This past summer we held a Parish Family Picnic in August at Frontenac Park in Union Springs. The Social Event planning group has now organized a Christmas /Epiphany dinner party on January 9 at Lasca’s Restaurant in Auburn. This event will start at 6:00 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. I encourage you to make reservations to attend. Hopefully these social gathering will enable you to know more of the parishioners of GSCC especially ones who attend Mass at different churches than yourself.
Last week we were honored to have Bishop Salvatore Matano celebrate the Eucharist with us at St. Patrick, Aurora. This visit from the Bishop also had its genesis in a way from the Visioning Days. It was suggested that it would be good to have a parish-wide celebration of the Eucharist. I then suggest that it might be good to ask the Bishop to celebrate that Mass with us. The bishop was then asked if he could celebrate Mass with us in the fall. Since his fall calendar was already full we were offered the date of December 6. Not knowing what the weather would be like in December for a parish-wide Mass I asked if an Eastertime date was possible. Bishop Matano then agreed to celebrate a Mass for our parish on April, 17, 2016, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which is referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. So on that day the only Mass on Sunday will be at St. Patrick, Moravia at 10:00 a.m. But, since Bishop Matano already had us penciled in for December 6, he wanted to celebrate Mass with us on that date as well. Hence his visit last Sunday; making us twice blessed by his presence.
Also at the Visioning day it was suggested that we better communicate who we are as Good Shepherd Catholic Community. It was mentioned that not all of our signage at the churches and at the parish cemeteries mention GSCC. Through the efforts of Bill O’Connor, (a committee of one), we now have signs at all our churches and cemeteries that include the GSCC parish name. We are still working on a new road sign for Our Lady of the Lake and the Food Pantry. In regards to communication I would remind you that we have a parish web page. The web address can be found on the front page of the weekly bulletin; it is www.thegoodshepherd.cc. If you go to the web page you can find a link to the parish Facebook page as well as the weekly bulletin. Paul Nelson has been busy as our web-master and has now created a link to a parish newsletter. If you would like to receive the electronic newsletter please sign-up for it on the parish website. Hopefully, all of the above mentioned endeavors will enable us to better communicate who we are as Good Shepherd Catholic Community.
The Pastoral Council this fall has been looking at the value statements that were shared at the last Visioning Day in the spring to help them to develop a parish vision statement. The Vision Statement chosen by Council for GSCC is:
As we go forward as a parish may we keep this vision in mind as we plan the activities and live out our mission as Disciples of Christ.
Another suggestion that came out of the visioning day was to provide training sessions for our liturgical ministers. We began with training for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in the fall. The committee that has been working on developing training sessions has been meeting since the spring Visioning Days, developing written procedural guidelines for the ministries that take place within the Eucharist. I personally have meet regularly with this group. We have developed procedures that we felt could be used uniformly at each of our four churches. . We did realize that the different churches have different ways of dividing up who does what on Sundays, so we concentrated on the tasks that need to be done realizing that each church community might arrange who does the tasks differently. The procedural guidelines were developed for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors, Sacristans and Greeter/Ushers. These new procedural guidelines are being sent to all of our ministers in these four areas either by email or in printed form. A printed copy of the procedural guidelines will be kept in each church in the sacristy. If you are ministering in any of these ministries I ask that you read the procedural guidelines carefully and if you have any questions please ask me for clarification. After the New Year we will be have a workshop for Lectors. A special thanks to all who have been working on this committee and all the working groups that took on tasks that were developed during the Visioning Days. I believe that all these small steps we have taken will help us to continue to move forward as a parish. Thanks again for all your help and support.
Have a peaceful and joyful Advent God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill