Well, I have being at my new parish assignment for just over two weeks now. The physical moving and unpacking is completely done. Of the five churches, I have celebrated Sunday Masses at St. Januarius in Naples and St. Patrick’s in Prattsburgh. I have celebrated Weekday Masses at St. Januarius in Naples, St. Michael’s Penn Yan, and St. Mary’s in Rushville leaving St. Theresa’s in Stanley. I will be celebrating the Sunday Mass there this weekend and next weekend (July 25th) I will celebrating the Sunday Masses for St. Michael’s completing my first visits to each church.
I am pleased to say the people are very welcoming and there is always a parishioner willing to help show me where everything is. I have met all the staff now who are very helpful and kind. I am beginning to meet some of the parishioners who coordinate some of the various ministries. There is much to get to know and do. One of the areas I have been happy to begin with is meeting some of our parishioners who are homebound or in nursing homes. I went with one of our parishioners to visit several of them last week and will visit three more tomorrow with more to follow. I am happy to be able to visit these people so soon after my arrival to make sure that they know I care about them even though I don’t get to see them in church.
So what else will I be doing?
The ministry of a priest always begins with the celebration of the Sacraments but it does not end there. There are visits to the homebound, nursing homes, and hospitals. I will be involved in the Baptismal Preparation for parents preparing to have their children baptized. I’m meeting with the Social Ministry chairperson next week. I will make some visits to the parish school. There may be some stewardship ministry for me and RCIA. These fall under what I will call “direct ministry” meaning working face-to-face with the people. They do not need a priest to be involved in all of their ministry but I do feel called to be part of them, working as partners with the parishioners and staff.
There are also what I will call “support activities.” The first that comes to mind is the Diocesan Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA). This is the yearly fundraising for the diocese so it might not seem like ministry but it is essential for the diocese to carry on its ministry. It is done to raise money but not to make money. The money is not “profit.” It is used to buy materials, to pay the staff, and to pay building and utility costs necessary to bring the Gospel message with Christ’s love to the world. So, I see it as a vital part of making possible what we do as a church.
The last area I might mention is the parish website. The parish has had a website (www.ourladyofthelakescc.org) for several years. We do have a parishioner who generously maintains the website for us. Yet, it is time to update the website and begin using it as a regular means of communication (the weekly bulletin is already there). Some of what will be on the website will be communication about the ministries that happen at Our Lady of the Lakes. As such, it will help make people aware of what we have to offer them and how they might be part of it. I also see the website as a way to reach out to people who haven’t been to church in a while or ever. We need to make the gospel message known and a parish website is one means of doing just that.
There is always much ministry to do. What is God calling you to?