Eastertide newsletter from St. Thomas More, Scranton

Fr. Eric Bergman writes:

Dear Members & Friends,

(After the Ordinariate’s first Chrism Mass in Washington, DC) … I had occasion to talk with Bishop Lopes at great length.

Bishop Lopes reiterated that he will see us in August, when six of our young people
will be confirmed, but he also surprised me by asking if we might host the Chrism Mass
on March 22, 2018. His plan is to celebrate the Chrism Mass in Houston at our Cathedral
only every other year. In alternate years he will have all the clergy of the Ordinariate gather at one of his parishes that’s large enough to accommodate so many people. Naturally, I readily agreed to his proposal, which means we’ll have a lot of preparing to do to welcome potentially more than 200 visitors from out of town. But that’s almost two years away, so for now I’d like to concentrate on preparing for his visit this year.

Bishop Lopes told me he would like to spend a few days here among us, so he might
familiarize himself with our city, our neighborhood, and our people. Since he won’t be flying in and out in a matter of hours, we could take a cue from some of our sister parishes in the Ordinariate and plan more than one event with him during his visit. I have in mind that he could bless the Jerry McGreevy Memorial Park, and we could have an outdoor gathering on our parish’s little patch of green space in the middle of the city.

For him to bless it we would have to complete it, which means replacing the sidewalks crushed by the excavators and erecting the fence around the entire lot. We should also think about equipment we might want there, too, as the park will eventually double as the playground for our parish school.

We also need to get moving on the group confirmation project to repaint the parish hall.
Since the Confirmation Mass on the Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Joseph Church,
Thursday, August 18th, will be held in the evening, our reception will be in doors, no matter how nice the weather is. Thus, we must organize work crews to paint, but also to
redirect the water that pours off the roof of the church. Our intention is to have it flow
into the street, away from the building’s foundation, since the water now gets too close for comfort during heavy rains. The park and the parish hall need to be ready to host large numbers of people by the third week of August, which gives us a little over four months.

We should also be concerned about our finances. The Bishop’s Appeal, which I sincerely hope every family in our parish will generously answer, asks our parish for an additional
$12,200 this year. While I am confident we will meet that goal, our long-term financial
health must be addressed, as I wrote to our local members just before Easter. Our operating income must keep pace with our expenses, and we need more rapidly to pay back the kind benefactors who helped us restore our beautiful church, a project that began nearly four years ago. How we will do all these things, I believe, necessitates a parish wide discussion. To this end we will hold a parish meeting, the first since the fall of 2012, on Sunday, April 24th immediately following the 10AM Mass. …

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