September 9, 2018 Twenty-Third Sunday Ordinary Time

Kind of a boring picture of me without Heidi isn’t it! I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all who have reached out to me in various ways offering support and prayers at the death of my 15-year old dog Heidi.  On August 23rd, due to her failing health and quality of life, I had her euthanized.  Your kind hugs, words, cards, flowers, cookies and sweets have all made the grief journey more bearable.  Many have asked am I going to get another dog?  I don’t plan to at this time.  Seven years passed after I put my dog prior to Heidi down before getting Heidi.  I need some time to grieve and with retirement on the horizon in 2022 and not yet having decided where I will be living upon retirement, I wouldn’t want to get a dog now and later find out I couldn’t keep it.  I am tempted however, next time I visit Fr. Mark’s farm so sneak a piglet home – they have 15,000 of them….surely they wouldn’t miss one! Would they?

Included in today’s bulletin is the annual financial report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018.  The Diocese requires pastors to provide a yearly report to parishioners so that they are aware of the financial state of their parish. The report shows a robust increase of 10% in the Sunday collection over the previous fiscal year.  Your overwhelming response to my request last year for an increase in the Sunday collection put our parish at the top parish in our Diocese to increase their Sunday collection.  Thank you for your incredible generosity!  And because of your generosity much has been accomplished this past fiscal year. I’ve been concerned about the safety and security of children attending RE classes, as well as all who use the Parish Life Center.  There has been no way to communicate throughout the building an emergency situation such as a tornado or other life threatening situation.  We have now installed a public address system in the hallways that can be heard in the classrooms and throughout the center.  We have also install a security camera system throughout the building.  WI-FI is now available throughout the PLC enabling access to internet programming for RE classes and adult formation programs.  Our phone system, computers and monitors have been updated.  Video screens have been installed in the lobby on the PLC and narthex of the church which display information about upcoming programs and activities as well as funeral information for parishioners who have died.  So a lot has been done to enhance our communications efforts.  Some new ministries were started.  Moms & Tots enable young mothers to come together in support and prayer.  Fit Shepherds, a men’s exercise group enable guys to bond in friendship and masculine spirituality.  Mary’s Squad is the women’s version of the men’s exercise group.  But most of all, the increase in the collection has allowed us to hire a full-time Director of Evangelization and Communications.  Evangelization is the next area that we are going to focus on in the coming months.

So, I am asking for your continued financial support of OLM.  Next weekend, September 15/16 is our annual “Commitment Sunday” for your weekly/monthly support of our parish through the Sunday collection.  You will receive your commitment card in the mail this week.  Please pray about your financial support and the parish and fill out the card and bring it to Mass next Sunday.

Again, I thank you so much for your support!

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don