Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A very big thank you to all of those who came out for our Town Hall Meetings this past Tuesday. Both turned into lively conversations about the future of the parish, and many good ideas arose which I will certainly bring to consultation with the Pastoral Council and Finance Committee. I appreciate the enthusiasm and investment of so many parishioners – I do not doubt that together we will be able to do a lot of good!
For those who were unable to attend, I will share the main focus of the conversation. Of course the most important goal for all of us, the focus of all that we do, is the glory of God and the salvation of souls. That is unchanging in every age and for every generation, and it is something we will continue to work on as we move forward. What does change, however, are the times we live in and the challenges we face. So in our particular time, a time so hostile to the faith, I hope we can all come together in finding ways to break through and help those who have wandered find the joy we have all discovered in our Catholic faith.
Essential to this mission, however, is the temporal realities of our parish. It is with the resources built and maintained by the generosity of the wonderful people of faith here at Notre Dame that we are able to advance the Kingdom of God. Regretfully though, our parish, the Church on the whole in our area, is shrinking, and this presents some challenges in this regard. The catalyst for us to make some changes here is the depar- ture of the sisters from the convent with no prospects of replacing them. This has led to the idea of a potential consolidation which would seem to benefit the parish and help keep it viable for the future. What was pro- posed concretely is that the convent be renovated into a parish center, the second floor be rented to a non- profit organization for office space, and the two homes on Aberneen Road be sold. The justification is that the efficiency of using the houses doesn’t seem to justify the cost of maintaining them. The convent would also offer superior, barrier free meeting space with a chapel. The hope is that the income from the sale of the homes would cover the cost of the renovation, and we would additionally have a source of income moving forward.
I do not doubt many more questions will continue to arise, and I hope to be able to answer them to the best of my abilities. As of now we will only begin the process to see if this is all possible, and what it will re- quire. There may be insuperable obstacles that require us to adjust the plan, but I will keep you up to date as that develops. So please feel free to be in touch with any questions, comments, or ideas – I believe transparency and dialogue are essential. But more than anything, please continue to pray for our parish, that we may prudently and efficiently use our resources, that the parish may remain strong for years to come, and that all of us may be part of a beautiful revival of faith in the years to come.
Yours in Christ,