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St. Mary’s State of the Parish Update

St. Mary’s State of the Parish Update

My Dear St. Mary’s Family,

I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to those that came last week to attend our State of the Parish. Many of you had sent notes and emails letting us know that you could not join us, and we missed your presence at our gathering on February 4th.

The purpose of this evening was to share, as transparently as possible, the attendance and financial health of our parish community, as this has been strained due to recent events. Due to its delicate nature, I preferred to share this with you in a more open setting and in person.

I have received much feedback on the evening, both positive and negative, which has guided me as your Pastor in formulating my review, thoughts and clarification to follow.

Let me first comment that our diocesan assessments have been suspended until further notice. We reached out directly to the Diocese of Buffalo in September, explaining that we anticipated an attendance and financial fallout as a result of our crisis. This was approved by the Diocese in a formal response.  I do want to make this point clear; we are not holding assessments in a protest against the Diocese. The relationship between a parish and a diocese is critical to the benefit of the parish community and we are a diocesan parish and will stay as such. We do plan on revisiting payments on our assessments as soon as we are financially healthy.

The financials shared that evening indicated a decline in our attendance and giving to the parish that has translated into a deficit of $93,185 from June 2018 to December 2018. Should this trend continue; we would be looking at a significantly restructured parish/school community as early as September of 2019. I was not looking forward in having to make those difficult choices on our ministries and programs here at St. Mary’s, as I know how important they all are and they demonstrate who we are as a parish community. As your Pastor, I wanted this information to you as soon as possible.

In sharing this news, I had hoped to appeal to those of you whom I know have either reduced your giving, and or stopped giving to St. Mary’s in protest against the Diocese.  I suggested that it was possible to donate to a specific line item expense. In reviewing this, I now stand corrected from an accounting perspective of this parish and I am sorry for any misrepresentation of the facts.

Clarifying now with you, that weekly contributions cannot be specifically designated to a particular expense/department.   This would be extremely difficult to execute from an accounting perspective and ultimately, could create financial hardship as well with an imbalance as to where we might have money to pay the gas bill, but not a teacher’s salary.  We work very hard to make the most out of every dollar you donate and support all buildings on our campus as needs arise equally.  We would ask for your trust as stewards of your money here at St. Mary’s, to best balance our campus financials allowing all departments to thrive.

 Just as important, was a discussion that evening, regarding how best to reach out to the many family and friends that have left our parish family. The Gospel calls us to be instruments of healing, forgiveness and peace. Without forgiveness, and a desire to live the Gospel, not just in word but in deed, it is impossible to build the Kingdom of God.

As we look forward to the wonderful season of Lent, a season devoted to redemption and healing, Jesus may just be inviting us to experience the best Lent of our lives. If we are to truly heal as individuals and as our parish family of St. Mary’s, we must open our hearts to forgive one another. The old saying is “it takes a village”.   Collectively, if we can all work to bring our family back together, we are doing Christ’s work and will see the fruitful rewards of our labor.

I look forward to more conversations with you; humbly I remain your servant in Christ,

Father Bob Zilliox

 

Women’s CRHP Retreat Registration- Deadline February 15th!

Women’s CRHP Retreat Registration- Deadline February 15th!

 

Dear Ladies,

We have been praying for you, eagerly anticipating you joining us for the Women’s Retreat as the promise of spring approaches. We have planned a refreshing weekend of spiritual renewal and look forward to sharing our journeys in Christ. Our goal is to make this brief time for you a spiritual experience filled with relaxation, prayer, reflection, laughter, and song; a refreshing step in your own journey with Jesus. And the food, have we mentioned the fabulous food that will be prepared for you?
Is this your year? Join us and you will meet other parish women experiencing similar demands and challenges in their busy lives. We are women in all stages of life—with young children, school-age kids and college kids; students; empty-nesters, single, married; working outside the home, retired. We pray you hear God’s call to make this time for yourself. How joyful we have been in our decisions to attend.
We look forward to gathering with you in Christ for this very special time.

The Women of CRHP Team 33

 

 

 

 

 

Men’s CRHP Weekend Retreat Registration- Deadline March 18th!

Men’s CRHP Weekend Retreat Registration- Deadline March 18th!

To all of the men and my fellow brothers in Christ:

For more than 20 years, St Mary’s has hosted Christ Renews His Parish weekends/retreats here at our Parish. St. Augustine once said, “Our hearts are restless O’Lord until they rest in you.” Our parish’s heart is restless until it rests in “You!” You are the Parish. Your family is the Parish, and without you we cannot stand God strong. I wish to take this opportunity to personally invite you to join us in March for this awesome inspirational weekend of welcome, renewal and faith. I especially encourage the men who are new to our parishioners to come and join us. What a Great way to meet other parishioners and share a common bond we call our Catholic Faith. One simple “Yes” can make a tremendous difference in our lives and the lives of those dear to us. I am convinced that Christ Renews His Parish is one of the reasons for our Parish’s warmth, generosity, and closeness. With your presence, Christ Renews His Parish will continue to be the spirit driven difference in your life, your families and in our Parish.

Sincerely and humbly I remain your brother in Christ,

Rev. Robert W. Zilliox, JCL
Pastor

Sacraments/Vocation – Teen Family 2019-2020

Lesson Focus – The Rosary tells the story of Jesus’ life in four parts called Mysteries. This lesson will focus on the Luminous Mysteries. These stories of Jesus tell about the things Jesus did that brought light to the world.

 

Before you begin – INSTRUCTIONS FOR PARENTS
  • To complete this lesson, you will need to refer to the Catholic Youth Bible (CYB).
  • After reviewing the lesson, you may find it necessary to discuss with your teen what was learned and questions needing further explanation. Please contact the FF Office at 716-688-0599 or email familyfaith@stmaryswormville.org if you would like assistance. You may also want to consider attending one of the scheduled lesson nights on this topic with your teen.

Pray!

Begin your lesson with prayer  –
  • Begin prayer with the Sign of the Cross (Click here to learn more with a video)
  • Pray – Lord, open our minds and hearts as we come together in prayer.  Learning and reflecting on the mysteries of your life, allowing us to  absorb their meaning and live out the lessons that Jesus reveals to us. Amen
  • End the prayer with the Sign of the Cross

 

Discover!

  • The Rosary
    • Parents: If your teen is not familiar with the rosary, then please put a rosary in the hands of your teen and explore how to use it together.
  • Prayers of the Rosary
    • Parents: If your teen does not know the prayers of the rosary, you can find them in their Catholic Youth Bible (CYB) pgs. 1728 – 1730.
      • Sign of the Cross
      • Apostles Creed
      • Our Father
      • Hail Mary
      • Glory Be
      • Fatima Prayer — this is not in your Bible but it is simple: “O my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls into heaven especially those in most need of your mercy “
  • Finding Scripture Passages in the Bible
    • Use the index to locate the starting page for a book in the bible. Index : CYB pg. 6
      • Example: the gospel of LUKE starting page is CYB pg.1335
    • Within each book the top left hand corner of the left page has the starting chapter and verse, and the top right hand corner of the right page has the ending chapter and verse. These top of the page markings will help you to find the page with the verses you are looking for.
      • Example: go to the start of the gospel of LUKE and turn a few pages to find chapter 2 verse 14. CYB pg. 1341. Note the markings at the top of the left page and the top of the right page. The passage you are looking for is Luke 2:14{“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”}
  • The Five Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary
    • Parents: For each of the five mysteries read the bible passage and view the video for each mystery. Consider using what you have learned to pray the decade of the rosary with your teen (Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be, Fatima Ejaculation) while thinking about what you have read and seen.

 

    • Luminous Mystery #1 — The Baptism of Jesus

      • Bible — read Matthew 3:16-17
      • Reflect — The Lord Jesus came to each of us in our baptisms. When you were baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon you, and the Father said, “This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased!” Thus, you became the light of Christ to shine in the world. You have been invested with the mission of this light!
      • Pray — Thank God for revealing his Son
    • Luminous Mystery #2 — Wedding at Cana

      • Bible — read John 2:5-7
      • Reflect — We glow brighter with the light of Christ when we obey the instructions He gives to us. Even when the task doesn’t make sense, if we “do whatever” He tells us, He reveals His glory in us and through us.
      • Pray — Thank the Holy Trinity for making Christ known to us in this miracle, and for Mary’s intersession.
    • Luminous Mystery #3 — Proclaiming the Kingdom

      • Bible — read Matthew 10:7-8
      • Reflect — Jesus has proclaimed the kingdom of God to you, and you have said “yes” to the Good News and “no” to sin. Every moment that you live, He is breathing into you the divine power of the Holy Spirit as He sends you forth into a world of sin, and every time you get hurt, He asks you to reveal His light by forgiving the sinners and doing good to them in His name. 
      • Pray — The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Christ himself taught us during his public ministry.
    • Luminous Mystery #4 — Transfiguration

      • Bible — read Luke 9:29,35
      • Reflect — The light of glory within Christ Jesus is also within you. It’s revealed to the world every time you suffer for the sake of loving others and offer your pain to Jesus for their healing and redemption. By doing good when it’s difficult, you get purified from your own sinfulness, and your light grows stronger. Thus so closely united to Jesus, you enter into the joy of His resurrection. 
      • Pray —
    • Luminous Mystery #5 — Institution of the Eucharist

      • Bible — read Luke 22:19-20
      • Reflect — In loving all others unconditionally, the way Jesus has given you His love, you enlighten the world. As you humble yourself to serve others, as He serves you, His light spreads, and so the world becomes a better place. You have become Eucharist. With Jesus, you are the light of the world. You make a difference! 
      • Pray — Thank you Jesus for this new covenant, one based on love, and sealed with you own blood.

    Live!

    • The Luminous Mysteries remind us to follow Jesus, the light of the world. Parents, share with your teen a person in your life either in the present or when you were younger who inspires(d) you to be a good person. Ask if they can think of someone who brightens their day and motivates them share that light with others.
    • Parents, if you have not already prayed the rosary, consider praying a decade (10 beads) of the rosary with your teen to remind us of the joyful events of Jesus’ life.
    • Parents, these words/phrase remind us of the Luminous Mysteries: Openness to the Holy Spirit, To Jesus through Mary, Repentance and Trust in God, Desire for Holiness, AdorationChoose one and discuss how it relates to your family’s life.

    Pray!

    End your lesson with prayer –
    • Begin prayer with the Sign of the Cross
    • Sit together quietly for a moment or two and be aware that Christ gave each one of us a light and we are capable of magnifying that light and passing it on to other people. Close your eyes and imagine the next way you will pass that light along to someone else. Share your thoughts with one another.
    • End prayer with the Sign of the Cross
St. Mary’s State of the Parish / School Invitation

St. Mary’s State of the Parish / School Invitation

Dear St. Mary’s Family,

It has been just a little over four months since I have been reunited with you all as pastor and shepherd in Christ here at St. Mary’s.

Certainly, much has happened in those four months as we have together begun to navigate and emerge from the recent crisis. I believe that the virtues of transparency and truth are always of the utmost importance, and I have been guided by Our Savior to exhibit these virtues through all of my communications to date.

‘For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.’
Matthew 10:20

I would like to invite you to an important parish/school wide informational meeting on:

*Monday, February 4, 2019 from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM in the church

St. Mary’s Parish & School have been a model parish in our community and the Diocese for many years. I am confident that we will continue to be that “shining city on a hill” for many years to come by staying focused on Jesus and each other as He guides and leads us through the challenges we face.

Yet, as our hearts may have begun healing from all that has happened within our Church, we have still experienced a considerable decline in our attendance and parish offerings to date. This is due to many families leaving St. Mary’s parish and/or leaving our Catholic faith entirely. Not only have we lost families, but many of those that remain have reduced or eliminated their contributions as a protest against the Diocese. Unfortunately, this has only hurt our parish and our ability to engage in the ministries that are so dear to us, not the diocese. If this trend continues, we may have to consider cutbacks in a number of ministries that we hold dear, but may be unable to afford, as early as September of 2019.

At our meeting, we will discuss:

  • Updates on our parish and school community
  • Information regarding our financial details
  • Information on our relationship with the Diocese (including assessments)
  • Possible resolutions
  • Q & A Session

Let me reassure you – I am confident that we will get through this decline in attendance and financial contributions, as I am again reminded by Jesus:

‘Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.’
Isaiah 26:4

I look forward to seeing you all on this night as we come together in prayer, discussion and action for the benefit of our beloved parish and school.

Sincerely & humbly, I remain your servant in Christ,

Fr. Bob Zilliox