Dear Parish Family,
I write this with a full heart. I could not be more proud of everyone in our two communities. The unity, the generosity, the desire for connection – it’s all been overwhelming. Although this is an incredibly challenging time… and a time that will get harder as the number of cases keeps rising in advance of a peak that we can’t yet forecast… I am beginning to see the wisdom in a
quote I once read by Richard Bach:
“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.”
As evidence, here’s an example. Usually, around 70 people tune in to our Sunday Mass on our YouTube channel. This week, 2,565 did. Just think about how many more people are connecting with us! Our normal weekend attendance between the four Masses in our two parishes is generally around 600. More than FOUR TIMES that number of people worshipped with us last week! And that doesn’t include the countless number of viewers watching us on Mid-Hudson cable in five counties all over this region of the state! Perhaps knowing that can soften the roughness of some of what we’re going through in this time of virtual quarantine. And perhaps it can give us some needed encouragement as we continue journeying through a week when the spread of the virus is far from being under control.
Now despite having a 400% increase in attendance this past week, we only had 50% of our normal collection. So the challenge we’re facing as a parish are serious. In leadership circles, every organization needs to be aware of its SWOTs:
STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS
Our Pastoral Councils used our SWOTs to create our parish Mission Statements, and as a pastor, I am thinking about our SWOTs all the time. While the opportunities of this problem are tremendous, the threats are certainly serious. We can’t operate as usual for long with only 50% of our budgeted income. The bills and payroll will continue to need our attention. It’s a threat we have to face. So please do read the section below on our collections and e-giving plans. They’re important.
We have developed a 4-point Pastoral Master Plan to work with our SWOTS. These are our goals and how we hope to reach them:
- ADDRESS SOCIAL OUTREACH NEEDS
- Bob Desrosiers usually works full time in Faith Formation and Pastoral Care for St. Mary’s. His new job title for both parishes is FEMA Director. (It tells the story of his role in the fewest words possible). He is working from home with a clipboard for each parish, connecting those people with needs with people who can help. His load will be heavy and he appreciates your prayers.
- NURTURE SPIRITUALITY & PRAYER
- Christa Desrosiers usually is our part-time Faith Formation Coordinator for St. Patrick’s. She is now the Coordinator for our small prayer groups and family faith initiatives.
- 15 Small Prayer groups are now meeting on Zoom across both parishes. Do you want to be a part of one? Let her know!
- PROVIDE PASTORAL CARE FOR THE SICK, THE DYING & THEIR FAMILIES
- Bob Desrosiers, as FEMA Director, is your contact for updating the parish on family health situations and prayer requests and for encouraging communication with the homebound and those quarantined in nursing homes and hospitals.
- Michelle Fralick, the Volunteer Pastoral Care Coordinator for St. Patrick’s, is in contact with Ravena Pastoral Care Volunteers and Bob every day to keep everyone updated with prayers and care.
- MAINTAIN SUFFICIENT PARISH INCOME STREAM
- Lisa Muccilli is working hard toward our goal of enrolling a maximum possible number of parishioners in our e-giving program; or if they prefer, helping them use paperless bill pay options through their own banks.
- For those who still wish to mail their contributions to our parish office, Lisa is coordinating the deposits of those donations.
So as you see, we’re all busy meeting the needs presented by this time in our lives and keeping us all connected as one family. We are placing new content online every day!
Check out our…
- 12:30 PM daily Stations of the Cross meditations using parish Facebook Live…
- Fr. Scott’s new YouTube messages on prayer and faith…
- Friday 6 PM live Stations of the Cross from St. Patrick’s…
- Parish hymn sings livestreamed from church on Facebook Live…
- Small Prayer Groups using Zoom…
- 9:30 AM Sunday Mass… It goes on and on…
In an earlier edition of the newsletter, I said that we’d like to offer “Drive-thru Palm Pick Up” for Palm Sunday, but a decree came from the Vatican Office of Divine Worship late this week that palms will not be blessed this year at any parishes in the world, only at cathedrals. So the only palms will be at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Albany, not in Ravena or Coxsackie.
We will be working to find a way to create a grassroots Palm Sunday ritual that is special just for 2020.
Yes, the hard times are here, that’s for sure… but they did not come without also bearing gifts. Let us dig down deeply into our faith and meet this moment so we can remain, as the Governor said this week: “Socially distant… but spiritually connected.”
This comes with love,