Browsing The Seed

Beacons of Light Update

As we move through this first phase of Beacons of Light, which began July 1st, I want to bring everyone up to speed on where we stand today. As you know, many parishes in the area have already undergone significant changes to Mass schedules and some have even begun centralizing Masses for their families. This has been hard on priests and parishioners alike, and we ought to pray for our fellow Catholics and give thanks to God that our experience has been far easier at the beginning of this major restructuring of the archdiocese. We will still need to make changes, but I decided to give us a little more time to become accustomed to the idea, as I know there has been some hope that maybe since we didn’t add any parishes, we could continue as normal. But every Family of Parishes has to undergo this process, and we aren’t exempt from that fact. Our general timeline for the Beacons of Light process is:

  • July 2022 – Establish a family council (eliminating individual parish councils – though there are still independent finance and buildings and grounds committees, for the time being).
  • February 2023 – Implement the new Mass schedule
  • July 2023 – Complete the merger process

I’m happy to say we are on track. I contacted and established our family council, recruiting two members from each parish to assist me in my pastoral works, and I am grateful that everyone accepted the invitation. It is a good group, and I’m looking forward to working with them; we will be posting their names in the bulletin soon. We had our first meeting this month, and we discussed what the new Mass schedule will be starting in February, as well as the family patron. This information will be communicated in the coming weeks, and I ask that everyone take time now to pray for a spirit of openness – the main goal has been to find some way to continue utilizing all of our churches, even if a Sunday Mass cannot be celebrated in each of them. I think we have a good solution, even if things will still look different than they are now. As always, we must pray, and trust that whatever God is asking of us will bear fruit, if we say “yes.” The archdiocese has said that, in general, the merger process should take anywhere from 6-18 months, depending on where each parish stands at the beginning of the process. Given that so much work has been done already in the cluster over the last 15 years to move towards this goal, we are in good shape for the future, and I have the parishioners, staff, and former pastors to thank for that. When push comes to shove, our people step up and make the most of what comes their way, and I’m blessed to be able to walk this part of the journey with all of you.

As we draw towards the end of summer, this weekend we bid farewell to Tony Brandt, our seminarian who has been serving in the parishes for the last few months. It has been good to have Tony in the parish, and I have enjoyed his presence here. He is beginning his first year of theology studies at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, and I know he will do well in the midst of that transition. Below are a few words of gratitude from Tony. Let’s remember to keep praying for our priests and seminarians, that our priests may increase in devotion to the Lord and fervor for souls, and our seminarians may know His presence and guidance as they discern the vocation to Holy Orders. One prayer I often add to my meal prayers is a prayer I learned from a pastor during my college seminary years. At the end of grace, he would add: “Please send us more holy priests”. I think this is something simple and good that we could all add to our prayer because the Lord promises that if we seek, we will find. Let’s seek the holy priests we need, encouraging young men in our parishes to make a gift of themselves in this way, because if we seek holy priests, by God’s grace we will find them. May God bless you in the week ahead, and may Mother Mary lead you more deeply into the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus. I remain,

Affectionately Yours in Christ,

Fr. Hess

 

I would like to express my gratitude to Fathers Hess and Jacquemin and all of you for being so receptive and welcoming to me this summer. You are all very blessed to have priests who are so concerned with reverence in the liturgy and devotion to the Holy Eucharist. I hope that in the future I will be able to return to the parish cluster. The tranquil agrarian environment of Mercer County is something that I will miss at seminary in Cincinnati. Please continue to pray for me as I continue on the path towards Holy Orders and be assured of my prayers for all of you.

In Christ, Tony Brandt 

Affectionately Yours in Christ,

Fr. Hess

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