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

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

May 21, 2016

Where From Here? – Pastor’s Reflection (May 29, 2016)

This past Sunday, in red splendor, we celebrated the Vigil and Day of Pentecost.  With the return of “Ordinary Time,” we rush to conclude the business of this singular parish year before the summer diaspora. Let me try to update you and exhort you in this general direction.

The Mass Schedule
We have worked out a new Mass schedule. We aim for more consistent presence of the Parish Priests, especially the Pastor, at all the Masses. We also seek to work in concert with our neighbor, St. John Nepomucene, to maintain comprehensive, non-duplicative Mass and Confession times in our neighborhood. Finally, we seek a schedule manageable by one Music Director. We will begin to implement the new schedule on Saturday, July 2.

The Music Program
We surveyed the People and Friars of the Parish regarding music, and then crafted a job description, previously published in these pages and on the Web. By our deadline, May 9, we received fifty applications. I have conducted initial interviews with five of the candidates. As of this writing, arrangements are in progress for me to have second interviews with three of the candidates. I hasten to add that others have assisted me in the work of interviewing. However, I do not name them because the final decision will not be easy, it will fall to me alone, and I will bear the responsibility alone. I hope to have an announcement for you soon after Memorial Day.

Parish Registration
This winter we carried out a registration drive for the new parish. This new parish really will be a new canonical and legal entity. I had to be appointed formally as the new Pastor with a term that began on August 1 of 2015. Your registration has legal significance because it attaches you to us at a level deeper than just showing up for Mass or knowing a particular priest. Suppose there is a new Pastor and you are asked to be a godparent and to prove that you practice the faith. Your name on our register establishes your practice of the faith as a public fact clergy can rely on, even if they do not know you personally.
Registration also makes tangible your spiritual connection to the Community of the Parish.

This summer, we will begin to input the material on the forms received so that we can establish strategic, not pestiferous, email communication with the whole parish. We will also begin to respond to those who expressed interest in particular aspects of parish life.
So, if you have not registered, will you please take a few minutes and complete the form.

The Parish Name
One task we have not addressed yet is the name of the new parish. Since last August it has carried the provisional title, “The Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer-St. Catherine of Siena.” Ultimately it is His Eminence who will give the parish its final name. At some point we will submit three alternatives to him. My understanding is that we do not have to accomplish this task before the date of our civil incorporation in September. I would like to suggest this as a Fall project for the The Friars, Parish Council, and then the whole Community of the Parish.

Parish Governance
This transition could not have taken place without the assistance of the women and men who serve us as Parish Councilors, Finance Councilors, and Trustees. A summer’s project will be to put all three bodies into good, combined structural form for the merger. Each needs a clear set of policies for its composition, function, and relationship to the Pastor and the Parish Staff. Details on all of this will be forthcoming.

Going forward, the project at all levels of governance will be to come out of transitional planning and thinking to moving forward as a united community with an evangelical plan.

Religious Education
This summer we will also begin the task of synthesizing a unified Religious Eduction program for the whole parish. Luckily we have a great many resources to work with in this project. Details to Follow.

If you volunteer in the parish in any way. Please reserve the evening of Thursday, June 2nd for our Volunteer Appreciation Party.  Details to follow.

Thank you for putting up with the pacing of this year’s endeavors. I have found this whole assignment manageable to the extent that I avoid thinking about everything that must be done. Rather, I have tried to treat it as a series of projects. In general, the approach has kept us clear of crisis mode, and in general, people have really borne with me.

One more week until Memorial Day!

Fr. Walter