The State of the Parish in January, 2019, is…good, I believe! The first six months of “enduring” a new pastor, regime change if you will, is always a challenge! Of course, there is a “mourning” period for the departing pastor, while the new pastor may be “mourning” for his previous parish. Anyway, they say that normally it takes about six months for things to “settle down”, and it seems to be that way now at St. Gall’s. Pastoral wise, I have inherited a very “healthy” parish. The different opportunities for parish members to minister to others is very strong. If you want to do something at St. Gall’s, apart from attending Sunday Mass, there should be a place for you. I am very impressed with the music ministry at Sunday Masses, which I have not experienced before. Ongoing training is very important, and it is good to see fresh faces stepping into ministries such as ushers, extraordinary ministers of the eucharist, lectors, and altar servers.
I am very blessed to have Fr. Chris ministering also. He is much talented and has a great heart for ministry. The parish staff seem to be dedicated to their various positions. I am looking into the possibility of hiring a part-time maintenance person as that should cut down on the need to bring in professional and often expensive support when something breaks or needs attention.
One thing I always hear from visitors to our parish is that St. Gall’s is a “very welcoming community.” I just had a note in the email from a lady in New York city, overflowing with praise for the welcome she received from parish members. Thank you for making hospitality front and center of our outreach.
On the negative side, I do find that the interior of our church has grown “tired” and is especially in need of painting and reupholstering of the pews. I would not attempt to address this at present as I believe you are already overburdened with your various financial commitments to the parish and diocese: apart from your Sunday offering, you also financially support the “five-acre plan”, Catholic Services Appeal, and the Bishop’s three-year Appeal, as well as the many second collections. As soon as we get a better handle on our savings I would love to do some work on the church, with your permission and blessing. I am most grateful for your Sunday offerings, knowing the many demands on your finances, and knowing that many of you are living on fixed incomes.
Personally, I am most grateful for the welcome you have extended to me. Never in my priesthood have I had so many invitations to your homes or to restaurants! Your kind words expressed in your Christmas cards, together with your gifts, are also truly appreciated.
When I briefly ministered here 11 years ago, as a pastoral assistant to Fr. Paul, it was a “piece of cake.” You can almost do no wrong! It is different when you come back as pastor, and the buck stops with you! It is a joy being your pastor and to be part of a spiritual community that fosters growth in faith.
God bless and Thank you! Father Dan