This July I begin my seventh year at Holy Family. The time has gone so fast. I did surprise some of my friends a few weeks ago by telling them I was moving. When they asked "where?", I told them from the upper apartment of the rectory to the basement. It’s cooler and a little more private. At the same time we have re-shuffled everyone in the rectory – except Deacon Ted. Besides getting new rooms there are some new job descriptions. For example, Sharon Carriere will be devoting herself almost exclusively to marriage cases, on a part time basis. It is a big adjustment for all of us since Sharon has been responsible for so many aspects of parish organization. She continues to help guide our new receptionist, Monica Orozco, as well as advising Sarah Naff in her duties as administrative assistant. This month we will also begin the part time help of someone to work with our youth along with necessary organization and support for different liturgical ministers. Many of you already know Vernon Wells because of his excellent work with our youth group, RCIA and adult Scripture study. Vernon also brings some much-needed skills with computers. We have been frustrated and stalled at different times because of computer problems. Anyway, it should be an exciting summer as move forward with new staff people, some of whom have sacrificed higher paying jobs in order to dedicate themselves to work for the parish.
One thing I hope to do this summer and fall is to evaluate how we are doing with some of our parish activities. Last Sunday we did a survey on a small aspect of parish life. I invited those at the 8 a.m. Mass to indicate how they feel about the use of Latin hymns and propers. They were asked to check whether they would like to see more, less or about the same level of Latin. The results were: 49 wanted less, 53 the same and 33 more. People also were asked to offer any comment. Among those who wanted less, the most frequent comment was that they did not understand Latin. Those who desired more mentioned the increased sense of reverence – and the beauty of the Latin hymns. There of course were extremes: a few who would like the entire Mass in Latin and others who are opposed to any use of the ancient language. We will continue to try to keep a certain balance, while we listen to various suggestions. There are other parishes, like St. James’ Cathedral, that use a moderate amount of Latin in their Masses and other liturgies – and it seems to help people enter into a prayerful participation. I’ve noticed in recent years that a lot of the desire for Latin comes from young people, born since Vatican II. The Council itself encourages the continued use of that language and of course Gregorian chant. If you want to have a beautiful, prayerful experience of Gregorian chant (almost all in English) come to the Vespers and Benediction each Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
A larger and more complicated area of evaluation is our parish building and renovation project. At our recent Building Discernment meeting we discussed this need. As you know, last summer we completed a major part of “phase one” by replacing our old school porch with one resistant to earthquakes. Experts have told me the old one almost surely would have fallen in the Ash Wednesday earthquake, taking part of the front of the school with it. This summer, beginning July 16, the work will begin on the permanent canopy above the porch. Where we go next depends on Holy Family parishioners. If we can obtain the funds, we want to put in an elevator, at least to the main floor (hall). Also there is important seismic work to be done on the inside of the school. Before we take the next steps, we would like to take a look at the overall building needs of our parish. Some people from the Archdiocese will be helping us put together an evaluation process which we can use later this summer and next fall. Meanwhile, I ask your patience and support. We have some wonderfully dedicated people working on this and hope to provide as best we can for present and future needs of our entire parish community.
I would like to conclude just a couple of reminders: This Wednesday we will have adoration in our church. It would normally begin at 8 a.m., but since this Wednesday is the Fourth of July we will have Mass to pray for our country at 8:30 a.m. and have exposition immediately following. It will be a good day to come and pray for the needs of our nation. After the 6 p.m. Mass there will be rosary and benediction, followed by a procession to the Ailbe House chapel where Perpetual Adoration will take place on the other days and nights of the week.
This Thursday is the first Thursday of July. As is our practice, Fr. Ramon and I will be available for confessions from 4 to 8 p.m. Next Sunday, at 1:45 p.m., Dr. Hemstad and his wife Darcy will be in the Ailbe House for a class on Natural Family Planning. Married couples and young adults are welcome. Finally, a very important reminder: In two weeks seminarian Armando Pérez will be ordained to the transitional deaconate. That Sunday, July 15, the 9:30 and 11 a.m. Mass will be combined into one bilingual Mass at 10 a.m. Please plan on attending this beautiful event, as well as the reception following it.