St. Stephen Cathedral Mass
Blessed Sacrament Chapel Mass
Published on December 27th, 2013
I. Feast of the Holy Family: When we think of the Holy Family we may imagine them gathered in the soft light of the stable, safe and warm. But in today’s Gospel we are presented with a very different image: Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus as refugees, fleeing for their lives from the evil dictator Herod. We pray today for the victims of today’s Herods, for all refugees and immigrants, and for open hearts and homes to those who are fleeing persecution and poverty.
II. Holy Day of Opportunity: January 1, Feast of the Mother of God and World Day of Prayer for Peace: the two are connected more than one might first imagine. Mary, Mother of God, is also the Mother of Jesus, the Prince of peace. January 1 is a holy day for practicing Catholics. Our Mass schedule at St. Stephen is: 6:00pm on the eve, December 31; and 7:00am and 12:05pm on January 1. We will also have a 6:00pm Mass at Blessed Sacrament Chapel on January 1.
III. Faith Commitment Response: As of December 16, we have received 247 responses out of 563 total parish families/households for Time, Talent, and Treasure, which brings us to a total of or 44% response; even if we subtracted those in nursing homes and are shut-in, we have 247 out of 500 families/households or 49% response. Thanks to those who did respond! If you have misplaced your response form, you may call or drop by the parish office. It takes all of us working together.
IV. Cathedral Restoration and Renewal: About two weeks ago, I sent each household/family a letter regarding the “State of our Union” in regard to our loan for the renovation of our church building. Indeed, we have a beautiful church building! Now we are challenged to pay for it! Currently, $684,000 is owed on the renovation, which cost a total of $2.8 million. Some of you are in the midst of fulfilling pledges paid through the Memorials campaign, so an additional $98,000 will be received by the end of 2014. We have come so very far, but this means that an additional $586,000 must be raised to completely retire the debt. Beginning in November 2013, we are to repay $11,320 each month toward the loan with interest.
I ask you to prayerfully consider a weekly, monthly, or annual pledge, over the next three years, one that is in addition to your stewardship commitment for our operational budget. In lieu of hiring a professional fund raising group, I have asked each family to return a pledge card. You know the need. Join with me in decreasing our debt.
V. The Connecticut Connection! On Monday, December 16, Bishop Leonard Blair, bishop of Toledo, became the fifth Archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut. The Cathedral of St. Joseph was packed with over 2000 people who celebrated and prayed for their new archbishop. I was one of ten classmates there to support Lenny in his new call, his new mission, his new challenge! His move from Detroit to Toledo to Hartford put my recent move from Bowling Green to Owensboro into perspective! Thank you, God!
In Joy and Hope, Fr. Jerry