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God Doesn’t Need You

Back in the day, before Women’s Lib, it sometimes happened that women who were in abusive marriages were forced to stay with their husbands because they had no means of supporting themselves and social stigma would have made life unbearable for them if they had left; leaving their own lives, and sometimes the lives of their children in danger. They were entirely reliant on their spouse. They didn’t remain in the marriage because they wanted to, because they were freely choosing it, but because they were stuck, fearful and had no other viable options. Situations like these are not the life-giving vocations that God intended marriage to be, and are not the loving relationships that God wants for anyone.

God is entirely self-sufficient. God is perfect, unchanging, eternal, omniscient and omnipotent all by Himself. God doesn’t need you to be happy. God doesn’t need you to follow His laws to be fulfilled. God doesn’t exist because of you, and heaven will not fall apart if you don’t eventually wind up there. God will be perfectly content whether you ever offer Him anything or not.

God neither gains nor loses anything by being nice to us. God neither gains nor loses anything by us accepting or rejecting Him. That puts God in a very interesting position. It puts God in the position of true generosity, perfect freedom in gift giving and removes any motive from initiating a relationship with us except the motive of love. God created us entirely out of this self-giving love, but God doesn’t need us to reciprocate to be happy. God desires that we reciprocate the relationship for our own benefit; because love desires the good of the other and always wants to share the joy that it possesses. But God will not cease to have joy simply because someone rejects it.

There is much evidence of people rejecting God and still having air in their lungs, a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the love of family and friends in their lives. We see that God doesn’t require us to follow His laws for our physical survival. This puts us in a very interesting position. It puts us in the position of receiving everything that God gives us, particularly His love, freely—as pure gift. While God is the Source of the air in our lungs, the roofs over our heads, the food on our tables and the love of people in our lives, He doesn’t hold those things over our heads to force us into relationship with Him. He offers freely, and invites us to freely accept it all. It is actual unconditional love.

There is something very comforting in knowing that you can’t add or detract anything from God. You can screw up royally and know that God will take you back without hesitation. You can cooperate with God’s will and bring the joy of God to others and feel it yourself—but it doesn’t all rest on you.

As we wrap up our Thanksgiving weekend and begin the Season of Advent, we can take this opportunity to ponder God’s goodness and generosity. We can think of the good things we have and the gift that God gave to the world of His Presence in the Incarnation—when God freely gave Himself to us to do whatever we would with Him. We can remember that even when we killed Him, He forgave us—not for any gain on His part, but because of His perfect love for us. We can let him mold our hearts to be more like His so that our actions can become more perfectly free and generous. God doesn’t need you to be happy. But, God wants you because He is Love.

Jen Schlameuss-Perry

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First Sunday of Advent, 2014

advent1Dear Parish Family,

All over the world folks are aware of the Calendar Year and celebrate New Years Day every January 1. Most of us in the North East are also aware of the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah (and probably Yom Kippur!). Many also know of the Chinese New Year. Every culture and many religions mark or celebrate the beginning and ending of a year. The Catholic Church also has a New Year and it is this Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent. The Liturgical year always begins on the First Sunday of Advent and it ends on the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Church says at the conclusion of the liturgical year, “The End of the Year of Grace”. Each year is a year of God’s Grace.

Advent has a two-fold character. The first is to worthily prepare for the Solemnity of Christmas remembering the Son of God, Jesus Christ, first coming into the world in Bethlehem of Judea. The second is that in recalling the first coming we look forward with expectant hope to His second Coming at the end of time.

At one time Advent had a very heavy penitential feel. It certainly retains the sense of being a penitential season in order to worthily prepare for the Nativity of the Lord. However the greater focus in our day is on expectancy. The sense of Expectancy is very much part of this liturgical season. Not only do we wait in expectant hope for Jesus second coming, we also sit spiritually in expectant hope with the pregnant Virgin Mary. The Virgin is at the very center of this liturgical season, this woman whom the Church calls “The Greatest Honor of Our Race”. She is the Ark of the New Covenant. It was her “Yes” that teaches us to answer God with our “yes”. Expectancy is perfectly expressed in her response to the angel, “Let it be done to me according to your word”. She said yes because she hoped for the fulfillment of a promise she did not fully comprehend or understand. She did understand, as the Angel announced, “All things are possible for God”. She rested her hope in His Word, a Word that would be fulfilled, a Word with the power to save.

May we sit with her in expectant hope contemplating the promise we know is fulfilled in Jesus, her son whose birth in time we remember and whose return in Glory we anticipate.

Holy Mary, Mother of God Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death! By the Prayers of the Mother of God, Oh Saviour save us! Amen.

Peace and Good – Fr. Bambrick

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Ferguson

The situation in Ferguson is horrible. Nobody can disagree with that. Tensions are running high, and there is chaos—even while the parents of the boy who was killed call for peace. No doubt a good deal of what is happening is the result of unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of a bad situation, but to pretend that that is all that’s happening is irresponsible and immoral.

I don’t know all the facts—I wasn’t there—so I’ll not pretend to know how this case should have gone. I respect and feel a great sense of gratitude to the police officers who daily put their lives on the line for us. I have friends and family who are cops and they are excellent people who truly live to serve their community with justice and sincere concern for everyone they come across—even in tense situations. I also know that when they are dealing with the public, there is often more than what an untrained eye may see in what appears to be a very cut and dry encounter. Sometimes they are dealing with resistance that a camera can’t pick up and have to respond with what seems like unnecessary force. Most of these encounters are completed appropriately nonetheless, without harm being done to either party.

A million years ago, when I was in high school, the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles caused ripples throughout the country. Not unlike what is happening today, people were outraged, angered, confused and felt invalidated. Some responded with appropriate anger—others engaged in violence, looting and senseless forms of protest that only drowned out the message that they were presumably trying to make. All the way in Lakewood, New Jersey, the ripples of negativity went out—and some kids who had no business there, made their way into our high school and started some trouble. Lakewood had nothing to do with Los Angeles, right? Why on earth would there be rioting all the way on the other side of the country? Now, our “riot” was small potatoes, and easily squelched, but it did scare a French exchange student enough to demand to be returned to her country immediately, and some kids received minor injuries.

But, Lakewood was not unrelated to Los Angeles. There are individuals and groups who daily experience feelings of insignificance, injustice, indignity, unsafety and hopelessness all across our country. Economic depression, and cycles of violence, crime, fear, misinformation and consistent reinforcement of their worthlessness to society breeds in them hate, confusion and a lack of self respect. Throw in people who don’t care to be part of a solution, and you have a ready-made mob—just add water and agitate. If you were bullied and you see someone else getting bullied, old feelings rise again in you. If you were abused by an alcoholic parent and you see that abuse toward someone else, old feelings arise. If you grew up feeling insignificant and worthless, when you see someone else being treated that way, old feelings arise. We ought to be masters of our own actions and have the good sense to not get caught up in a violent mob; but tell that to shoppers on Black Friday. Tell that to fans at sporting events who go wild and riot when their team loses. Tell that to the Salem Witch Trials, the Communist Scare, the rounding up of all Japanese Americans during WWII and putting them in camps. Tell that to passersby who witness a violent attack on another person and instead of calling the police or intervening, stand there and record it with their cell phones. Our society has problems.

Whether the outcomes in the Rodney King case or in the case of Michael Brown were just or not, they bring our attention to a real problem in our society—the alienation and hopelessness that people are feeling and the suspicion and assumptions that we make about one another that lead to senseless violence perpetrated by and against them, and then by them, and then against them, and then by them and then against them. And we keep the cycle going.

It’s easy for us to sit back, miles away and make assumptions about individuals and groups we don’t know. It’s easy for us to condemn the justice system and dirty cops. It’s easy to pretend that we are God and that we have the right to judge “these people.” But, that’s not what we’re called to. We’re called to be peacemakers; to work for justice in our communities. We’re called to create a culture of mutual respect where people feel valued and have an opportunity to contribute. We’re called to treat everyone we meet like Christ and to make sure that our laws promote the dignity of all people. We are called to pray for peace.

Jen Schlameuss-Perry

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Statement from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. on the announcement of Pope Francis’ plans to attend the World Meeting of Families.

worldmeetingfamiliesThe faithful of the Diocese of Trenton are most excited by today’s joy-filled news that Pope Francis will take part in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year. We look forward to celebrating with our neighbors to the west, and indeed all attendees from around the globe, both the Holy Father’s visit, and the extraordinary value that the overall experience promises to provide.

Archbishop Charles Chaput has been assured of our interest and support, and we are happy for whatever part we can play in this truly worthwhile endeavor.

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Forty

I’ve never been big on birthdays. In fact, I’ve been awful about them in the past. I only allowed a cake to be served for the sake of my children; but otherwise would have preferred to have let the day pass without notice. I’ve always felt guilty and mortified by any attention given to me, particularly on that day, because I never felt that I had earned it or deserved it. It was painful to try and accept the kindness that was being offered to me by family, friends and co-workers who cared enough to want to celebrate my life.

I’m so over it, now.

Over the past few months I’ve been watching my old (I have to be careful with that word, now) classmates and friends slowly hitting the “big 4-0” and getting ready to reach that milestone myself. I didn’t think of it with dread or anything—but birthday’s that have 0’s at the end of the number seem to carry a bit more significance than most.

Then, because of a silly comment I made yesterday, I got thinking about the significance of 40. My friend Jenn asked, jokingly, “So what are you, like 247?” and I replied without skipping a beat, “Well, it’s definitely a Biblical number!”

Then I got to relating to myself what 40 represents in the Bible. It rained for 40 days and nights when Noah was on the Ark. Moses was out in the desert for 40 years after fleeing Egypt as a wanted murderer before God called him to lead his people. Then, those people were lead through the desert for 40 years until they were ready for the Promised Land. Jesus went into the desert for 40 days before He began His public ministry.

Forty is a time of trial, testing and preparation for something big. When you complete that God-appointed period of 40 (days, years; whatever), it means that you’re ready to do the big thing that you were meant to do.

Each Holy Saturday, I have a retreat for the adults who are going to receive their Sacraments at the Easter Vigil later that night. I always begin the retreat with the song “40” by U2. It’s taken from Psalm 40. Here’s a video of the song.


(You can read the actual Psalm by clicking here.) I use it because they have completed their 40 days of Lent preparing them for something new—something awesome. I also use it because they will sing a new song to God as they participate fully in Mass for the first time (receiving Eucharist and such). It’s an awesome, new thing that they are doing, and that God is doing in their lives.

That’s pretty cool. I remember when I was a kid people hating turning 40. They would say it was all downhill from there; it’s when your body starts falling apart—needing glasses, joints hurting, hair graying…mid-life. I was going to joke that maybe I should get me one of them mid-life crises, just for kicks. But, who wants crisis? I’m ready for the new great things God has planned for me. I hope my friends are thinking this way, too. We were born for greatness. We’ve gone through our appointed time and now it’s time to be great. What great things are we going to do?

Jen Schlameuss-Perry

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That’s My Spot…

I have a problem. I think it’s a touch of OCD or something. One of the ways that it manifests itself is that I’m very picky about where I sit. I have “my spot” at almost every table, every couch I frequent and I have nearly knocked people down to get to a table first at a restaurant to get the seat that I want (although, to be fair, that’s also a product of being left handed and Sicilian). I am teased mercilessly for it. My co-workers make great sport of it, but I’ll tell you—if I took a picture of our lunch table every day, you would see that there is a pattern—they all have “their seat” but won’t admit it. My seat is the same for lunch, meetings and catechetical sessions, and I have a hard time concentrating if I have to sit somewhere else.

I thought that I had hit “rock bottom” with this issue a couple of weeks ago at RCIA when one of the Candidates brought his small children with him. His adorable little girl, not noticing my carefully staked-out space with my books and coat and phone and keys strategically placed to be unmistakably “my spot,” sat in my chair. I was out of the room at the time. When I came back, there she was. Adorable as anything; sitting in my chair. An interesting mixture of gasps and giggles escaped from the crowd assembled at the table. Like me, everyone wondered how I would respond. The session was on The Examen, a method of prayer introduced by St. Ignatius Loyola, and it’s all about reflecting prayerfully on your actions to gain more personal freedom day by day through an intentional relationship with God. This was a tricky situation. I stood there trying to figure out what to do when her Dad realized what had happened and swooped her from the chair and put her next to him. All was well, and the group had a good laugh. But, it shined a light on my craziness.

A few days ago I went to get gas for my car. As I pulled up to the station, I saw that the pump that I always go to was occupied. I caught myself being slightly miffed at this guy who was “in my spot.” Holy moly. I had actually laid an emotional claim to a gas pump. I pulled in to the one behind “my spot” and prayed, “Please, God, let this be rock bottom!”

I am aware of how insane this is—but awareness is not the same thing as a desire to change. All too often, we lay emotional claim to things that really don’t belong to us. We get angry about things that, frankly, we have no right to be angry about; we believe that we should have a say in the choices that other people make when we really don’t; we claim ownership of other people’s feelings and baggage when all it does is weigh us down. We accept blame for other people’s actions and let it be twisted into shame and self-hate. We judge, when that is an action that belongs only to God.

We can be very ridiculous in our assumptions of what we are entitled to. My chair and gas pump are outrageous examples of this. But some of the things we claim as our own can be very damaging to ourselves and others.

What are some of the things that you try to own that don’t belong to you? What effect do your actions have on yourself, the other and your relationship? How can you become free of the burdens of taking what doesn’t belong to you?

 

Jen Schlameuss-Perry

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November 16, 2014 – Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parish Family,

Last week brought with it some new financial challenges for the Parish.

Our Well Pump stopped working.

When attempting to extract the pump it broke loose and sunk into the well. The pipe was then removed which revealed PVC pipe was used and the well pump had melted into the side of the pipe. The bottom line is we now need a new well and our well is 250 feet deep. This is going to be a huge expense we cannot afford at this time.

Gym, B-wing, atrium and storage room roofs have to be replaced.

Ms. O’Connor called to let me know the roofs in the B wing of the school and the gym were leaking badly; an understatement. I walked over to the school to find it raining in the gym, B wing, atrium and one of the storage rooms. The storage room beams and ceiling were also rotted. This is going to be a huge expense in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Again we do not have re sources to cover these expenses.

Loan default.

After the roof and well bad news we received MORE bad news informing us that the Parish was in default of one of the three loans on the New Church. In accord with the terms of the loan, pay-ment was due in full. Not having funds to pay off the loan, we fell into default. We were prepared to make our payment but there was no way we could pay off the loan. The terms were renegotiat-ed and the loan was extended another 5 years, however we incurred penalties, fees and interest.

Necessary repairs to the Old Church to convert it from empty space to a safe and useable Parish Hall.

Restoration and conversion of the old Church building space into a usable Parish Center are al-ready in motion and long overdue.

The cost to replace the well, pump, several large roofs and convert the old Church AND pay our loans will be challenging. We do not have funds to do the work that is necessary. The replacement of the roofs has been deferred for many years due to the loan obligations. The well was an unexpected issue. The well must be replaced and we are out of time on deferring necessary work on the roofs. A roof consultant, who was informed of our financial issues, is putting together a 3-5 year proposal. It combines emergency patching with a 3-5 year replacement plan. In addition, The “New” Church also has multiple problems; a roof that leaks like a spaghetti strainer being the primary issue. The roofing plan will also take into ac-count what can be done to stop these leaks.

Financially we have been doing fine in our ability to meet day to day expenses and our mortgage payments on the three loans for the New Church are able to be paid punctually. The finance committee has kept track of the budget and for the fiscal year 2014/2015 and gave unanimous consent to eliminate a part-time staff position to be sure we have a balanced budget.

Having one of our creditors calling for full payment on a loan was quite harrowing but it also revealed how delicate our financial situation is. Even as the Parish strives to be financially responsible and make sound financial decisions, extraordinary, unanticipated things like well failures, roofs and other necessary infrastructure repairs and maintenance can foreshadow financial disaster.

The staff and finance committee are dedicated to working on our mortgages and budgets.

What can you do??

Consider a major donation to help us with these building issues.  Make a pledge to new roofs or repair of the Old Church. We are considering a Capital Campaign for this purpose.

Increase your weekly donations.

Contribute to the Mortgage payment reduction using the monthly “Debt Reduction” envelopes (soon to be renamed “Mortgage Reduction”). These donations are used to pay down the principal which in turn reduces the interest we pay on the loan. Paying off the 3 loans is a major priority. With-out the loans we would be in very good financial condition.

Use online giving to assure we have a regular source of support.

Please help in any way you can. This Parish is our home, it is our Church, it is the House of God and our House as well. I know most of you are willing and ready to come to the assistance of our Parish; that is why I am sharing this information with you. Please prayerfully consider one or all of these things and make a difference so our Parish continues to be a beacon of spiritual strength, vitality and health.

Peace and Good – Fr. Bambrick

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