I am pleased to announce that we have received a letter in the last week from the Cardinal, formally appointing Fr. Khanh Dao to the Collaborative. He will, of course, serve the Vietnamese community, but he will also minister throughout the entire Collaborative. We are very fortunate to have him with us; we look forward to him sharing his many gifts with us, and to our continued collaboration with him.
As a result of us now having three assigned priests, we are able to bring back the 4 pm Saturday Mass at St. Mary Magdalen Parish. There will no longer be a 5:30 pm Mass. The rest of the Collaborative Mass schedule remains in place. This change will be effective on November 2nd and will continue for the foreseeable future. We had to change abruptly to 5:30 pm when Fr. Tinh was reassigned and our projected schedule began to show some holes in coverage, but now with a third priest assigned we can return to the 4 pm. While I understand concerns about “process”, the changes in schedule when we lost a priest quickly, and now have gained a priest, reflect the extensive consultation that we had when the present schedule was created. There is no hidden agenda. If and when we go to two priests, we will have to be prepared to make adjustments to our schedule again. I make no apologies for our Mass schedule. If you compare with neighboring parishes and collaboratives, then you will find that our schedule is very generous.
We had a meeting with staff and several parish leaders last Sunday. We are moving forward with plans to assess and implement our Pastoral Plan. We will be focusing on individuals and small groups taking responsibility for areas, e.g. service, hospitality and communication, and inviting parishioners to join with them in sharing their gifts and talents. As we roll out the ministries, there will be opportunities for everyone to sign up for a one hour a week commitment. This hour could be spent in adoration, writing cards to nursing home residents, serving as a lector, or advising on a construction project. In short, there will be opportunities for everyone to contribute to the community. The concept of “Mass plus one hour” will become easier to understand as the pastoral groups form and the invitations are extended.
I am asking our current group of leaders and coordinators to help in identifying parishioners to work with them and ultimately to take their places. I am grateful for all that people have done and are doing. Several are genuinely heroic. I am also mindful of the need to bring in new people so that other voices can be heard and diverse perspectives offered. Beginning with myself, we have to realize that we are all replaceable and thus must plan accordingly. Although the Collaborative is not yet five years old, we are gradually cycling new people into leadership opportunities. As we move into 2020, we will be looking to reconstitute the parish finance councils. Our Archdiocesan Presbyterial Council and Pastoral Council members serve maximum five year terms. I feel that is a good amount of time for a member of the finance council as well. So, over the next few months I will be seeking nominations for the finance councils in order that the newly constituted boards be in place in January, with plenty of time to plan for Fiscal Year 2021.
We have sent out an appeal letter and some general financial information to the parishioners of each parish. We are not asking for a specific gift amount from anyone. You know your own circumstances and I ask that you bring into prayer what you are led to contribute. We are beginning the drive this weekend and it will continue though the end of December. Thank you for your support.
Rev. Richard F. Clancy