Here we are in May, and I do believe spring has sprung. Alleluia!
The last two weekends we had our Annual Pastoral Council elections. The quality of the candidates was exceptional. So many people voted that the counters were here for over two hours on Sunday night. The reason for the turnout, of course, was so that we would have a strong Council for the coming year, when a new pastor will take over the reins.
You should know that we are in a period of change, and as the current pastor, part of my responsibility is to make some changes that will leave the new pastor on solid footing. The future of St. Jerome will almost certainly be that of a one priest parish, with a resident as well as Sunday assistants.
One of the changes will be that beginning in July and August, we will not have a 6pm summer Mass. The last two years attendance has dropped dramatically at that Mass. During the summer, Fr. Mike is away, and I will be on vacation for three weeks, making us basically a one priest parish for the summer. It is too much to ask one priest to celebrate four Sunday Masses. With the priest shortage, it is getting more difficult to get summer help. We are blessed, however, to have many priests available for the academic year.
Also, starting with the next fiscal year, we are reorganizing the parish office. We will be eliminating the full time position for parish secretary. Over the years the requirements for all office positions have changed. Starting this summer, we will be looking for a college student to be a receptionist from 9am until noon Monday to Friday. Then in the fall, Kathy Rohr and Natalie Raduazzo will restructure their hours and work to divide the religious education and parish office responsibilities between them. The office will be open from 9am until 1pm each day.
The new pastoral Council is a strong one, with deep historical knowledge of the parish. I am confident both that Bishop Caggiano understands and appreciates the strength of this parish and that he will appoint a Pastor who will love us and help us to grow stronger.