I. Welcome to Fr. Frank Ruff, a Glenmary priest who has service served us generously in our diocese for many years. Having retired a couple of years ago, Father Frank now serves as a sub, and is a “champion” for the Unbound organization that has served more than 600,000 children, youth and elderly in 18 developing countries since 1981, empowering them to make choices in their lives, live with dignity, and reach their potential.
Founded by lay Catholics, Unbound matches a child, youth or aging person at a project overseas with a sponsor in the U.S. who cares about and encourages that person. With a monthly contribution, a sponsor helps to provide much-needed nourishing food, medical and dental care, the chance for a child to go to school, livelihood programs for families and much more.
II. The Bishop John J. McRaith Catechetical Leader Award was bestowed on our own Donna Murphy. The recipient of this prestigious award goes to someone who is a role model as an outstanding human being; committed to Diocesan, Parish and Community service; shows a deep sense of spirituality; is knowledgeable and committed to continuing their intellectual, spiritual and collaborative growth. Donna was Director of Faith Formation here at Saint Stephen from June 2014 until June 2018 and before that had a vital role in the Diocese Tribunal Office. Donna, who has her Master’s Degree in Theology from Saint Meinrad, was also on the Pastoral Team at Holy Name Parish in Henderson. CONGRATULATIONS!
III. Update on Catechesis at Saint Stephen Cathedral:
- You may remember that Donna Murphy tendered her resignation as an Ecclesial Minister (professional lay ministry) last year to be more available to her aging mother. Our attempt to replace her position fell on the fallow soil. So I asked Donna Murphy if she would continue to lead our RCIA process for another year. She accepted. Donna will continue on for a few hours per week at the Cathedral. What a blessing!
- Ellen Aud accepted my invitation to coordinate our 1-8 catechesis (Faith Formation for our public school students) on Sunday morning this past school year. Along with our capable and committed catechists (Brenda Pierce, Carrie Warren, Melissa Ashby, Laura Smiley, Kristy Lovett, Nicole Mowen, Ross Leigh, and Jill Leigh), I wish to publicly thank Ellen for “step-ping up to the plate” when we were in a pinch. Ellen’s generous spirit of serving—giving of her faith and time—has been greatly appreciated. I/we are grateful. A huge Thank You to Ellen!
- Hannah Bland, who just graduated from Brescia University last week with a degree in Theology, and who did her internship at the Cathedral (under our own Crissy Stevenson), has joined our pastoral team part-time in the role of Director of Children’s Ministries (facilitating Faith Formation for grades 1-8, First Reconciliation and First Communion process, working with our Child Care, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, helping with VBS, overseeing our Saint Stephen Rosary Makers Ministry, Shaw Ministry, et al). WELCOME to Hannah!
- Rick Rhodes, who has much experience in adult catechesis, will be part-time and responsible for our Adult Formation (coordinating our Tri-Parish Mission, small faith sharing groups, Scripture groups, RCIA, Welcome Back for those who wish to reconnect with the church, guest speakers, et al). So GLAD you are with us!!
I/we are truly blessed with a vibrant and committed team. Thank you for your prayers and support during the last year of transition.
IV. Parish Long-Range Planning: Where are We Going? The first step in this process was our recent parish spiritual health survey, in which 251 people participated. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to participate! The survey results will be published at a future date; the great news is that most of the results were very positive, and yet also revealed some areas that warrant discussion and improvement.
After an initial meeting in April to discuss areas of focus, the next step will be small group meetings, in the next few weeks, to discuss goals in the identified areas of focus. Once goals are set and approved, a final plan will be published and planning groups will move forward with steps to achieve those goals in a three-year timeframe.
The success of a long-range plan will be achieved through prayer and the continued support, commitment, and participation of our parish community. Updates to the planning process will be provided to the parish along the way. Please pray for the success of our long-range planning efforts. If you are asked to participate to help achieve the long-range goals set for our parish, we hope you will pray about it and take the opportunity to help make a positive impact on the future of the faith community of Saint Stephen Cathedral.
Entrust your works to the Lord and your plans will succeed. ~ Proverbs 16:3
V. No Vacation from a Vocation! Even as you travel this summer, make every effort to participate in Sunday Mass. One of the great things about being Catholic is the universality of the sacraments. To find the closest Mass to your location, remember to check Masstimes.org.