First of all, I want to thank everyone who stayed after the Masses last week for the discussions concerning the diocesan initiative On Mission for the Church Alive. About seventy-five people stayed for the discussions if you add the three Masses together. Thank you for your participation, and thank you to the members of the On Mission team who helped me at the meetings and who took notes on what we said.
As a brief summary, I started by giving a brief overview at each Mass and expanded it slightly after the Mass. I also gave the summary in last week’s column, but it is worth repeating. The current proposal would have a new parish in our area formed from the merger of St. Malachy, St. John of God and St. Philip. Remember that St. Philip is a recent merger of the four West End parishes of Guardian Angels, Holy Innocents, St. Philip, and Ascension. Two “campuses” would remain open as part of the new parish. This is not final, which is why we were meeting last weekend. We are currently giving feedback to the diocese concerning the proposal. I have to give the parish’s feedback in early June. Bishop Zubik will announce the final decision in March of next year, along with priest assignments. He will also help set a timetable for when the merger would be finalized. Once the grouping becomes official, the pastor and other priests will work with the current parishes. There will be a blueprint, developed by the diocese but adapted for each individual situation, to help determine what staff will be needed, what the Mass schedule would be like, and so forth.
The reaction at the meetings was overwhelmingly positive. Practically everyone felt that this was the best grouping we could hope for. We have a good relationship with the people from the other neighborhoods, and our parish has worked with St. John of God in supporting the school and other endeavors. We also hope that the new parish will offer more volunteers for things such as our Festival and our Fish Fry. But essentially, everyone was pleased with the grouping.
One point that someone made at one meeting is that we need to work on evangelization, bringing our faith to more people. I commended that parishioner for reminding us of what has been a common theme from St. John Paul, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. For us to evangelize, we have to be renewed in our own faith. Let me remind you of the wonderful opportunity we are offering this Monday night. Fr. Joe Freedy will lead Awaken, a powerful evening of prayer, reflection and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Please come and join us for this wonderful evening.