Gratitude from Padre
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
To begin, grace and gratitude for your continuing commitment and conviction to your parish and school. I am well aware of the sacrifices you have made in giving of your talent, time, and treasure towards our renovation and restoration. Along with all of you, we are blessed to have a parish and school staff that have proceeded commendably as we undertake these tasks. This challenge only was met because of everyone’s steadfastness and being open to and alive with God the Holy Spirit. I personally acknowledge with thanks this witness to every guest, visitor, and myself.
This being said, we remain hopeful that we will return to the church sometime before Easter. And also, we all are aware of the “hidden problems” that are discovered during reconstruction. I hope and pray that all of us will be joyful with the “renovation.” From the beginning, we endeavored to enhance the beauty and spirit of the sacred space within the tradition inaugurated and inspired by Fr. Joseph Spinnelli and the Augustinians, to whom we all remain indebted for all their accomplishments with your support. The Friary gift store, Reconciliation room, Ministers and Altar servers will be stationed as they were years ago. This decision effectively and prudently utilizes our available space to give glory and honor to God in worship and to allow convenience for our parishioners and guests.
These changes require a conversion from us. We will be in need for volunteers to operate The Friary BEFORE and AFTER weekend Masses. It would benefit our parishioners if we could expand those hours during week days. However, let us begin with the weekends. Also, with the certain changes, we will assure that Liturgical Ministers (Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Altar Servers, and Ushers) will receive training upon our return or soon thereafter. It will take time for all of us to adapt and adjust. That Christ-like service that we modeled during our restoration is the same one that will see us through our time of transition. Therefore, please let us remain patient with and supportive of one another.
The Parish Center hopefully re-opens early March. I am confident that everyone will be overjoyed at all the improvements made there. The majority of renovation was covered by our insurance.We have replaced the kitchen cabinets, counters, and sinks, and oven. The entire center has been re-floored and repainted, and the ceiling beams have been re-stained. Also some electrical problems were discovered and repaired, and the a/c units have been replaced. New and updated windows also are on arrival. Our school will continue to use the Parish Center for some classes and for our teachers’ planning periods.
Presently, plans remain underway for The Friary’s former location to be converted into a Eucharistic Adoration chapel and two meeting rooms. I will update you as we receive further information. We are indebted to Gilbane Contractors and their subcontractors. The dedication of these artisans and workers have exceeded duty. They all have been dedicated to our parish’s concerns, needs, and safety. I thank them on behalf of all of us, and again, along with all of you, I too cannot wait “to return home!”
Peace and grace, Fr. Russell
Thank you to all who have committed to our participation in the Catholic Faith Appeal. As of this time, St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church has given a powerful response. Did you know that Catholic Charities is the main charitable arm of the Diocese of Venice? Some of the programs provided by Catholic Charities are counseling; disaster response; financial assistance and food pantries; senior citizens’ services; HIV/AIDS ministries; and special projects such as summer youth camps; and back to school assistance.
Many of us and our diocesan sisters and brothers benefit from these and the many other programs and services provided by the Diocese of Venice through YOUR participation in the CFA. If you have yet to join us, please bring to prayer HOW it is that your talent, time, and treasure can contribute to the mission and ministry of Christ Jesus.
Thanks and peace. Fr. Russell