The Pastor's Column (Archive 2011)
December 25, 2011
On this Christmas Day, I wish our parishioners, our guests, your family, and your friends a very joyful day as we honor our Lord’s birth. May God bless your gatherings and keep you safe in travel.
On behalf of Fr. Henderson, Fr. Paul, and myself, I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation for the Christmas cards we have received from our parish families. It is our pleasure to be with you at this parish and I am very grateful for your good wishes.
December 18, 2011
During this final week of Advent, we prepare to welcome Our Savior at Christmas. Please note the schedule for confessions this week, through December 24th. I also draw your attention to our Mass schedule. On Christmas Eve, in place of our regular 4:30 and 7:30 pm Masses, we will have our traditional 4:30, 6:30, and 10:30 Christmas Eve Masses.
Please help us decorate the church. We will unpack the garland after the last Mass on this Sunday at approximately 12:45 pm. Then, Monday evening, at 6:00 pm we will decorate the church for Christmas. Please join us. These gatherings are fun and festive, and many helpers make the work go by quickly.
If you will be traveling for Christmas, I take this opportunity now to wish you a very Merry Christmas and blessings for you and your families. May the peace of the newborn Christ child remain with you.
December 11, 2011
This weekend the Diocese of Peoria will conclude an investigation of an alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Because of my work in the Tribunal, I was privileged to have a role in this canonical investigation. This investigation concludes with a Mass at the Cathedral this Sunday, December 11th, which I will attend.
The alleged miracle concerns a child who was born without a pulse and was without vital signs for 61 minutes until his resuscitation. The family is devoted to Archbishop Sheen and prayed for the child’s recovery. The child appears to be in normal health today. More information about this case will appear in the Catholic Post.
On this Gaudete Sunday, let us rejoice in the many good works of the Lord. Let us continue to prepare ourselves for the greatest gift of all that we will receive on Christmas Day when we welcome our Lord in a deeper way into our hearts and lives.
December 4, 2011
Please be aware of the Holy Day of Obligation this week of the Immaculate Conception. We recall the gift given to Mary in that she was conceived without original sin. By this gift, she was made worthy to be the Mother of God. Masses will be offered Wednesday evening and Thursday for the Holy Day.
During this Advent season, please also note the additional confession times offered. Part of our spiritual preparation for Christmas should include making a good confession.
Finally, after my financial presentation to the parish in October, I thank you for your generosity in November. The total Sunday collection for the month was equal to our budget. Thank you for your support.
November 27, 2011
With this Sunday, we not only begin the season of Advent and a new Church year, but we also implement the new translation of the Mass. You will see additional pew cards with the changes highlighted in bold. As long as you remember to say, “And with your Spirit,” instead of, “And also with you,” the rest of the changes will not take long to become familiar.
The changes in the Mass will affect the priests (and deacons) more than the laity, as the clergy have more changes in the Mass to learn. These changes give us all the opportunity to hear the Mass anew.
As we introduce these changes, I would also like to implement one other change. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal indicates that the time to stand at the offertory is when the priest addresses the people, “Pray, brothers and sisters, that your sacrifice and mine...” Rather than standing at the washing of the hands, we will stand at this invitation.
November 20, 2011
I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving this week!
Please note the Mass schedule, as we will have one Mass on Thanksgiving Day at 9:00 am. Please come to our special Mass to give thanks to God as we begin our celebration of this holiday. We will accept donations of food for local food pantries and contributions for the needs of the poor. Thank you.
Since we celebrated the anniversary of our parish dedication, I have received some requests from parishioners who are interested in learning more about Msgr. Livingston’s design of our parish church. You can read a transcript of Msgr. Livingston describing the church on-line: http://www.jgray.org/svdp/livingston.html
November 13, 2011
Last week, I mentioned the Reid study that the Diocese of Peoria is undertaking to help evaluate the effectiveness of each of our parishes. The title of this study is “Growing In Faith Together” or GIFT. As part of our self-study, I have called upon a group of parishioners to help advise me. I am grateful to Tom Duncan, Carol Wake, Lon Lyons, and Rebecca Wise for agreeing to serve.
The entire parish is invited to be a part of this self-study as well. Would you consider taking a moment to answer the following questions? You are invited to submit your answers in writing to the parish office or in the collection. You may also e-mail your answers to our parish address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your help.
1) What do you consider to be the greatest strengths of St. Vincent de Paul parish?
2) Where could our parish grow stronger?
3) Do you have specific suggestions regarding...
4) How could we work with other parishes to promote a more lively Catholic community in our area?
November 6, 2011
November is a month to pray for those who have died. It is our custom to put the Book of the Faithful Departed in the foyer. You are invited to record the names of loved ones who have passed away. Please remember to pray for them and all the faithful departed in the month of November.
Beginning this fall, the Diocese is conducting a parish survey with the help of the Reid Group. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of each of our parishes and determine how parishes can be more effective.
In some cases, smaller parishes may be asked to merge with one another, or partner in a way to share clergy. However, even in the case of larger parishes, there are still ways in which we can pool resources or share programs so as to help each other by mutual cooperation. This fall, I met with a group of parishioners to begin our process of evaluating our own strengths and weaknesses at St. Vincent de Paul. Our goal is to learn where we can share our strengths with other parishes, while drawing upon their strengths at the same time. Our hope is to work together in a way to make the entire Catholic community in Peoria more vibrant.
Next week I will provide a brief survey in our bulletin as a means of receiving feedback from the parish at large. Your feedback will be an important and helpful part of making this diocesan project successful in our area.
October 30, 2011
Today we celebrate the 34th anniversary of the dedication of our parish church. We are reminded of the visionary spirit of our founding pastor, Msgr. Livingston, whose inspiration is seen in the every part of our parish church. As we honor this dedication, may we all be true temples of the Holy Spirit by the way we live our lives.
On Tuesday we celebrate the Holy Day of Obligation of All Saints Day. Please see the Mass schedule and make arrangements to attend Mass on Monday evening or on Tuesday.
Finally, we look forward to the Blue Ribbon Ball this Saturday, the main fundraiser for our Women’s Guild. If you would like to attend, please be sure to purchase your ticket this weekend.
October 23, 2011
On Thursday of this week, October 27th, we will participate in the 40 days for life. Please join us for a time of adoration from the morning Masses to 7:00 pm, or consider joining the silent vigil outside the abortion clinic.
Next Sunday, on October 30th, we celebrate the 34th anniversary of the dedication of our parish church. This anniversary is a special solemnity for our parish, so we will substitute special readings for the readings for Ordinary Time that would otherwise be read.
October 16, 2011
We look forward to the introduction of the new translation of the Mass to be implemented in Advent of this year. There are several things we are doing to prepare for this new translation:
Last weekend after Masses, we showed a video from Bishop Jenky about the themes in the new translation. Several bulletin articles have discussed some of the changes. There will be more bulletin articles in the weeks to come. We have also been practicing new Mass parts from the Mass of Wisdom which use the new translation. The new Mass parts are also printed on cards in your pews.
When the new translation is implemented, we will introduce new pew cards with the new responses of the congregation. At that time, I will also ask the congregation to remain seated for the washing of the hands and wait until the Orate Fratres (Pray, brothers and sisters…) to stand.
While these changes are relatively minor, this new translation will be an opportunity for each of us to rediscover the beauty of the Mass.
October 9, 2011
First of all, congratulations to all of our students who received the sacrament of Confirmation this week. May the Holy Spirit always strengthen you.
This weekend, I present the annual financial report to the parish. I begin with a tremendous word of thanks for the generosity of our parishioners. You have increased your regular Sunday contributions from the previous fiscal year. I appreciate the sacrifice especially during these economically challenging times. We have also received extraordinary gifts from parishioners who contributed to our school playground and from parishioners who have remembered St. Vincent de Paul School and Parish in their wills.
However, our weekly bulletin reminds us that contributions for this fiscal year, beginning July 1st, have been down. I ask for your help. St. Vincent de Paul depends on your generosity. I am especially appreciative because I know the sacrifices involved in offering your regular support.
We put our trust in God and ask for his help and his blessings. May the Lord reward you for all that you do to support our beloved parish and school.
October 2, 2011
This Thursday, October 6th, we celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation for our eighth grade students. I ask you to join with me in praying for them as they receive this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is a good time to remind those already confirmed of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we should draw upon each day: The seven-fold gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
I would also like to thank Fr. Mike Adrie and Deacon Joe Dockery-Jackson for their time in sharing with us the progress made in the Church in Ghana. Your contributions to this mission appeal are greatly appreciated.
September 25, 2011
On Tuesday, we will celebrate the feast day of our parish patron, St. Vincent de Paul. Bishop John Franz named our parish after St. Vincent de Paul because the Church celebrated the 300th anniversary of St. Vincent’s death around the time our parish was founded in 1962. As our parish approaches our 50 year anniversary, may we continue to be inspired by St. Vincent’s dedication to the faith and his concern for those most in need.
We will celebrate this anniversary in a few ways. In addition to our regular morning Masses, we will celebrate our school Mass on Tuesday in place of Friday. Please join us for Mass on this special day.
Our school children will also bring in non-perishable food items for local food pantries in honor of St. Vincent de Paul’s with the poor. Please join the school children in making a contribution to needs of the poor.
Next weekend we will have our annual missionary appeal. We will again invite Fr. Mike Adrie from the Society of Missionaries of Africa to speak about the needs of the Church in Ghana.
September 18, 2011
Last year, we introduced opened up the role of usher at Mass to several of our high school students. This has been a very positive experience, both for the adults who appreciated the extra help, as well as for the students who have found a new way to be involved in parish life.
Next month, some of these students will also help periodically as lectors for Mass. I appreciate their willingness to stand up to read the opening announcements and scripture passages. With the permission of the vicar general, a few of the high school seniors will also be installed as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Please encourage our young people as they take on additional roles in our parish.
Any high school students who would like to join our usher program are invited to fill out the volunteer form in the back of the church or call the parish office.
September 11, 2011
Many of you may be aware that the Church will be introducing a new translation of the Mass beginning in Advent this fall. A few observations may be helpful:
The changes will be minor compared to the changes that followed Vatican II when the Mass changed from Latin to English. The current formula for the Mass (the Novus Ordo) is not changing at all. It is only our English translation of the Latin text that is changing. When the Mass was introduced in English, all the readings and prayers had to be translated by a committee very hastily so it could be introduced. As time has passed, the Church has reconsidered the principles involved in the translation. The current changes, over ten years in the making, will actually provide a more accurate representation of the Latin texts for the Mass.
These changes will involve learning a few different responses from those that we are currently familiar with. When Advent approaches, we will have some cards available to make it easy to remember the minor modifications. To tell the truth, the priests will have more to worry about with the new translation, since there are many prayers that priests recite by memory which we will have to relearn. I believe this time will be a chance to hear the Mass anew, which is really an opportunity to rediscover the Mass especially through the richer and deeper language that we will hear.
In Advent, there is another change that we will also introduce especially at our parish. We are in the custom of standing at the washing of the priest’s hands at the offertory. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM, 43) directs the congregation not to stand until the invitation, “Pray, brothers and sisters…” In Advent, we will also make this adjustment to be in line both with the General Instruction and the common practice of the other parishes in our area.
School support contributions for September will be applied to tuition assistance for needy families.
The sign up sheets from our ministry fair are found in the pamphlet rack by the parish office window.
September 4, 2011
I wish everyone a very happy Labor Day. Please be aware that there will be one Mass on Labor Day at 9:00 am.
On the Monday after Labor Day, we will begin our classes for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). These are the classes for adult converts who are interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith. Classes begin on Monday evenings after Labor Day and run until Easter.
Do you know anyone who should think about becoming Catholic? Do you have a family member or friend who you can invite to join our Faith? Please encourage them to consider this possibility. If you know of someone, please contact the parish office or encourage them to attend the opening inquiry session on Monday, September 12th, at 7:00 pm in the music room.
August 28, 2011
This weekend we have a ministry fair in the foyer of the church. Information is available about serving as a lector, an extraordinary minister, an usher, or a choir member. Please stop by to consider a way to become more involved.
Beyond these ways of volunteering, there are other ways to serve. Consider joining the parish pastoral council. The parish council selects individual topics to work on that benefit our parish life. This year, we plan to work on two areas: our preparations for the parish’s 50th anniversary next year, and ways to promote the liturgy. (I have presented some talks recently on the liturgy and we will experience some minor changes in our English translation of the Mass beginning in Advent.) If you’re interested, please find the application forms also in the foyer.
We also need some volunteers ready to give a little of their time to help school and CCD children who need to catch up on one of their sacraments. We provide some supplemental instruction for children who have missed a sacrament but need to prepare for baptism, confession, or first Communion. Please contact the parish office if you are interested.
Thank you for volunteering and supporting St. Vincent de Paul!
August 21, 2011
We welcome our students back to school on Monday. Please note that there is no parking along the University entrance on school days in order to facilitate the parents who are dropping off or picking up their students. Please observe this no parking zone in order to allow cars to enter and leave the parking lot smoothly and safely.
Last Saturday, the work was done to repair and seal coat the north parking lot. I apologize once again for any inconvenience in closing down that part of the parking lot to complete this project. This repair was made possible by your generosity in contributing to the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Your donations in excess of our diocesan goal provided the funds for this repair. Please note that the parking stalls have been changed from 8½ feet to 9 feet in width. (The main parking lot uses standard 9 foot stalls.) You should find parking in the north lot easier and less congested.
Also, a reminder that on August 27-28, we will have a ministry fair to encourage participation in our liturgical ministries. Please consider helping us as a lector, extraordinary minister, usher, or musician.
August 14, 2011
Please note that the Solemnity of the Assumption, August 15, is not obligatory this year because it falls on a Monday.
On August 27-28, we will have a ministry fair to encourage participation in our liturgical ministries. We will have representatives in the back of the church for our lectors, extraordinary ministers, ushers, and musicians. You will have an opportunity to learn more about these activities and sign up in your area of interest.
During the months of June and July, you contributed $3,665 in the School Support envelopes. As I mentioned, this money will be applied to our computer budget, and will pay for the cost of four new computers in our library and a new Mathletics program that will provide additional individualized support in our math curriculum for students at all grade levels. The School Support envelopes in August and September will be applied to the financial aid needed by our families in excess of our budget.
August 7, 2011
As I announced last week, Fr. Don Henderson has had shoulder surgery and will not be able to assist us for several weeks. His surgery went well and he is now recuperating. We pray for his speedy recovery. In the meantime, Fr. Paul Ngoku has come to help us from the Diocese of Kitui in Kenya. He will be with us temporarily until Fr. Henderson is back to full strength. Please welcome Fr. Paul to our parish!
Our parish continues to reach out to school families in financial need. With the help of our finance council, we have increased the amount of tuition assistance available from $82,000 last year to a budgeted $87,000 this year (a 6% increase). Unfortunately, requests have already exceeded this budget, as we have made aid available of $94,000. In order to help with this expense, I will dedicate the “School Support” envelope contributions for August and September to tuition assistance. Thank you for your support of our parish and school.
St. Vincent School News
In order to maintain our high academic achievement, the faculty at St. Vincent School are forming Professional Learning Communities (PLC) for the new school year. These PLCs enable teachers to work together to cooperatively plan instruction for all students.
Every faculty member at our school has been assigned to one of these Professional Learning Communities in the school. Each team works together to reduce repetition and challenge each student to be the best that he/she can be. They work as a team to plan, coordinate, and evaluate curriculum and instruction across academic areas, cooperatively planning thematic units for each student’s benefit.
Carving out the time for these Professional Learning Communities to meet will be a great investment to improve the overall quality of our school. Later in the fall, we will introduce an early 2:30 PM dismissal on Wednesdays to provide the teachers with this additional planning time.
This concept and its rollout will be explained in greater detail at the back-to-school parent night on Thursday, September 1st.
Dr. James Minick
July 31, 2011
This weekend, we bid farewell to our seminarian, Alex Millar. He leaves to spend time on retreat before returning to Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary later in August. I am grateful for his assistance with various projects this summer, and especially for guiding our new servers through their first times serving. Baskets will be available after Mass for anyone who would like to leave Alex an offering for his expenses in seminary during the year.
Thank you to the volunteers who helped to paint classrooms in the school. We painted four classrooms in a few hours and touched up a few other areas. The project went so well that some volunteers spoke about painting some of the school hallways over the Christmas break. More information will be forthcoming.
I regret any inconvenience caused to any parishioners who may not have received their July contribution envelopes. I have addressed this with our envelope providers. Your contributions are both needed and appreciated. I thank you for remembering our parish in August.
On Thursday, August 18, Msgr. Gray will present a talk on John Paul II’s encyclical: Dies Domini (The Lord’s Day). This document talks about the importance of keeping holy the Lord’s Day in our ever increasingly secular society. The presentation will address the theological importance of Sunday as the Day of Resurrection, and also the practical question of keeping Sunday as a day of prayer and rest. The presentation will be held in the Parish Hall, Thursday, August 18, at 7:00 pm. For those who would be interested in further study, study questions will be available for a discussion group on August 25th.
July 24, 2011
We are now one year away from the celebration of our 50th anniversary as a parish. One of our projects for this year is to work on a 50 year parish history. To help with this project, I have asked Jennifer Flaherty to assist us in a couple ways. Jenn will help us maintain our list of alumni from St. Vincent de Paul School. We will be turning to the alumni to share stories from their time at St. Vincent. We will also assemble a collection of various photos to compile in our parish history.
To this end, do you have any photos that we can scan for this project? We are looking for the following:
Congratulations to Robert and Diane Parrish. Their daughter, Jessica, recently received the habit as a Carmelite novice on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. She is now called Sr. Gemma Rose of the Mother of God. Congratulations!
July 17, 2011
I would like to remind the parish about the work day scheduled for July 23rd beginning at 9:00 am. The goal for the day is to paint some classrooms and hallways in the north section of the building, as well as trim part of the hedge by the rectory. We need your help! If you have any questions, please contact the parish office or Jeff Polonus of the Men’s Club.
Beginning in September, Mrs. Wake and I will invite students from our school Masses to sing periodically at our Sunday 12:00 noon Mass. We would be happy to have some adults help with this new endeavor. If you sing or play an instrument, and if you’re willing to help our children at this Mass, please contact myself or Carol Wake.
If you have any tools that would help with these projects, please call the parish office of Jeff Polonus. Painting supplies, hedge trimmers, or hedge clippers would be useful.
July 10, 2011
In the month of July, we began a new fiscal year in the parish. This may be a good opportunity to remind parishioners about the purpose of each of the envelopes you receive in your contribution packet.
July 3, 2011
Happy Fourth of July!
I was very pleased to see such a large turnout for the recent presentation on the Vatican II document on the liturgy. We had quite a few people attend the presentation on Sacrosanctum Concilium. Information is available for those who would like to hear the presentation on-line at www.jgray.org/scripture.
For those who would like to explore this document in more detail, a reading class will begin in July. Over the four Thursdays in July (beginning July 7th), we will go through the entire document. Classes will be held in the parish hall each Thursday at 7:00 pm. Fr. Henderson and our seminarian, Alex Millar, will help with these classes. It is recommended that participants bring or print out a copy of Sacrosanctum Concilium for this class. Please call the parish office if you have questions.
In August, I plan to give further presentations on other documents from Vatican II or Blessed John Paul II. I hope that the richness and the depth of recent Church teachings will be an uplifting and inspiring opportunity to learn more about our faith.
Thank you to the Planter and Pruners for your work around the church and parish offices! The landscaping looks great, and adds to the beauty of our facility!
If you are interested in joining the volunteers when they work on the parish grounds, please contact the parish office or watch the bulletin for upcoming work days.
Summer Painting Day: Saturday, July 23rd
The Men’s Club invites volunteers to help improve our school facilities on Saturday, July 23rd beginning at 9:00 am. Volunteers are needed to help paint some school classrooms and hallways. Volunteers are also needed to help trim the hedge between the rectory and the gas station.
Please mark your calendars and come to help out!
For the month of June, you helped contribute $2,286 to our “School Support” envelope which will be applied to our technology budget. Thank you for your generosity!
Dr. Minick has also secured an eRate grant which provides a discount for our phone and internet service in the school. This reduction will pay for increased internet bandwidth for our students in the fall.
Remember that “School Support” contributions in July will also be applied to our technology budget. Your gifts will help us purchase other items on our technology wish list.
June 19, 2011
We welcome Fr. Don Henderson back to St. Vincent de Paul! This weekend, we will have a Donut Sunday with refreshments served in the parish hall after the 9:00 and 10:30 am Masses. Please extend a warm greeting to Fr. Henderson as he begins his service here.
In the next few weeks, I will be working with a few members of our parish finance council to distribute additional financial aid to families that are in need. Our finance council has budgeted an increase of 5% in the amount of financial aid we are able to offer this year. Your support of our school endowment has made it possible for us to provide this financial aid. On behalf of the families that receive this aid, I express my gratitude to you for your support.
Dr. Minick and I have been working to upgrade the technology we have available in the school for our students. With the help of a school-wide wireless network, we are able to bring more technology into each classroom, rather than having to bring the students from their classroom into the computer lab. In order to help provide additional needed equipment, I will dedicate the contributions in the “School Support” envelope for June and July to our technology budget. Thank you for your support of our school.
Fr. Schultz’s address at his new parish is 513 S Shabbona St, Streator, IL 61364
June 12, 2011
This weekend, we welcome Alex Millar as our seminarian for the summer. Alex has finished his second year of pre-theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, who served here as administrator in 2004, is Alex’s rector at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary. Alex will start his first year of theology next year and will be ordained, God willing, in four years. Please welcome him to our parish this summer.
We also say farewell to Fr. Schultz who prepares to take his new assignment in Streator and Ottawa this week. I am grateful for his three years of service to our parish and for his enthusiasm in working with our young people. Fr. Schultz will be available after each of the Masses this weekend in the foyer. We will also have an open house in the Parish Hall on Sunday from 1 to 3 pm. Your cards and best wishes are most welcome. We will also provide his mailing address next weekend for those who would like to keep in touch.
June 5, 2011
Our calendar was changed this year to more closely reflect Peoria Notre Dame’s trimester calendar. As we bring our school year to a close, I would like to thank the faculty, staff, and parents for your dedication and hard work. Thank you for your support of St. Vincent de Paul School.
We will have a bible camp this summer: Totus Tuus. Please see the information in the bulletin, especially the need for volunteer support. Children going into 1st through 6th grades are invited to participate in the morning sessions, while Junior High and High School students are invited to evening sessions. We need volunteers to help assist with some activities or bring in snacks. We are also looking for two host families that could provide housing to the Totus Tuus team members for the week.
Finally, we will begin a summer study of some of the Church documents on the liturgy on June 22nd at 7:00 pm in the Parish Hall. I will be speaking on Sacrosanctum Concillium, the document from the Second Vatican Council that called for liturgical reform. As we prepare to implement the new translation of the Mass this fall, come and learn about the Church’s teaching on the Mass and liturgy.
June is the last month of our fiscal year. Please give generously to help us reach our annual Sunday collection budget. Thank you for your support!
May 29, 2011
Please be aware of the following upcoming dates:
The only Mass on Memorial Day will be at 8:30 am. The public is also welcome to attend the 9:30 am Memorial Day Mass at Resurrection Mausoleum.
Soon we will welcome our summer seminarian, Alex Millar. Alex is preparing to enter his first year of Theology and will be ordained, God willing, in four years. He will arrive June 8th.
On June 11th and 12th, we will be farewell to Fr. Schultz. In addition to being able to greet Fr. Schultz after each Mass that weekend, you are invited to an open house Sunday, June 12th, in the Parish Hall from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Refreshments will be served.
May 22, 2011
We wish Fr. Schultz well as he accepts his new assignment after spending three years with us at St. Vincent de Paul. Fr. Schultz’s last weekend will be June 11-12, at which time we will have an opportunity to thank him for his service. You are invited to offer him your congratulations and best wishes in the foyer after all the Masses that weekend. We will also announce more details about a farewell party in the parish hall in the afternoon of June 12th.
We will have the opportunity to welcome Fr. Donald Henderson to St. Vincent the following weekend, June 18-19. Actually, it is an opportunity to welcome him back, as our older parishioners will remember that he served here once before with Fr. Livingston between 1985 and 1988.
Finally, school families received notification last month of any financial aid from the diocesan Spalding Scholarship. Notice went out this week regarding financial aid from our parish endowment. Any families that do not believe that their financial need has been met are invited to fill out a “Supplemental Request for Financial Aid” explaining their reasoning. An anonymous summary of these supplemental requests are reviewed by members of our finance council who make recommendations for additional financial aid.
Confirmation this fall will be celebrated on Thursday, October 13th.
The Ascension is transferred to Sunday in this region. Ascension Sunday is celebrated on June 5th.
May 15, 2011
As we reach the end of the school year, I am looking for new grade school and high school students to assist us at Mass. Grade school students are invited to become altar servers at the end of their 4th grade year. If your child is interested, please contact the parish office and we will arrange for training.
High school students have assisted us as ushers at some of our Sunday Masses for the past year. It has been a great joy to have them helping our adult ushers with their duties. Any students who will be in high school next year are invited to join us as ushers. There is a High School Volunteer form in the information rack in the foyer with more information. I will also be inviting some of our high school students to volunteer occasionally as lectors for Mass.
Please encourage the young people of our parish to get involved by volunteering for one of these ministries.
A family that is traveling overseas is looking for a host family that would be able to provide housing to a student at Notre Dame who would like to finish high school in Peoria. The family would provide for the cost of room and board. If you are interested, please contact the parish office and we will put you in contact with the interested family.
May 8, 2011
A year ago, the Women’s Guild and Men’s Club decided to fund the Mary Davis Scholarhsip to St. Vincent de Paul School. This scholarship recognized the many years of service of our beloved school secretary, Mary Davis, on her retirement. The scholarship recognizes a grade school student who exhibits the qualities of being kind, caring, quiet, supportive, faith-filled, and charitable. After following a selection process established for this scholarship, the Women’s Guild and Men’s Club is proud to recognized Leah Hinderman as the recipient for next year. Congratulations!
Next weekend, we look forward to the school’s presentation of the musical, “The Wizard of Oz.” This children have been working very hard on this production and I hope you will join me in attending one of the performances. Thanks to all the students (and especially the adults) who have put in so many hours for this effort.
Finally, Midwest Food Bank approached me to ask for support for tornado victims in Alabama and other affected areas. Although this is short notice, I invite all parishioners to make a contribution to tornado relief next weekend after Masses.
May 1, 2011
Congratulations to all those who made their First Communion on Saturday. We had the privilege of welcoming 18 persons into the Church at the Easter Vigil, and now we have a new class of 2nd grade students who have just received the Eucharist for the first time. May their devotion and excitement about Communion be an inspiration for us all.
Thank you to those who have completed their pledge card for the Annual Diocesan Appeal. If you haven’t completed a card, you will find them in the back of the church. We will soon contact those who have not responded.
Perhaps this is a good time to remind all our parishioners that we offer the option of automatic electronic contributions for those who would find this helpful. The “Electronic Contribution Form” in the pamphlet rack by the parish office window in the foyer. Those who participate choose the amount they wish to contribute to the parish on a monthly basis. Thank you for your support of our parish.
April 24, 2011
I wish a very Happy Easter to all our parishioners, your families, and all our guests who are with us for these great Holy Days.
Our parish was founded in 1962 and will shortly be celebrating our 50th anniversary. Would you help us prepare for this milestone? Do you have any information to share that would help us put together a 50 year parish history? Our pastoral council would like to have your help. We are interested in directories, booklets, photos, letters, or mementos over the years. We are especially interested in your stories about events in our parish history. If you have something to share, please contact the parish office.
Finally, thank you for the generous pledges to the Annual Diocesan Appeal received so far. If you gave not turned in your pledge card, please do so at your earliest convenience. In the coming weeks, we will be following up with those who have not turned in a pledge card. If you cannot make a pledge at this time, please return a card anyway with a pledge of zero. Thank you for your support of St. Vincent de Paul.
April 17, 2011
I have been studying our school enrollment in conjunction with our principal. As St. Jude Catholic School opened a few years ago, it has become apparent that we are overstaffed on some grade levels. Earlier this week, I have communicated with the teachers and the parents at the school, and I would like to share this information with the parish at large.
A challenge is also an opportunity: I have looked at our need for some change as an opportunity to realign our school in a way that will provide better service to our students. We will be reducing three classrooms to two on the Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade levels. Nevertheless, we will continue to observe a maximum of 25 students per classroom on the primary level and expect to have a student-teacher ratio of 17.5-to-1 next year. To help with Kindergarten students, we will add an additional classroom aide.
At the same time, the principal and I have made some other changes to strengthen our upper grades. We have focused our budget to provide additional funds for staff development, improved technology, and increased training in the use of that technology. (Your gifts to the Annual Diocesan Appeal make these efforts possible.) We will use available classrooms to meet an increased need for pre-school space, and to provide dedicated space for some of our extra-curricular activities. As always, our finance council continues to work diligently to make financial aid available for families that are in need.
Our Catholic Schools work together as part of a larger family of the Diocese of Peoria. I am proud to cooperate in our local area with our neighbor schools as we support our common mission of educating young people.
April 10, 2011
This weekend we conduct the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Because Easter is so late this year, the ADA takes place during Lent. I appreciate your consideration of a pledge to this important work.
Remember that this Appeal funds not only our diocesan programs. The excess comes back to us to meet our local parish goals: (1) the sealing and restriping of the North parking lot, (2) funding for additional staff development and staff resources for our grade school, (3) and the payment of long term debt.
Congratulations to our new members of our School Education Commission. We had three nominees for three vacancies, so there is no need for an election. Our new members are Amy Kott, Jeff Martin, and Tony Thomas. Thank you for volunteering.
Finally, our Parish Pastoral Council has provided additional spiritual resources for the benefit of the parish. A variety of talks are available on CD in the “Lighthouse Media display rack in the back of the church. We recommend a $3 donation for each CD. I hope you find the selection of talks and speakers to be inspirational as we finish Lent.
Please be aware of the remaining scheduled confession times:
Fri, Apr 15 6:00 – 7:00 pm
April 3, 2011
This week is our 40 Hours Devotion from Tuesday through Friday. If you haven’t signed up, please consider coming for 30 minutes or an hour of adoration during our four day devotion. Our adoration will conclude each evening with Confessions, Evening Prayer and Benediction or (on Friday) Confessions, Stations and Benediction. All are specially invited to attend the closing prayers each day. On Wednesday, a special Mass of anointing of the sick will also be offered at 7:00 pm.
The Diocese of Peoria has asked each parish to take up a collection for Japanese Tsunami relief. These donations will be distributed by Catholic Relief Services. Please note that this is different from the annual American Bishops Overseas Appeal which is a regular Lenten collection each year. Donations will continue to be accepted for the people of Japan. Please mark any donations for this purpose “Japanese Relief.”
Next week we will conduct the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Last year, we went 50% over our goal and used the surplus money to seal and stripe our main parking lot and pay down construction debt. This year, I would like to aim for going 100% over goal. The excess funds will allow us to complete the sealing and striping of our north parking lot, as well as apply excess funds to our long term debt. Thank you for your generosity.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
March 27, 2011
Our Forty Hours devotion will take place Tuesday, April 5 through Friday, April 8. Adoration will take place each day for about 10 hours, beginning after the morning Masses and concluding at 7:00 pm each day. A more detailed schedule appears in the bulletin.
Please sign up for an hour of adoration time during these days. I would like to have two volunteers signed up for each hour over these days.
Confessions will be heard each evening at 6:00 pm. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, we will have Evening Prayer with a Lenten meditation before benediction. On Friday, we will have the Stations of the Cross before benediction.
In addition, we will celebrate a Mass of Anointing on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm. Anyone who is ill or infirm may come to receive the sacrament of anointing of the sick.
March 20, 2011
I hope your Lenten devotions are going well. It is a joy to see so many people at our daily Masses during Lent. I encourage families to attend the Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at 7:00 pm. Confessions are available prior to stations beginning at 6:00 pm.
This Friday, March 25, is the Solemnity of the Annunciation. Because of this solemn feast of Our Lady, the law of abstinence is dispensed on Friday. Catholics are free to eat meat on this day.
March 13, 2011
As we begin Lent, I draw your attention to our Lenten program. Please note that we will have confessions available every Friday before Holy Week from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm followed by the Stations of the Cross. In addition to the normal Stations that are part of our church, you will also notice the images of the stations around the perimeter of the church. These images will be left up for the Season of Lent to give a more concrete image of each station to younger people. I encourage families to bring their little children to Stations.
Confessions will also be available at the normal times on Saturday afternoon. As we go through the season of Lent, we will add additional times for confession.
We will celebrate a traditional 40 hours devotion from Tuesday, April 5 through Friday, April 8. During these days, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for an extended period of time with Evening Prayer and a Lenten meditation at the end of each day. Soon, you will be invited to sign up for a block of time to come and adore the Blessed Sacrament as part of our 40 hours.
Finally, please note the lending library that we have available in the foyer of the church. There are a variety of books that you are welcome to borrow and return when you are done. There are DVDs available that you may also sign out by signing your name. My thanks go to the members of the Parish Pastoral Council that worked on this project.
March 6, 2011
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The regulations for fast and abstinence are published in the bulletin. There are several Lenten devotions I recommend.
First, I encourage each of our parishioners to attend the Stations of the Cross on Fridays. We begin with Adoration at 6:00 pm. Confessions will be heard from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. At 7:00 pm, we will celebrate the Stations of the Cross followed by Benediction. In particular, I encourage families to bring their children to the stations. This year we will also make available additional Stations for the children that are easier for them to follow. The young children are invited to process around the church from station to station.
Next, it is always a joy to see more parishioners take advantage of daily Mass. Daily Mass is an opportunity to enter more deeply into the Word of God and the Eucharist beyond our Sunday liturgies.
Finally, we will celebrate a Forty Hours this Lent, at the recommendation of your parish pastoral council members. Forty Hours is a traditional devotion centered around adoration of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for forty hours, approximately ten hours each day from Tuesday, April 5th through Friday, April 8th. More information will be coming regarding the details and the events for each day. You will be invited to sign up for one of the hours, and all are especially invited to the closing prayers each of these four days.
February 27, 2011
We are approaching the season of Lent which begins in a week and a half. There will be more specific information in next week’s bulletin to remind us of our Lenten obligations and the devotions that will begin once we enter that penitential season.
This is a good time to consider what each of might do individually to consecrate this season. By choosing a personal penance, we help to root out bad habits and cultivate virtue. In particular, I encourage each of our parishioners to deepen our devotion to Mass. Lent is an excellent time to make a resolution to attend daily Mass as a way of growing in our love of the Eucharist. I also encourage our parishioners to make a firm commitment to arrive at Mass on time and remain until the Mass has ended.
By embracing a Lenten penance, we die to self so as to rise with Christ. May a good celebration of Lent prepare us for an even greater Easter joy.
February 20, 2011
I thank the parishioners who attended our town hall meeting Tuesday evening. I appreciate the feedback received during that evening. We see positive signs have worked on our annual budget to build up a surplus. We have also worked on paying down debt. At the same time, we recognize that there is still more to do.
If you were not able to attend the meeting, you are still invited to see view the presentation on-line. A pdf version of the presentation is available at http://www.jgray.org/svdp/.
Thank you for your generosity and your continued support of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and School.
February 13, 2011
This Tuesday, February 15th, there will be a town hall meeting in the parish hall at 7:00 pm. During that meeting, I will share some information from our finance council and education commission regarding debt, deficit, and the status of our parish and school. There will be time also for questions and discussion. The previous town hall meeting that we had last fall was very helpful and I look forward to continuing the discussion at this meeting.
Regarding deficits, I must thank the parish finance council for some very hard work in looking at our annual budget. We have identified various areas where we can cut in order to control expenses. I also must thank the parish for your regular giving through our Sunday collection. Your contributions help us to meet our budgeted income. We have a balanced budget and will continue to look for ways to promote annual surpluses.
Regarding debt, the effects of the recession meant that not every parishioner was able to fulfill the pledge that they made in our recent capital campaign. We are left with a debt from our construction project that we will also continue to pay down. I am most grateful for the payments we continue to receive from parishioners as we enter the fourth year of our capital campaign.
I look forward to a positive and informational meeting on Tuesday.
February 6, 2011
Every year, we invite you to subscribe to the Catholic Post, our diocesan newspaper. This year, the Catholic Post is undertaking a new subscription model, called “Delivering Unity Campaign.”
Every Catholic household in the diocese received a copy of the Post this weekend. The goal of this campaign is to more regularly communicate with every Catholic in this diocese through the Post.
Those who wish to subscribe to the Post may do so at the regular price of $25/year. Subscriptions to the Post can be dropped in the Sunday collection and sent through the parish. This year, you are also invited to subscribe on-line. However, higher donations are also accepted. A larger donation allows for more diocese-wide mailings during the year.
Please see the Catholic Post this weekend for more information.
January 30, 2011
Congratulations to all in our school as we celebrate Catholic School's Week!
Last October, I held a town hall meeting to examine our debt and deficits. I was very grateful for the feedback received from those who attended. A fruit of that discussion was the plan to bring the financial needs of the school more to the attention of each parishioner. It was at that time we began inserting a “School Support” envelope as a means of giving something extra to support Catholic Education.
Because some were not able to attend that meeting, I would like to schedule another town hall meeting for Tuesday, February 15, at 7:00 pm in the parish hall.
We will review some information from the October town hall, including our past income and expenses with an opportunity to ask questions. We will also take a fresh look at our future projections. We will discuss the new monies raised through our SCRIP program and through the new School Support envelope. We will also consider anticipated future expenses, especially at the school.
I hope you will join me for this informational meeting. Together we will work to chart the best course for our parish and school in the years ahead.
January 23, 2011
Next week we celebrate Catholic School’s Week. The bulletin contains additional information about the activities for this celebration. I would like to highlight two of them:
This Friday, we anticipate Catholic School’s Week with our Chili Supper. Please join us Friday evening in the parish hall for this fun and joy-filled social event. This event is not limited to school families. Parishioners of all ages are urged to come.
The following Friday, we celebrate our grandparent’s luncheon for our school children in the parish hall. This is a special event and a wonderful time to invite extended family members to see our school and visit the school children. Please be aware that the school Mass will begin at 10:00 am (not 9:15 am) in order to accommodate the schedule on this day.
January 16, 2011
We work very hard at this parish to provide funds to assist families with the cost of Catholic education.
If you are a sending your children to Catholic School, or if you are considering Catholic School next year, I encourage you to apply for the John Lancaster Spalding Scholarship. These funds are provided by the Diocese of Peoria and provide direct assistance to those families with a financial need. Interested families must fill out a FACTS application which provides an assessment of need on the basis of your previous year’s tax return.
I bring this to your attention because the deadline for the Spalding Scholarship is February 15th. As you know, the government passed a tax rate bill in late December. The late date of this change makes it more challenging to prepare a completed return by February 15th. Nonetheless, I urge interested families to make every effort to meet this deadline. The diocesan funds are available to those who apply. Every grant from the Diocese allows our parish funds to go father in providing aid to families.
January 9, 2011
I am most grateful to you for your support of St. Vincent de Paul Parish and School during the Christmas season. Many of our parishioners made generous donations at Christmas or generous pledge payments to our capital campaign at the end of the calendar year. Thank you.
As you notice new envelopes in your monthly packet, I would like to summarize the purpose for each of these envelopes:
The grey Building Fund envelope is used to set aside capital for future building needs. These contributions are currently used to pay down debt from our previous building construction project.
The yellow School Endowment envelope is used to generate funds for tuition assistance. The principle is deposited in a diocesan endowment fund and the interest is used to assist needy families each year.
The white School Support envelope is used to offset the costs of operating the school. Because school tuition only covers approximately two-thirds of the school expenses, additional support is needed to pay all our bills.
The green envelope For the Poor is used to support primarily the St. Vincent Society in partnership with St. Jude parish, as well as other local programs that reach out to the poor.
As always, you Sunday contributions in the regular white envelopes are the backbone of our support for the parish. Thank you for your support of St. Vincent de Paul.
Congratulations to Joe Dunlap and Lon Lyons, newly elected members of the parish finance council. Because we had two parishioners step forward to fill the two elected positions, there was no need for an election. They join the other members of our finance council: Jeff Bonick, Tom Duncan, John Bannon, Keith Plavec, Nancy Scurry, and Mary Cay Westphal.
Bible Study of Revelation
Our study of the book of Revelation continues on Saturday mornings beginning at 8:30 am. We are currently in Revelation chapter 15 and will continue through the end of the book. The next sessions meet on January 22nd in the school music room and January 29th in the parish hall.
For more information, or to hear recordings of previous sessions, visit www.jgray.org/revelation.
St. Vincent de Paul Rectory is seeking a person to help with laundry once a week. Please contact the parish office if you are interested. Salary is negotiable.
January 2, 2011
As we begin the spring semester, I urge our school families to take the time to consider applying for financial grants through the Diocese of Peoria for Catholic education. The diocese offers assistance through the John Lancaster Spalding scholarship fund to families with a financial need. These Spalding scholarships come from diocesan funds, not our own parish funds.
In order to qualify for this scholarship, a family needs to complete a FACTS form and provide information from your 2009 tax return. Applications must be submitted by February 15th, so I encourage families not to delay preparing your taxes for the previous year. Additional information will be available from the school or parish bulletin.
Beyond the Spalding scholarship, the parish provides additional funds from our school endowment to help families in need. We have been blessed to be able to meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for families attending our parish grade school. These funds serve to make a Catholic education affordable for every family.
Read previous entries from 2010.
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Read previous entries from 2007.
Read previous entries from 2006.