“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:1618)
We all know how difficult a year 2020 has been. As this year draws to a close (and aren’t we all interiorly saying, “Good riddance!”) I would like to acknowledge on behalf of myself, Fr. Joachim, Fr. Ignatius, and the entire parish staff that this year would have been even darker were not for the incredible generosity and charity of so many people. Of particular note, I would like to recognize the following people. I wish to thank the incredible folks from John Canning Co., who continued their work on the repainting and re-decoration of St. Mary Church despite the pandemic and all of the added difficulties the pandemic brought. Your dedication to the project allowed us, in the midst of this strange year, to reopen St. Mary’s as a new and beautifully restored worship space.I wish to thank Fr. Jonathan Kalisch, Lori Myers, Peter Sonski, Matt McGrath, and the (literally) hundreds of volunteers from the parish and from KofC councils all over the state who were responsible for planning and staffing the McGivney Festival celebrating the beatification of Fr. Michael McGivney. To pull off a celebration on the magnitude of what we did, in the time frame we had to work with, in the midst of a pandemic, was nothing short of miraculous. I am sure most of those who attended or followed along online only have the slightest under-standing of the incredible sacrifices made by so many to make that weekend possible.I wish to thank the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, whose support, expertise, manpower, and funding has made so much of what was accomplished this past year possible.I wish to thank the many parishioners who have tirelessly volunteered to assist after Masses with disinfecting pews, doorknobs and other common surfaces. Your generous response to our calls for assistance have helped to keep everyone entering our churches safe. I wish to thank our parish ministry leaders who have done their very best to adapt to changing circumstances to continue to provide as many opportunities for faith formation, ministry, and social outreach as we could reasona-bly provide... sometimes inperson, sometimes online, sometimes some combination of the two. While “parish life” has been far from normal, it has not been entirely absent, either. And that is because of your creative think-ing, flexibility, and generosity in continuing to offer opportunities for everyone to get involved.I wish to thank those who have continued to financially support our parish despite the pandemic. Knowing that many others have been unable to do so, or only able to do so at a reduced amount, those of you who have been able to give as much or even more than before have truly been a financial lifeline for us. Thank you for providing the desperately needed funds to allow us to continue to stay afloat in these challenging times. Finally, and most of all, I wish to thank all of you, our parishioners, who have been so incredibly supportive of your priests and your parish during this difficult year. Those small greetings and gestures of thanks, either in person after Mass or via an email, text message, a note mailed in to the parish office... they make a greater difference than you might imagine. As I said during the homily during the very first live streamed Mass last March, the day after all in person Masses were suspended, “There is no ‘playbook’ for doing this. There is no page in the ‘Pastor’s Handbook ’that tells me what to do when the entire sacramental life of a parish is shut down by a pandemic.” As your priests have all done our best sometimes successfully, and sometimes less so to provide for the sacramental, catechetical, and pastoral needs of all of you, our parishioners, your support and encouragement has meant so much to us. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Fr. John Paul