Dear Parish Family-
The month of August brought a visit from Fr. Eric Mallam from the West African nation of Nigeria. September brought a visit from Fr. Lawrence Kimbowa of the East African nation of Uganda. Last Sunday’s 10:30 a.m. Mass brought a little bit of Africa to Jackson with the Karoline choir from the Ugandan Catholic Community of St. Mary’s in Waltham, Massachusetts. These very talented young people came down to perform at the dinner the evening before and asked if they could sing and dance at Mass the following day. If you were to go to an African parish, this is exactly what you would experience, well not exactly since the entire Mass would have been lively, not just a few parts! We may not be able to go to Africa but Africa came to us last Sunday! It was a marvelous celebra-tion of the Universality of the Catholic Church. As the third Eucharistic Prayer for the Mass says, “From the rising of the sun to its setting” the name of the Lord is praised. Images and a video clip are available online on our Face-book and our YouTube page.
On Tuesday the Finance Committee had their monthly meeting to review the parish’s finances. They requested that a three-year spreadsheet be prepared to study the weekend offerings, which they received prior to the meeting. The study showed a decline over a three-year period. (Keep in mind these are fiscal years that run July 1-June 30). Several factors can be attributed to this decline. Bishop O’Connell noted at our annual June Vicariate meeting that collections were down overall in the Diocese. These declines come from a lack-luster economy, slow to recover, with rising gas prices, rising food prices and the heavy tax burden people feel with little or no increase in salary and a State with moderately high unemployment. He said damage from hurricane Sandy also continues to impact many families. He also noted there are several factors experts say affect Sunday offerings negatively. They were; 1. Trans-fers of priests-more so when the Pastor is changed. 2. Scandal in a Parish and 3. When a priest takes a leave from the priesthood. The Bishop noted more than 2/3 of the priests of the Diocese have been transferred in the last sev-eral years. In fact he said the 2012 transfers have come to be called “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” when around 40 priests were officially notified that they were being transferred! St. Aloysius Parish has experienced all of these factors in a period of just under 18 months. We had three pastors in just 15 months from June of 2012 to October of 2013. Additionally we had a scandal break in September of 2013.
The turbulence of the parish experienced from 2012-2013 had an effect on our collections but the stabilization that has taken place from October of 2013 to the present brought a stabilization to the collections. This was pointed out in a graph one of the members of the committee handed out during the meeting. People of Faith experience diffi-cult times just like everyone else, but People of Faith also know that God is with them; He guides them through turbulent times. His Grace is alive and at work within the communities of faith who open themselves to the move-ment of His Spirit. Let us move forward in faith!
Great and exciting news! St. Aloysius School enrollment continues to rise; our number was 380 Students as of last week, our highest enrollment in 5 years!!!!!
Peace and Good – Fr. Bambrick