The State of Things #1 – Pastor’s Reflection (December 6, 2015)
Since we have launched Advent and have a while yet before Christmas, I thought I would claim this Sunday and next as chances to update you on affairs in our emerging parish.
The great bulk of energy in recent weeks has gone into securing our administrative practice. Since our staff has taken shape, it has been a pleasure to develop the routines we need to oversee the maintenance of the physical plant, work effectively with vendors, receive income, and pay bills. In all of these matters we are seeking to create a unified and coherent structure. The next intra-office project for us will be creating a unified staff through the practice of regular staff meetings. With the heart of the operation coming into order it becomes possible to take a larger view of present needs and future planning.
Part of that office work has been the development of a single bulletin for the parish. Already, this move has yielded a cost savings. Fr. Innocent and Rachel Miller have lavished great energy on this work of integration, and for this I am most grateful. All of us have appreciated the candid feedback we have received. No doubt the project will get a review in the weeks ahead.
Thankfully, there is focus and energy for the seasonal practices and preaching that give a welcome glimpse of normalcy. The all-night watch on the Feast of Christ the King left me edified by the number of people who spent the whole night, or came for one of its components. So amply reassured, we may attend to special liturgies like those for the Immaculate Conception (December 7-8), Advent Lessons and Carols (December 13), and Misa de Gallo (December 17-24)
The Parish Advent retreat was one of my first initiatives upon coming to St. Vincent Ferrer in 2010. I cannot believe we are offering it for the sixth time, now to the whole new parish. Please join us on Saturday, December 12, to spend this time of reflection and silence in St. Vincent Ferrer Church, in the special context of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This year we will try to make the link between our traditional celebration of the Holy Season and the events challenging our world at this time. The schedule follows:
Countering Violence with Encounter
The Mystery of the Visitation and the habit of reverence
10:15 Shared Silence
11:30 Sung Mass and Procession with blessing of the new image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
So that we have a sense of numbers, will you please call Rachel Miller at 212.744.2080 to let us know that you are coming. If you forget to do this, come anyway.
The dedication of Our Lady’s shrine celebrates a real achievement of the many people who pray in St. Vincent Ferrer Church. Several years ago we set up a temporary image and invited contributions toward a permanent one. The response has amazed us, and now the image is ready to be installed and blessed. More on the image itself in letters to follow!
The Christmas schedule of Masses will remain as it was last year at St. Vincent’s and St. Catherine’s, with the exception that at St. Vincent Ferrer, the afternoon vigil Mass will move from 5:30 pm to 6 pm.
In the New Year we would like to have a service of Epiphany Lessons and Carols at St. Catherine’s. Please look for details on this as they emerge. We are also planning events for the Week of Christian Unity in January, and a series of Saturday retreats for the ministers of the Parish.
The social life of the parish continues to thrive. If you come to Parish Coffee after the Noon Mass at St. Vincent’s on December 6, you will see that a benefactor has given us a new coffee maker. We are most grateful for a great gift; one we hope will make the work of hospitality easier for those who take it on so graciously. We also hope you will plan to join us for the parish party after Lessons and Carols on December 13.
I plan that next week’s letter will have updates on the development of our Parish and Finance Councils and other topics as room allows.