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From the Pastor July 16, 2017

posted Jul 17, 2017, 11:27 AM by Kurt Weber

DEAR CATHOLIC PEOPLE OF ADRIAN: 

The two parish pastoral councils met on July 6 and discussed many aspects of the clustering of the two parishes and the implications in regard to many of the practical elements of this action. It was a fruitful meeting and we made a commitment to meet together quarterly and separately on the other months. The purpose of this is to facilitate our coming together and to discuss situations as they inevitably will arise.


One topic discussed was evangelization and both sides admitted this had not been the priority it should be for all faith communities. What is evangelization? What are its practical implications and how does it effect and affect us as a community and as individuals.


The call to evangelization has received prominence in the teachings of the Popes starting with Pope Paul VI and it continued through successive pontiffs up to and including the present Holy Father. It has been the focus of Bishop Boyea's initiatives of the last several years.


What it means is that each of us, by virtue of our Baptism, is called to spread the Good News that is the basis of our lives as Christians. Too often the word conjures up sentiments of fear or concern in regard to its practical implications - the "how to" part of this call. We imagine it requires us to go door to door as many other faiths do, or to publicly speak in open situations proclaiming our belief in the Lord Jesus. In the teaching of Pope Francis in the document "The Joy of the Gospel" he encourages us as a people of faith to give witness with joy to what we believe. This means that each of us and all of us need to reflect seriously on how we witness the joy the Gospel life brings to each of us and to all of us collectively. When I encounter another person do they see the encounter as an experience that is joy filled or do I sense that I bring souring to the encounter because of my negative disposition?


Opportunities abound in the course of every day to encounter others and make a positive difference in their lives simply because I have treated them with kindness and respect. Unfortunately these are elements that are sorely lacking in our society today. So how can I make a difference in the lives of others?


Collectively we need to look at ourselves as a faith community. How do people perceive our community? Do our community experiences reflect the Joy of the Gospel that Pope Francis calls us to? It involves how we worship, how we respond to the needs of the community at large, and how others see the reflection of Jesus in our community.


Both Pastoral Councils have admitted that initiatives made have been placed on the back burner because of the clustering issues, but there was agreement it is time to look at this again. To this purpose we have agreed to form an evangelization committee to look at possibilities and come up with suggestions as to how we as one community might approach this topic and create the opportunities for greater evangelization to occur. We are looking at three to four members of each parish to come together for this purpose. If you are interested please let me know and we can begin the efforts on the communal dimension.


Individually you can begin immediately. Have you invited anyone to join you in worshiping in our communities? Have you taken the opportunity to speak to a family member or close friend who no longer attends church, to see if they are interested in joining you? Have you been a positive reflection of the Gospel and this community to those you meet in daily encounters? There is no need for you to join this committee (although your presence would be helpful), but there is a need for each of us to put on a happy face and convince others of our love for God and for each other.


God bless ~Fr Tom

DEAR FAITHFUL PEOPLE OF ADRIAN: RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS

posted Jul 11, 2017, 12:59 PM by Kurt Weber

 We know there are many questions to be answered and we hope this will be a good beginning. 


1 What is the exact status of the two parishes? What immediate changes will we see? In a clustering of two parishes, each parish maintains a separate existence with shared employees where possible. Obviously, it means sharing the priests and deacons and, in our case, the entire Faith Formation program. The immediate changes you will see will be these shared personnel. Other issues will be answered in subsequent questions.


2. Will they have their own Pastoral Council and Finance Council? Will finances be kept separate? In a cluster, each parish maintains its own Councils in both areas, but I foresee that the Pastoral Council, in particular, will have some meetings together. Each parish will maintain its separate financial records and there will be shared costs because of the shared ministries of specific roles. Finances will be retained by the parish that is designated by specific parish envelope or check designation. Loose unidentified cash will remain in the parish in which it is collected


3. Will the people who volunteer at both parishes still have an opportunity to do so? I would hope that this does not diminish the number of volunteers that are presently engaged in ministry and hopefully it is something we could even expand in needed areas.


4. When will the actual merger happen? The actual merger of the two parishes is, at least, a year away. 


5. What will we do with St Joseph’s Rectory? As was previously announced, at least two Adrian Dominican nuns will be moving into the rectory at the beginning of September. 6. If the Oblates are unable to continue staffing the Adrian Catholic Community what happens? Where will a diocesan priest live?


If that occurs, the Bishop then determines what happens to the Adrian community by either appointing a diocesan priest or soliciting the services of another religious community. I believe it is up to the priests who come to decide where they will live.


7. What is the combined Mass/ Confession schedule? As already announced. Saturday at 4PM at St. Mary’s and 5:30PM at St Joseph’s; Sunday at 9AM at St Joseph’s and 7:30, 10:30 and 12:30 at St Mary’s. Reconciliation will be celebrated at St Mary’s on Saturday at 9AM and at St Joseph’s on Tuesday evening during Exposition. This entire schedule will be reviewed in October,


8. What changes will there be to liturgy, especially music? I believe that there will probably be some accommodation, but, unless the present music ministers opt not to continue, they will remain in their respective parishes.


9. What combined events will happen? (This includes Holy Week) I would hope we will have ample opportunities to do things together socially, spiritually, and liturgically but I do not have a crystal ball to spell that out in detail at this point. As Sister Rita said at the public meeting, there can be only one service between the two churches for the Triduum.


10. How will the staff function as a combined team? They have already begun to work on the bulletin together; our faith formation program has already been united and I would expect that we will have joint staff meetings on some regular basis.


11. How will the clustering help us become a united Adrian Catholic worship community? want to include in our community/congregation? How can we take the opportunity to evangelize both existing and former parishioners?


I would say that united we become a more prominent presence in our local community, with each parish learning the richness that is in the other and combining those efforts presenting a united front to witness to our common faith.


I feel we also need to reach out to the Adrian Dominicans, Catholic Charities and the Catholic presence in our two local higher education facilities. Each has gifts and talents that can enhance what we do and how we witness and this is the way we evangelize, especially in light of the challenge the Diocese has given us in regard to evangelization of fallen away Catholics.


12. How we will choose our name? I think that is a job for the Pastoral Councils to work on. 


13. What is the role of the PPCs during the transition? I would think they would be very involved in steering the right path. I am now under the opinion they are both too large as a working group and perhaps we could form a team of three members from each of the present Councils.


God bless, ~Fr. Tom

SALESIANS PERSPECTIVE:

posted Jun 25, 2017, 10:57 AM by Kurt Weber

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to fear those who try to destroy our souls and to place our trust in God who cares for us. St. Francis de Sales notes:


Everyone desires to embrace the good and fly from what is evil. When we experience an evil, we become sad and desire to free ourselves of this sadness. We are right to seek a means to get rid of this sadness. Fear and anxiety can come from an inordinate desire to be freed from a present difficulty or to realize a hoped for goal.


Whenever you urgently hope to realize a certain good or to escape from a certain uneasiness, you must be especially careful to put your mind at rest and be at peace. When you see that you are becoming anxious, place yourself in God’s presence. Resolve to do nothing that your desire insists on until your mind has regained peace. Be careful to make calm judgments based on the authentic values found in Jesus’ teachings. Then try, without hurry, trouble, or anxiety, to accomplish your desire. Perform the action, not according to your desire, but reason.


When we seek to escape from our troubles, we must do so patiently, gently, and calmly. We must look to God for help rather than our own efforts. If we look to ourselves only, we will wear ourselves out. Walk simply in the way our Lord shows you and don’t worry. Sing songs of praise and thanksgiving. Involve yourself in a variety of healthful activities. Also, revealing the cause of your anxiety to your confessor or a reliable person empowers you to find relief. If we always tend toward God’s love, neither tribulation nor fear of future troubles will separate us from this love. Our love is founded on Jesus Christ, who cares for us and never betrays us. Great indeed is the confidence our Savior wants us to have in His care. All who trust in this confidence reap great fruit.


(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially Introduction to the Devout Life)

June 4, 2017

posted Jun 11, 2017, 6:15 AM by Kurt Weber

Dear Parishioners, 

This weekend we celebrate Pentecost and the Spirit’s descent on the church throughout the ages. That same Spirit is alive here in the Catholic Community of Adrian. As we approach the clustering of our two parishes in July, we are faced with the reality of one priest covering all Masses. This necessitates a change in the present Mass schedule.


Last week three representatives from St. Joseph’s and two members from St. Mary’s met with me to discuss a revised Mass schedule. There were so many factors that needed to be considered in regard to a Mass schedule including: the number of participants at each of the Masses, the attempt to make use of the established choirs and the creation of a Mass schedule that could be handled by one priest in the case of an illness or absence of a priest from the parish.


Starting in early June, Father Rayappa, an Indian Oblates of St. Francis de Sales will be joining us at St. Mary’s and will be with us for a total of three months. Starting in July he will be ministering at St. Joseph’s as well. Father will be here for the summer months but will return to India on Labor Day. The normal procedure for Oblates is this trial basis to see if the individual Oblate can make the adjustment to a different culture. If he concludes that it is something that he can do, he will return to India and apply for a permanent visa and return as the parochial vicar of the clustered parishes of Adrian.


Fr. Michael Newman continues to live with us, but he is in residence, which means his primary ministry is outside of the parishes of Adrian. The demands of his full-time ministry for the Oblate province takes him in many different directions. He is always very generous in offering his services to us when he is available.


Because of these factors, we had to build a Mass schedule that took all of these factors into consideration and this is the mass schedule that will be effective the first weekend of August:


Saturday evening Mass at St. Mary’s at 4PM and at St. Joseph’s at 5:30PM. Sunday morning Masses will be as follows: St. Joseph’s at 9AM and St. Mary’s at 10:30 and 12:30(bi-lingual).


The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available at St. Mary’s on Saturday mornings at 9AM and at St. Joseph’s on Tuesday evenings during the Exposition. Daily Mass will be at St. Mary’s on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:15 and at St. Joseph’s on Tuesday evening at 5:15 PM and Thursday and Friday at 8:15. Please note the change in time of Mass in order to make it consistent in both parishes.


Is this perfect? Obviously not, but I believe it was the fairest way in which we could determine a Mass schedule considering all the factors that I mentioned. No Mass is at its presently scheduled time and all will have to adjust. Do we like to adjust? No. Do we have to? Yes. The committee has already schedule a time to meet again in October to assess how the change is going and to consider any issues that may have arisen.


I know change is difficult but I also know my physical limits. You may even conclude you like changing your Mass time, the pew you currently sit in or even the church that you currently attend. Together we can make this work but divisiveness can also be an source of contention and discord. Especially as we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, I pray you are open to the Spirit’s presence in our midst. This is not the Mass schedule I thought we would initiate but certainly one that attempted to address as many of the foreseeable challenges as possible.

God bless, Fr Tom

May 28, 2017

posted Jun 11, 2017, 6:13 AM by Kurt Weber

Dear Parishioners 

I would like to begin by expressing the congratulations of the entire community to our young people who will be confirmed this coming week. Bishop Boyea will confirm them in St. Dominic Chapel on Tuesday, May 30th. We salute their hard work and effort in reaching this goal and pray the Spirit will fill them with his powerful presence in the following years.


I also want to announce that Father Rayappa, an Oblate priest from India, will be joining me for three months starting June 6th. Our experience has been to allow the individual foreign Oblate to come and let them experience our life before making a commitment of more permanence. If all works out, Father Rayappa will return to India for a permanent visa to allow him to minister with us in Adrian. Let us all continue to pray for the clustering of our two Adrian parishes so that we can better witness our faith to the surrounding community.


God bless, Fr. Tom

May 22, 2017

posted May 22, 2017, 5:47 AM by Kurt Weber   [ updated May 22, 2017, 5:47 AM ]

Dear Parishioners, 

As we move forward in our anticipation of the clustering of the two Catholic parishes in Adrian, it was suggested that perhaps parishioners from here could join the parishioners of St Joseph’s at their weekly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesday evening from 5:45 until 6:45. And hopefully they would be able to join us for our Eucharistic Adoration any time from 8:45 until 8PM. What better way to pray for the union of our two parishes in this impending cluster?


As you read this I am just returning from a week away on vacation in a hopefully sunny location. I will return refreshed and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead of us as we make this important transition. There really are positive consequences to this move that will enable us as a Catholic community to continue as a dynamic presence in the local community.


God bless, Fr. Tom

May 7, 2017

posted May 9, 2017, 4:56 AM by Kurt Weber

Dear Parishioners, 

Thank you are two words not spoken enough in our times so I do not want to stand accused of being ungrateful. We have much to be grateful for in St. Mary’s. The recent celebration of Easter stands as a testament to so many involved in making our celebrations of these important days so uplifting. The liturgies themselves went off without incident because of the capable and dedicated ministries of so many individuals in the variety of ministries necessary. Our environment committee worked so hard to assure the décor added to the solemnity of the events.


Last weekend we watched as our First Communicants edified us all by their reverent reception of the Eucharist. Certainly that reflects the hard work and dedication of our Faith Formation teachers from both parishes giving of their time but more importantly of their love to our children. To the parents who were supportive of the process and are examples of faith for the children, many thanks.


Our Rosary Altar Society worked very hard during the recent semi-annual rummage sale and earned money that they donate to the parish for some projects to support the parish. In recent years they paid to have the Christmas crèche restored and looking so beautiful. It is hard work, yet they do it for the parish.


Our recent decision to sign a contract for the church air conditioning did not come without a great deal of effort on the part of our Building and Grounds Committee responding to what you, the parish decided as your first priority in the poll taken by Father Shaun. Our initial disappointment at projected costs almost eliminated this as a possibility but, with hard work and effort a financially feasible alternative was discovered.


The Finance Committee did their part as well in giving us the guidance of their professional backgrounds to determine what we were able to do in light of our financial situation.


One group often overlooked is our shut-ins. I have never been at a parish where the prayerful and supportive presence of those confined to their homes has provided that extra umph needed to bring a project to completion. No one should consider themselves unimportant or uninvolved. There is a place for everyone.


How are you involved? 

What gifts and talents do you have that can enhance the life of our parish? Time is a precious commodity and yet all these people have the same limitations on time that you have. What can I do for the life of this community? No committee is off limits to anyone wishing to share of themselves. I guarantee the more you give of yourself to any project the more that will mean to you. If you are on the periphery, I invite you to come and see. It is easy to stand on the sides and criticize but involvement teaches how much is involved in any project. I cannot handle St. Mary’s by myself and that will become ever more clear when I assume responsibility for St. Joseph’s as well. Jesus said it best, “Come and see”.


God bless, Fr. Tom M.

April 30, 2017

posted May 9, 2017, 4:54 AM by Kurt Weber

Dear Parishioners, 

I am writing today to update you on some mundane aspects of the parish’s life. Specifically, I want to make you aware that we are in the process of continuing efforts to air-condition the church. Our initial bids, based on plans drawn up by an engineer, proved too costly of an adventure for us. In discussing this further with several local contractors we solicited bids for a system that would not be a Cadillac version but would certainly serve our purposes. This is in response to what you as a parish identified as your number one priority when your opinion was solicited during Father Shaun’s tenure.


We are going through the process of diocesan approval for a project that would cost us $88,000 for the actual ac unit and another $15,000 for accompanying electrical work. Once we get the OK from the appropriate diocesan offices we will sign the contract and our Building and Grounds Committee does not see this as a project that would require a lot of time to finish. With that said, you never know what circumstances happen so I am hopeful, with all approvals in the near future, that we will be able to begin this project relatively soon.


Thank you for your continued support. This brings me to another topic. There are many things that need attention concerning the upkeep of the facilities. You control that by your financial support. As of a few weeks ago, we were about $5,000 behind in our giving from the previous year. That often happens when there is a change in personnel, specifically the pastor. I hope my ten months with you have sated any concerns about what you were getting in this guy from Virginia. My point being that I hear your concerns about various items around the facility but we can only do what your financial support allows us. I never want anyone to go without their necessities but give some consideration in regard to your financial contributions to see if you are giving what you are able.


Many thanks, Fr. Tom

April 23, 2017

posted May 9, 2017, 4:53 AM by Kurt Weber

Dear Parishioners, 

By now you have heard that a decision has been made by the bishop concerning the parishes here in Adrian. Since a report issued by the diocese in 2008 the probability of the merger of the two Adrian parishes was made known. The time has come to begin this process. As of July 1 of this year, both parishes will continue to exist as separate entities and I will be pastor of both parishes.


We are presently working on getting an additional Oblate here in Adrian. Fr Mike will continue to live here in residence but he is not employed by the parish. His primary duties are in Oblate recruitment and working with Oblates currently in formation. In addition to this he is writing


his thesis in order to complete his doctorate. Because of these factors, he will continue to minister with us as his schedule allows. An additional Oblate would be a full time person serving both parishes.


Sister Rita, from the diocese, will join us on the evening of April 26 at 7PM at St Mary’s Church to explain the decision process and answer any questions you may have.


In the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. The clustering of parishes can test this article of faith. I pray we will be able to put aside any differences that may have existed between St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s over the years and become one cohesive Catholic presence in the community. I promise to work hard to make this next chapter of Catholic history in Adrian a positive one. I know I cannot do it alone. Please work with me and our parish staffs as we transition into a more united witness of our one faith in Christ. In the weeks ahead, let us pray for a grace-filled transition. 


Heavenly Father, 

We, the parishioners of St. Joseph's and St Mary’s, 

profess one faith, one Lord and one baptism. 

Bless us as we prepare to cluster our two parishes. 

Shepherd us beyond our wants and fears. 

Help us experience the love and union that our patrons, 

Mary and Joseph, experienced here on earth. 

Bless our parish priests and staff who are most affected by these changes. 

Make us one cohesive Catholic presence in our community. 

Please hear this prayer we offer for and with one another. 

We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen. 


Blessings, Fr. Tom M.

From the Pastor's Desk

posted Mar 5, 2017, 10:23 AM by Kurt Weber   [ updated Mar 5, 2017, 10:23 AM ]

Dear Fellow Parishioners, 

Once again, we prepare to celebrate another Lenten Season. It affords us the opportunity to truly reflect in a serious way about our own personal relationship with Christ. The ashes we may receive are simply external signs that have meaning only when they are reflective of our internal disposition.


As we contemplate the true purpose of Lent, perhaps we might all examine our own conscience to identify an area that we might strive to improve. The decision is entirely ours to make and it should reflect a change in us that would enhance our relationship with God and with others.


The Season culminates with our celebration of the Triduum where we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, the Death of Jesus on the Cross and finally His Resurrection from the dead. His victory is our victory and to make it so we need to acknowledge what we would like to see die within us so that we can rise to the new life Jesus has won for us, not only in the next life but also in the present one.


Once we identify our way of rising with Jesus then we need to decide how to accomplish this and that is what Lent is all about. What prayer or action can I make for my own Lenten Journey that will make me a better person and a better follower of Christ?


Happy Lent 


Fr. Tom M.

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