Dear Parish Family,
It has been a while since I have written a Pastor's Update. I hope you were encouraged by the Momentum newsletter which was given out last Sunday. There is a lot to be thankful for as we are coming out of COVID and moving forward with our parish strategic plan.
It has been a wonderful Fall thus far. I just celebrated 20 years of Priesthood on November 23. I have been very blessed to minister among you these past twelve years. There is a lot to be thankful for. I rejoice in the two new staff that we have in Carol (Parish Manager) and Avery (Evangelization and Discipleship). The Sacramental preparations for children and adults is underway. Many ministries are in full action again, and more people are joining in. In-person attendance is increasing at Sunday mass. The CWL Bake Sale was a great success. We have had two Friday evening Surge events so far with good attendance. The first in-person Alpha since COVID is having their final session next Thursday, and it has been a great blessing to all involved.
Thank you, Holy Spirit! Our Vision, Mission, and Values are being realized in very tangible ways.
I will be away on my annual personal retreat from Sunday afternoon until Saturday, December 3. I ask for your prayers for me as I reflect upon my life thus far and ponder and entrust myself to whatever might lie ahead in my priestly ministry.
A is for Advent
A new liturgical season is upon us.
As the days get shorter, and probably snowier and colder, Advent provides for us a special time to slow down: to wait and to pray in anticipation of the Light of Christ coming into our world. In our modern lives, things tend to get busier and more hectic as we prepare for Christmas. The busyness is hard to avoid altogether. However, with some planning and commitment, we can make time for some extra prayerful silence, and quiet reflection with spiritual readings and the Holy Bible.
It is good to consider signing up for some email or YouTube daily Advent messages. Let us plan to do at least something special, in order to open our hearts enough to make room for a new grace from Jesus this Christmas.
One event to look out for is the Advent Mission on Thursday and Friday, December 8 and 9 right here at our parish. It is the Explosively Alive presentations by the Companions of the Cross but with live worship, confessions, prayer ministry, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. If you are unable to attend in-person at the parish, please consider signing up for the online version which will be shown each of the four Sundays of Advent.
B is for Budget
For the past three years we have been operating month-by-month to keep things going at the parish. Now that we are seeking momentum with the Parish Strategic Plan, we need an updated budget to reflect these goals, as well as an update in membership of our donor base.
I want to present a budget for 2023 around the weekend of December 16 and 17. In the past, the revenue was quite a bit easier to predict. For example, ten years ago we had about 620 families and donors providing just under $600,000. We have about 520 donors giving around the same amount. As you can see, we need to add to our numbers, and increase our giving if we want to support a budget reflecting our modern needs which, as you can imagine, are different now compared to ten years ago.
I need your help. The Finance Council will build the budget based on the pledged annual donations of our parishioners. To achieve this goal, I need each person who wants to fund our parish vision to do three things: to pray, to decide on an amount, and to fill out a pledge card on paper or online. This will be confidential within the six members of our Finance Council who will be collecting your pledges from this first Sunday of Advent until our meeting on Wednesday December 14, at which point we will be better able to make a budget reflecting your combined pledges.
It is very important that you participate in this exercise. Based on the results, we may need to cut back, or hold the line. For my part, I am praying earnestly for a strong outpouring of support in order to grow and flourish towards our Parish Vision. Know how much your financial support is appreciated and integral to meeting our targets over the next five years. I know God will repay you in special ways for your offerings towards building up His Kingdom.
We are back to weekly collections now for those who aren't giving electronically. Special thanks to the former team of money counters who, for many years, faithfully and professionally handled our cash and cheque donations: the main man, Victor Giaccone, with his helpers, Michel Beauregard, Mary-Ellen Yeldon and John Brunet. May God bless them for their many years of service to our parish behind the scenes. We have four new counters now who are being trained to take on the ministry for the foreseeable future.
As a quick aside, for your information, we met our goal, and then some, regarding the Indigenous Reconciliation fund. We will take a final tally this weekend before sending it in to the Archdiocese, but as of today, we have raised just over $8700. Way to go, everyone!
C is for Christmas
Be sure to check out our Christmas and New Year's Mass Schedule, office hours, and adoration times. It will be great to celebrate this great feast with you in person. We will have the Christmas Pageant at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve for our Livestream Mass. We will also have an overflow area in the atrium with a projector screen to provide for a large gathering. At the other Christmas Masses, we will use the atrium as a designated area for social distancing for those who are not yet comfortable with being in a crowd, but still want to be there in person.
May God bless you this Advent and keep you and yours in His loving care as we await the graces of Christmas.
Yours in Christ, Fr. Tim