The year’s end naturally makes one look back and remember. I have been here at Transfiguration for one full year now, and 2018 has been a good, full year. I have learned a lot, and enjoyed all of it. There is a joke that priests don’t have much to do, since all they do is say Mass on weekends! Actually we keep a pretty full schedule! In addition to all the regular things a parish does, like weekend and weekday masses, weddings, funerals, baptisms, (with the preparation involved,) hospital visitation, attending Pastoral Council and Commission meetings, (Finance, Evangelization, Discipleship, Education, and Christian Service), children’s and adult education, youth ministry, Knights of Columbus, Men’s Club, etc., there are the events that are important to Transfiguration: pro-life activities, SOS, Crossroads, Fish Fries, Franciscan Outreach, Taste of Transfiguration, the Parish Picnic, the many forms of Christmas outreach – to name just a few items. We have also started to think about how we can provide some Senior Activities and Social Justice animation. I started the year with “Listening Sessions;” we used the information gathered to write a Vision Statement and develop a Plan for the year with 9 goals and strategies to move toward them. We tried to update our census records and put out a new Pictorial Directory. I think we are making good progress in what we set out to do. In caring for our grounds and buildings, we finished putting in new doors and fixed up the front of Church with a fountain and new sign.
This year 6 young people made first communion and 11 were confirmed. In the adult education arena, we studied the Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter Unleash the Gospel during Lent, the four Gospels during the summer, and the document on Political Responsibility before the mid-term elections. In the Gathering Space we have started using the monitor to share information and Flocknote email and text messages to stay in touch. This year we also provided themes to help us pray through the major seasons of Lent and Advent. During Lent we prayed about the many Covenants God invites us to, and during Advent, we have tried to “Bring Him Forth.”
So what does 2019 hold for us? Lots more excitement I am sure. For starters let mention just a few. We will welcome three new members at the Easter Vigil and have a parish Mission with Auxiliary Bishop Ferd Cheri (of New Orleans) at the end of March/beginning of April. We will host the Blessed Solanus Casey relic in May and a gathering of former friars (our Franciscan “alumni”) in June. Practically we will have to address concerns about cracks in the parking lot and we hope to finish off the main entrance to our church with new lighting and some benches and flowers. Most of all, it will be another year of blessing from the Lord, full of gifts, challenges, surprises, and invitations to deeper discipleship. For 2018 we give thanks; for 2019, we open our arms and hearts. We will continue to find ways to Unleash the Gospel in an Amazing Parish.