Sunday, January 20, 2019

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time - January 20, 2019

Progress at RocKenRo

We clergymen new to RocKenRo have made efforts to get to know you and help you get to know us and to know each other better.  We’ve found ways to meet our routine duties to provide the sacraments and care for souls.  We’ve been listening to you to come to a better qualitative understanding of how you see yourselves and your mission as disciples of Jesus Christ in the context of his Church.  You have helped us and continue to help us in these endeavors.

Meanwhile, we’ve begun a somewhat more quantitative analysis of RockenRo:

People:  What staff positions does each parish have? What are the abilities of each staff member? What are they accomplishing? Where are they headed in their ministries and careers? What organizations are active at each parish? What do they do and what more might they do? What about volunteers and hitherto untapped talent?

Money:  What are our assets and liabilities?  Where does the money come from and where is it going? What’s the future in planned giving and estate bequests?  How can we cut costs or otherwise control loss? Do we need to expand revenue to fuel any expansion of our mission?

Property: What is the condition of our land and buildings?  How do we use them?  How do we need to adapt our usage to better serve our mission?  Are we maintaining these for future use or deferring maintenance to the next generation?  Have we addressed basic safety and security concerns?  What about furnishings and other aspects of the parishes’ patrimony?

Programming: Above all, what happens at Sunday Mass: attendance, music, ministers, preaching, hospitality, bulletins? What about daily Mass? How many people receive how many sacraments through the year? What else happens: religious education and faith formation, care for the bereaved, outreach and social ministry, social events,

As with the qualitative, so with the quantitative: If you have information you think I should have, please email me or convey the information to the pastoral and finance councilors at your parish.

Fr. Dave

Holy Trinity
St. John of God
St. Malachy
Andrew Carr
Linda Gomulka
Joe Maggi
Susan Ruscoe
Rich Murray
Bonnie Pendergast
Ken Zern
Tom Adams
Ron Amity
Victoria Diehl
Sandy Horgan
Alice Kilonsky
Joanne Lorenz
Jennifer Meyers
Patty Beasock
Sharon Cercone
Pat Daily
Zach Hayes
Amy Maxin
Don Murphy
Lisa Worms
Tom Garbin
David Hess
Greg Leininger
Dennis Minzer
Brian Peluso
Claudia Van
Joe Horgan
Doug Nolfi
Steve Sibenik
Bill Stropkaj
Dan Angell
Joyce Chezosky
Joe Colucci
Lisa Polar
Mike Slattery

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Baptism of the Lord - January 13, 2019

Rev. Fr. Ken Keene, requiescat in pace

In what appears to be a combination of an accident with both recent and chronic health challenges, Fr. Ken Keene died suddenly on January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Fr. Ken pastored Holy Trinity Parish for nine years and left only this past October as part of the transitions On Mission for The Church Alive! Fr. Ken also happened to be a native son of Holy Trinity Parish and a graduate of our elementary school. Just these past three months, I’ve already met Fr. Ken’s mother Alvera and his brother Dave, who are both very active at Holy Trinity. Fr. Ken has other family, as well. Please pray for those closest to him who are grieving his death, all too early at the age of 60.

Please remember Holy Trinity Parish in your prayers as well. The faithful there are also grieving and wrestling with the difficult mix of feelings that come with grief. Moreover, in my limited experience, a pastor’s death in office can make it hard in the following years for the parish to continue to adapt and grow. Though technically Fr. Ken had left Holy Trinity, his departure was very recent, and we at RocKenRo need to adapt and grow in the near future. God grant that his death not freeze us in grief, but become an occasion for us all the more to trust God’s Providence and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Speaking of adaptation and the Spirit’s leadership: By the time you read this, I will have met with the pastoral and finance councils of each parish of RocKenRo. I thank you all for your patience as we’ve put these advisory bodies into place over the past three months. One early agendum is how each parish should respond to the request that we consider consolidating the parishes of RocKenRo. A consolidated parish would inherit everything from the predecessor parishes: Churches, schools, rectories, social halls, parking lots, bank accounts, debts, programming, furnishings, donations, bequests, etc.
There’ve been a few last-minute changes at St. John of God: Jennifer Meyers joins the pastoral council. Tee Amity withdraws from the finance council (for reasons unrelated to the parish). Doug Nolfi joins the finance council.
Next Sunday, January 20, we take up the annual second collection for the St. Anthony Program and the De Paul School. These institutions do extraordinary work on behalf of learning-disabled and hearing-impaired children, respectively. Moreover, contributions via the second collection count also towards our parish share, so they benefit the parish even more than gifts in the first collection.
My friend, David Mills, speaks at St. Malachy Church on Tuesday, January 15, at 7:00, as part of that parish’s speaker series. David writes regularly for the Pittsburgh Catholic. He understands the Church unusually well and will speak on distinctively Catholic practices such as holy cards, candles, and the like. Please come and listen.
                                                                                                —Fr. Dave

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord - January 6, 2019

The Manifestation of God in Jesus Christ

Addressing the Church in Ephesus, Saint Paul describes a “mystery now revealed.”  For the ancients, a “mystery” was not merely something unknown, but something destined to be made known according to a ritual process.  The ancient meaning survives in our reference to “murder mysteries,” a genre which is not just about people dealing with a murder by person(s) unknown.  Instead, the murder-mystery genre typically has a sleuth, specially gifted with skills of observation, wisdom, or some other virtue empowering him (or her) progressively to see past the lies, deceptions, and delusions of the many suspects and so ultimately reveal the whole truth and restore justice.

A mystery is being revealed among us.  What is our Lord doing with us?  Who among us are still trying to deceive him, pretending to be devoted to the truth while in fact serving our own interests? Who is paying attention to the clues and helping our sleuth to bring us to truth and justice?  The magi found our Savior by following the intricate rules of astronomy and astrology, and then by sacrificing their science and careers for the opportunity to follow the star to Jesus.

In fact, lots of people are helping.  Pastoral and finance councilors have been advising the clergy on the affairs of our community.  Others have contributed their thoughts and concerns.  Still others forge a path of revival, extending hospitality to strangers or strengthening the faith and trust of those around them. 

Do you get it yet?   Do you see how the mystery is being revealed?  Are you grateful for what others have done for you?  Have you yet responded by assuming responsibility for the health and welfare of the Church?  By gratitude and co-responsibility, our Lord prepares us for the shared life of the communion of the saints, and the communion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The mystery is revealed in Jesus Christ.
                                                                                                               —Fr. Dave