Within the next few weeks, registration for CCD will be opening for next year. I’d encourage all parents to take advantage of this early registration, because it allows our faith formation team to best formulate the arrangement of teachers, classes, training, materials, and much more. We can then attend to your children’s needs from the very start without any significant changes or interruptions.
Each year we’ve run into the same problems, namely losing catechists and doubling up on classes. Much of this is attributable to tardiness. I suspect that many parents might not see the big picture, because they are only worried about their child. (Fair enough.) Vacations and the busyness of life get “blamed” for the delay in registering. (Not fair.) Then it somehow it becomes the CCD program’s responsibility to make all the pieces fit together.
Quite simply, that will not happen. Registration is opening in March, much earlier than ever before. No parent can say they haven’t had sufficient time to enroll their child for next year. At the same time, please be aware that the absolute deadline is September 15th. With rare exception (someone just moved into the area from far, far away), no student will be admitted after that date. You shall be hearing me repeating this message.
In the Redeemer —
Next weekend a Redemptorist priest will be visiting Saint Clement’s and talking at all of the Masses. His name is Father Anthony Nguyen, CSsR, and he Anthony is associated with the program called Unbound.
In a few words, it is a charitable organization, founded by lay Catholics, which seeks to answer our Lord’s call to help the impoverished, poor, and weak of this world. What is particularly commendable about Unbound is that one is able to see the results of one’s charity in very personal and tangible ways. For example, my hometown parish in Mount Joy, PA has become a sponsor to one child (and his family) in Guatemala for the past 7 years. And, as I understand things back home, this program has found roots in Saint Mary’s not in just a parochial sponsorship, but also in a variety of individual sponsorships.
Years ago, while here in Saratoga for the summer as a seminarian, I learned a very good lesson from a former pastor, Father Kevin Milton. His advice was to be generous, “because, George, generosity brings about greater generosity.” In so many ways I’ve found that to be true over the years. With that in mind, I’ll be sponsoring a child myself, with the hope of hearing over time how a daily sacrifice of $1.18 makes a big difference in another person’s life.
This will be my Lenten sacrifice, which quite doesn’t have an ending. However, I’m fine with that. Maybe there are others who might feel the same ….
In the Redeemer —
We should never underestimate the seeds planted in our lives. When I look back on my life, I see that the two persons who had the greatest impact were my grandmothers. In October, I wrote a 3-part Pastor’s Corner about my mother’s mother and her extended ordeal in the hospital. Oh, I learned so much more from her, but that episode was her pinnacle lesson:
Always be thankful of blessings received, regardless of results.
My father’s mother didn’t share any dramatic moments like that with me. Her influence was steady, sure, and quiet. We lived nearly 80 miles away, but we traveled upstate many weekends during my childhood. I could expect certain things to happen with each visit: seeing her taking a long break to say her rosaries, and see her kneeling and praying with her old Polish prayer book come nighttime. Grandma had the most tinny voice, and while I almost wanted to cover my ears at Sunday Mass, I could also hear a deep faith in those raspy, warbling notes.
From my perspective, grandmothers are the ones in the best position to share the goodness, the truth, and the beauty of the Faith. I hope and pray that is same can be said for you and your grandmothers! I was highly blessed, twice over! I pray it is the same for you.
Regardless of who you are—grandmother, or grandfather, mom or dad, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, cousin or friend—the impact we have upon each other is quietly immeasurable. I say “quietly” because it may take half a lifetime until those seeds burst forth and bear fruit. What you say and do now, for good or for ill, will shape another person. It took me years to fully realize these two blessings.
What kind of example are you? Will another appreciate virtue because of you? Or will they learn vice? What seeds have you planted so far? What seeds will you plant in the future?
In the Redeemer —
End of January:
Time has flown by, hasn’t it? It seems like yesterday we were welcoming in the new year, and now we’re already into February! The groundhog has come and gone, and regardless of what he prognosticated, we still have six weeks of winter to go. But hopefully those few weeks will fly by, too! Oh, and right around the corner is Lent! Yes, ashes on the forehead ready on March 1st.
Last year I heard many people making comments that somehow Lent felt “different” than in years passed. Was that because it fell in the Year of Mercy? Was it because we were already weary of politics and our minds were turning toward more important things, like our spiritual well-being? Was it some other, indiscernible reason? I suspect only the Good Lord knows why I was hearing that thought voiced by so many people.
With that in mind, what to expect this Lent, to make it different, to make it meaningful and blessed?
Well, one thing to expect is a Mission toward the end of March. Father Charlie Coury, CSsR will be giving a Mission here at Saint Clement’s from Monday the 27th thru to Thursday the 30th. He’ll be arriving a few days earlier to preach at all the Masses the weekend of the 25th & 26th, so you’ll have the chance to size him up ahead of time ….
And what do I hope for?
I hope that all of Saint Clement’s parishioners will show up for all those evenings, to take full advantage of a Lenten Mission. I hope that you all will tentatively mark it down on your schedules. And, after hearing Father Charlie that weekend you’ll but up to giving it a go of giving the Good Lord a chance to speak to your hearts, thru him, the rest of the week!
In the Redeemer —
Two weeks ago Father Bob and I were in New Jersey for our Chapter. This is the legislative body for our Redemptorist Baltimore Province, and we meet every four years.
When I was in Seaford, a parishioner paid me what I considered to be a great compliment. She said: “Father George, what I like about you is that you’re a straight shooter.” I hope that I am that and that I always aspire to being that. And, with that in mind, I’d like to do some straight shooting ….
At our Chapter it was decided that by the summer of 2019 that we need to withdraw from “at least 3 places.” Considering many factors (primarily age, health of the confreres, and the number of priests available) we see this withdrawal as necessary to maintain our charism as religious. Chances are that another four years from now we may find ourselves needing to look at this situation once again.
What does that mean for Saint Clement’s? Does that mean the Redemptorists are leaving? I would not say that by a long-shot, however, there is a distinct possibility that we might be leaving by 2019. And if we do not, then there is still the distinct possibility that we might depart by the summer of 2023.
Most people want to know how things stand, whether for better or worse. Again, I am simply saying “we might,” which is quite different than saying “we are.” It would be disingenuous to act as if nothing has happened at our Chapter, as if nothing will affect Saint Clement’s. Yet, I figure that most people appreciate hearing an honest assessment, regardless of how it may play out. When will we know anything concrete? I suspect that a year from now we will know one way or another about 2019.
In the meantime, may we continue to grow in the Lord’s great blessing, in our ministries, in our catechesis, and in our worship and prayer.
Christ’s abundant blessings upon all!
In the Redeemer —
A Pro-Life Prayer for Our President and Public Officials
Lord God, Author of Life and Source of Eternal Life, move the hearts of all our public officials and especially our President, to fulfill their responsibilities worthily and well to all those entrusted to their care. Help them in their special leadership roles, to extend the mantle of protection to the most vulnerable, especially the defenseless unborn, whose lives are threatened with extermination by an indifferent society. Guide all public officials by your wisdom and grace to cease supporting any law that fails to protect the fundamental good that is human life itself, which is a gift from God and parents. You are the Protector and Defender of the lives of the innocent unborn. Change the hearts of those who compromise the call to protect and defend life. Bring our nation to the values that have made us a great nation, a society that upholds the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
Mary, the Mother of the living, help us to bear witness to the Gospel of Life with our lives and our laws, through Christ, Our Lord.
Imprimatur: January 22, 2009 + Most Reverend Robert J. Baker Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama
Sometime in the near future you’ll be seeing in, out, and about the property, a surveillance system. An anonymous parishioner has made a sizeable donation to Saint Clement’s (thank you!) and the timing of that gift is propitious. After a year and a half of assessing things, I believe it is a good move for us to set up a digital surveillance system—in the church, gathering space, and with an upgrade within the school building—and outside covering each entrance, the whole of the parking lot, and the playground.
Before all else, I want to make reasonably sure that Saint Clement’s is a safe place. Having an elementary school next door makes it even more necessary to set it up and modify what we already have. Sadly, we live in a world where even a seeming serene town like Saratoga Springs can be a “dangerous” place to live. Various small events have convinced me that this deterrent and aid are imperative. And while such a change may be disquieting to some, I suspect that most will welcome it as good and practical .
Nevertheless, cameras cannot see everything, nor can they evaluate problems. It still takes vigilance to make a place as safe as it can be. It also takes smarts. Please make sure your cars are always locked up with nothing valuable showing. And ladies, please consider keeping your purses with you at all times, even when coming forward for communion.
In the Redeemer —