Father David Ousley writes in this month’s newsletter about parish feasts, a new homeschooling project, and some very welcome financial news:
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Now that we as a parish have a new patron, St John the Baptist, we also have a new patronal feast. The Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist is June 24th, a Friday this year. We will transfer the external solemnity to the following Sunday, June 26th, celebrating the occasion at our usual Sunday Mass. This has already been a year of firsts for us: our first Holy Week in Bridgeport, first visit from the Ordinariate’s first bishop, the first baptism, the first wedding, and first First Holy Communions at St John the Baptist. And now, our first chance to celebrate and thank our new Patron. …
… In the course of our consideration of outreach possibilities for St John the Baptist, support for homeschool families has come up. We are beginning some modest efforts in this direction. Beginning in the fall, I will be teaching a course on Scripture for high school juniors and seniors. If you know of families with children this age, please spread the word: registration is now open. The day and time have not been set yet; it will meet weekly here in Bridgeport. We will also help host an occasional mothers’ tea: an opportunity for home-school mothers to gather informally, for a brief rest & recreation, to share with and support one another. We will provide an hour of Eucharistic Adoration, and then time for tea and companionship. The first one is set for June 13th. If you would like to help with the set-up, or if you know any moms who might like an invitation please speak with Lisa Livezey. In addition, all are welcome to come at 7 for the Adoration, to pray with and for the mothers in their particular vocation as home-schooling mothers.
Also (coincidentally) at the time of our Patronal Feast, relics of St Thomas More and St John Fisher are coming to Philadelphia. On Saturday, June 25th, the relics will be at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul (facing Logan Circle in Philadelphia). At 4, there will be a presentation on the relics in the Cathedral Chapel. Mass is at 5:15, with veneration of the relics following in the Cathedral at 6:15. These two saints were faithful to their Catholic beliefs, withstanding King Henry VIII – at the cost of their lives. They are thus especially dear to us in the Ordinariate, and there are communities in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter dedicated to each of them. The relic tour is part of the Fortnight for Freedom observance (June 21st to July 4th), which highlights threats to religious liberty in America today. See fortnight4freecom.org for details.
You have undoubtedly noticed the a sign on the front of the church. It has a lighted image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on one side and a notice board on the other. Chelsea Nunziato has taken the message side in hand, and it now lists the weekday and Sunday Masses, Bible study and confessions. We are now replacing the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with one of St John the Baptist. Chris Jordan painted the new image. Eileen Dantas arranged to have the image transferred to clear plastic, so that the light will shine through and illuminate it at night. John and Eliza Ewing are in the process of installing the new painting, and repairing the light. Truly a group effort! Thanks to all who are involved. Keep an eye out for the finished product. John and Eliza are also responsible for the newly focused lights on the high altar.
We are putting together a landscape committee to help with planning for the grounds along Ford Street, especially with the coming removal of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel grotto. It is not a large space, but we want it to look its best. Volunteers welcome!
Some Worldly Matters
It looks like the obstacles are clearing out of the way, and the legal merger of the Blessed John Henry Newman Fellowship and St Michael’s Church should be completed this month. (The mechanism, in case you’re interested in such things, is this: Newman, which is set up as a charitable trust, will dissolve, and its assets will be transferred to St Michael’s. St Michael’s, which is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation, will formally accept the assets from Newman, and than change its name to St John the Baptist.) I will let you know when the legal name change becomes effective, since at that point we should no longer be writing checks to St Michael’s. This is an opportune time to say a word of thanks to John Heidengren, who so ably looked after financial matters for the Newman Fellowship. His efforts have meant a lot for getting us to where we are now, even though he did not cross the Tiber with us, and is missed. Thanks!
Speaking of checks: our fiscal year ends the end of June. We have been operating jointly since January 1st, so we’ll have six months under our belt. After the end of the fiscal year, we’ll have a general congregational meeting to present the financial statements for this period. As you may recall from our presentation of the budget last winter, we projected a modest operating deficit. I’m delighted to report that so far, we are receiving more than we budgeted, and to date, there is no deficit in the operating account. Taking on the additional costs of having our own property seemed (to the Finance Council) a little daunting at the time, but something that was worth the costs. We now find that we have managed to cover the costs from current giving. This does not take into account the additional sums raised in the Building Fund, which has a substantial balance, nor for the Bishop’s Appeal. Well done! Your generosity and faithfulness are impressive. Keep up the good work! Thanks! …
Fr David Ousley