Thursday, February 25, 2016

There has been some discussion on projects here at St. Michael. Some of those are short term projects that are needed for safety, maintenance and the welfare of our parishioners. Others look more to the future with needs and wants.

One short term project that has been discussed and researched involves turning our current reconciliation room into a handicapped rest room. This would provide access to a rest room without going downstairs to the basement which some people find difficult.

Mr. Joe Ryan from the Diocesan Financial Office has met with our finance committee. Mr. Brian McMichael also from the Diocesan Office, has met with some people in looking at the space. A drawing of the proposed rest room has been submitted to the Diocese for approval. This is all necessary as we would be changing the liturgical spaces of St. Michael and the cost may reach the threshold set by the Diocese for approval by them.

The next steps are to review the project, its purpose, cost, and funding with our own Pastoral and Finance Councils and then submit the following as required by the Diocese:

1.        Three bids for the project. It is suggested that we hire an architect to prepare the project so that all the contractors are bidding on the exact same project. The bids need to be submitted by the last day of the prior month to be reviewed by the Diocesan Building and Improvement Committee meeting at their monthly meeting.

2.       We submit a (diocesan) building construction permit and explain how we are to pay for the project.

Once we have approval from the Diocese, we begin to make the change. We will use the old confessional unless or until the pastoral council\planning group includes a new reconciliation room.

There are many other things which I hope the pastoral council can help lead in terms of a more long-term nature. The rise of the “Nones and Dones” is radically diminishing all churches, including St. Michael.  We are also experiencing many other changes which will continue to affect us at St. Michael. Our demographics will continue to change. Our Baptisms over the last several years are about half Anglo and half Hispanic. Our First Communions and Confirmations are predominantly Hispanic. We will be a bicultural parish for a long time.

I would suggest that we get an outside consultant who can help guide us in our study, reflections, and planning our ministries and programs for the future. We might begin by doing a SWOT analysis (looking at our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). It will be very important that we do a very broad discussion in the parish including representatives of all age groups, Anglos and Hispanics, various ministries, and the school.

The principal and the advisory school board have been working with Jared Weidner in developing a five-year plan for the school. The primary purpose has been to look at the needs from a financial perspective, but finances are also driven by the educational needs.

But as we do this, we are not looking for spectators. We are not doing a preference poll. We are looking for the ways in which we need to grow as a Church. That means we are asking ourselves, What is it that we need to do together?  It includes asking, “What are you willing to do?”

I look forward to continuing the work begun so many years ago in bringing our faith to the Plymouth Community.  By sharing our thoughts, ideas and efforts and seeking guidance through prayer we can continue to make St. Michael Church the place of faith we all want and need.

                                                                                                                                Father John