Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena

A Parish of the Archdiocese of New York served by the Dominican Friars

October 08, 2016

The Devil in the Details – Pastor’s Reflection (October 9, 2016)

Gaffes have become the spectator sport of the election season. Sometimes faux pas come from loss of temper, or from fits of enthusiasm that burst the dykes raised by careful handlers. But most often gaffes come from tripping over pesky details. Every candidate must brave the “gotcha” moments of life. We know that they actually know the answer, or didn’t mean it to come off that way, but their missteps, miscues, and malapropisms allow us to exact a pound of flesh from them for being in our faces so much, for so long.

Details make up that intractable part of life that does not conform to great visions and ideological purities. Details make fun of these grand things and ask how you actually plan to accomplish this project and pay for it. I expect that details will be nipping at our parochial heels for the next year.

Ahead of us are months of the nuts and bolts work needed to make our new parish a comfortable dwelling. We will try to deal with these on as systematic a basis as possible.

Some concrete means of looking at “the little picture” are:

After months of administrative change we will begin to deepen the collegial and
collaborative culture we already have between the staff and friars.

The preparation of a liturgical “Customary” so that celebrants, ministers, and sacristans in both churches find themselves on the same page.

Development of a plan for the governance of the Parish. This will enable the whole parish to
understand better the responsibilities of the Parish Trustees, the Finance Council, the
Pastoral Council, and the Committees of the Parish.

We will also work to continue to develop the means of communication available to our parish community.

Matters of detail often entail a particular “conflict of interest.” One person finds a matter to be central, which another regards as trivial. The only counsel to give both parties is patience. Patience in a community such as ours works in two key ways. First, I must be patient while others spend much time, and speak many words about matters I find to be unimportant. At the same time I must exercise patience when things important to me remain undecided, so that real order in these affairs can emerge. The order that is imposed does not last, while that which is permitted to emerge is tailored, sustainable, and enduring. It is beautiful.

So I ask your prayers for the parishioner, staff, and clergy who need to work out so many things so that our Parish life has the serenity people look for in the Church.

Fr. Walter