So, fun times in the Office and Rectory this past week! If you’ve been calling and having trouble getting an answer or a call back… Patricia was out sick all week and we all definitely missed her. Good news though, she did not have the flu! Bad news, we’re not sure which day she’ll return this week. I also just got a note from Ms. Vee who’s just had a great vacation in Hawaii but has come home ill and she won’t be in this week either! So, be sure to put them on your prayer list!
We also had to buy a new washer / dryer this past week! The washer, only 4 years old, decided to spring a weird leek in the seal into an oil thing (that’s the highly technical term), which ultimately caused a quickly progressive parts failure that totally killed it. Repair cost $900 for non warranty work! Was the seal covered by any warranty, of course not! I’m really disappointed, it’s a Maytag too! No wonder the repair man is bored, no one can afford to fix them! The dryer wasn’t awesome either, although it was working. So, having collected and saved money for repair and maintenance over these past few months, after some deliberation and price checking on new and used machines… we decided that we were able and ought to buy a new set (not Maytag), which was on sale and has a rebate! They will arrive on this week… so if you thought that maybe Fr Carlos, Fr. Dave or I smelled a little weird… now you know why! LOL just kidding! Oh, we also found a good home for the dryer, saving someone else from the unexpected breakdown and purchase of an appliance.
Before sharing with you about the substance of these meetings, I'd like to share about a particular blessing... one from today and over these last few months. Some time back, as it was relevant to the readings, I preached about being community and mentioned that for every nice / affirmative / constructive comment through email, phone or in person... there are 9 more negative ones (a generalization but true in its balance) and I have to admit, there was a bit of rush on negative comments in the first couple of months. Today was interesting in this regard. I first received a beautiful note and a tasty treat that blessed and encouraged me very much (Thank you, if you're reading this). I then received by email a very angry note, and after I responded as charitably and constructively as I could)... it was followed by another email, from the gentleman, which was full of vinegar and personal insults. I truly feel bad for that guy, and definitely prayed for him. But, my real point in bringing this up is to say that over these past few months the balance has shifted and there are many more upbeat positive notes and interactions and a real energy of desire to be part of building an amazing community of faith. I have been very blessed by it all and very encouraged. I can't promise not to make any mistakes but I do realize that at times a critical comment (no matter how its delivered) can be pointing out a truth that needs to be addressed, and I can promise to do all it takes to continue to grow in holiness as a man and in so doing to grow in wisdom and ability as a Priest and Pastor.
So, on with the juicy stuff...
The Finance Council had a good meeting recently... we discussed a lot of things, but I think maybe we need to meet more often or spend less time reviewing past information... (thinking out loud).
There were two or three major items for discussion.
The Stewardship Committee had a long and productive meeting! They were also excited to share many great ideas for reinvigorating the parish! Much of the discussion was about the upcoming annual Bishops Appeal and how we will approach the process this year. But a lot of time was also spent on ideas related to our Hospitality toward and Welcoming of folks who are not regulars of the Basilica as well as various ways in which we can continue to become a much more vibrant and active parish community. We talked about building on the good that is already happening and introducing new ways for us to grow in faith and action. Stay tuned for more specifics, and read the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time 'Weekly Announcements' on this website for a little more information right now! :)
Thank you to all the members of our parish who so generously give of their time and talents in these groups as well as the Parish Council!
Great meeting last night, and it was probably the longest one ever! Thanks to everyone present (and their families who let them give to the parish in this way)... for generous gift of time, openness, wisdom, experience, hope... and for being the voice of other parishioners! We heard about many updates, especially from the Ministerio Hispano / Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education.
Carmen reported that the parish hispanic community has so much going on and is looking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they seek to be ever more alive in faith and ability to live the faith! Deacon Larry said that the CCD / PREP classes are underway and going well, although in smaller numbers this year. The lower numbers is a result of the establishment of the policy that families must be registered in the parish in order for the children to attend classes, and if not, they ought to be enrolled in the parishes where they are registered. We also increased the 'price' for the programs due to the importance of shared responsibility between the parish and the family.
We had a report from the representative for the 'Stewardship Committee' as well. Joanne and Carmen were excited about their experiences this past year at conferences, which gave them new insights and ideas to bring to life in our parish. I noted that these ideas were very much reflective of the parish vision (on the website) and the vision of the pastoral leadership team of Fr. Carlos, Fr. Dave, Dcn. Larry and myself. I'm looking forward to further discussion and implementation of their ideas.
There were also various updates, about the Bookstore, Fraternus, Music Ministry, Financial updates and more. It was just nice to get know some of the leaders in the parish who help guide the community to deeper faith and greater action.
Your current parish council members are: Deacon Larry, Fr. Carlos, Jerry Pangelinan, Rose Dalton, Steve Hambleton, Tony McKinnon, Carmen McKinnon, Andy Del Rosal ... Ad Hoc members are: Richard Conant, Don Tibbits ... New member as of tonight: Joanne Mackey
We will soon be inviting other new members: A Young Adult Rep., Youth Rep., Music Rep., Traditional Comm. Rep., Liturgy Rep., and a couple of 'at large' members.
Just thought you'd like to know...
It’s time to bring out those musical talents you have! This year, with great confidence that there is no shortage of musical ability among the parishioners and folks who regularly attend Mass with us, I believe that we will be able to provide all the musical accompaniment for the Christmas Celebrations without hiring ‘outside’ professional help.
But you’ll have to act quick! Contact Jim Higby, who will be heading up assembling and training our special Christmas Choir for Midnight Mass, and let him know what you have to offer.
If you would like to special donations for our Christmas Flowers and Church decorations, feel free to start sending in your donations with checks made payable to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and marked ‘Christmas Church Flowers and Décor’. Speaking of flowers, this is the perfect time to mention that, we plan to have REAL plants and flowers in the Sanctuary area as soon as we are able, as a regular addition and in place of the former ‘fake’ plants and flowers. If you would like to make donations for this, just mark you check ‘Plants and Flowers-Sanctuary’. The whole parish family appreciates any and all monetary gifts for this purpose, in addition to your personal weekly tithe.
Just thought you’d like to know…
The website https://www.icjax.org is getting some initial improvements and will continue to be ‘tweeked’ over the coming weeks. The ‘tweeks’ will include the ability to hear or read the homilies from your pastoral team of Priests and of course the Deacon too; new access to fillable forms, program registration payments and parish registration; policies and procedures for liturgical ministry roles along with schedules and training opportunities; expanded information for those who plan to celebrate their Marriage Liturgy here at the Basilica; information on ALL ministries and those that are in ‘the works’; and so much more!
Facebook, if you have a facebook account then you’ll want to make sure that you ‘Like’ the official Facebook Page for your parish https://www.facebook.com/firstjaxcatholic/ where you will also find links to homilies, the latest most up to date information about whats going on in the parish and around the diocese; helpful articles for faith formation and education; as well as other ‘For Your Information’ and ‘Public Service Announcements’
My Parish App… if you don’t have it, you’ll want to get it (and if you don’t have a smartphone, no problem, you can access the same information on the web, just not as easily. This app is an important portal to the parish calendar, events, ministry groups, inter group communication, emergency notifications such as during a hurricane, faith formation and education resources, mass times, confession times and so much more… We’re going to be making regular use of this community building tool.
Just thought you’d like to know…
From time to time, the Pastoral Leaders of the Parish Community post Homilies, Parish Updates, Commentary or Faith Formation Reflections.