Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I again want to thank everyone for your generosity in donating to the parish for the repair of the tabernacle – and beyond! It is a testimony to this parish’s great love and care for the church. Moving forward, there is one more concern regarding the church that I feel compelled to bring up, as it is something I am very concerned about, and I hope to find understanding among parishioners.
As many have noticed, I have put a great emphasis on the Sacrament of Confession. I frequent the sacrament often myself and find it one of the greatest gifts of our faith – a chance to bring to God our many failings, and have Him, in a moment, forgive us and grant us the grace to improve. And the response on the part of the parish for our confession day in Advent was certainly a blessing to see. But as much as I hope to expand the availability of confession, especially with Lent fast approaching, the location and layout of the confessionals has become worrisome. They are inaccessible to those unable to climb stairs (I am told the elevator to reach it has never worked), they are hard to find (which could easily discourage someone who finally builds the resolve to come after a long time), and in today’s age, to continue to be alone in a room that is hidden away is to ignore the sad lessons we have learned as a Church through these times of scandal.
To this end, we are seriously looking into moving the confessionals back into the niches in the main body of the Church. This is a more substantial change, so I wanted to be sure to bring it to everyone as soon as I could. One of the greatest indirect effects will be on the location of the shrines. I know they are beloved, so if anything I hope to give them a more prominent place for devotion. A second indirect effect, partly and possibly to make room for the shrines, is the necessity of moving the organ and choir to the choir loft.
While I hope to discuss with the parish possible placement of the shrines before any decisions are made, we have put in place the process for moving the organ. In discussion with our Music Director Jose- phine, we agree it would be a positive step by its own merits. It would be an improvement acoustically, as the Church was built to have the choir in the choir loft, it would allow for the growth of the choirs, as space is currently limited, and it would also help renew our focus on Christ in the liturgy. Unavoidably and certainly unintentionally, the music ministry in the front can attract attention, and like all ministries, even that of the priest, the goal is not to draw attention to ourselves but Christ. I appreciate the choirs’ understanding, and can- not express enough my gratitude for the incredible gift of their music. I do not doubt the new location will only increase their potential to bring glory to God through that gift.
As always, please know of my gratitude for your prayers and feedback. I am always ready to meet and discuss anything and everything. I look forward in a particular way to discussing potential ways to give a greater place of honor to our beautiful statues of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.
Yours in Christ,