Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I pray that you are blessed. At one of the parishes at which I was stationed as an associate pastor, I had a pastor who traveled a lot. He often preached at other parishes, and one of the things he did was to bring back ideas from those parishes. One idea that came from a parish in Harlem was a “Festival of Ministries.” Every Fall they had a carnival, complete with popcorn and hotdogs, where people re-committed themselves and/or signed up for new ministries. I also knew a pastor in Kansas City, who instead of getting priests to cover for him when he was out of town, simply told his parishioners to go to other parishes, which makes perfect sense when there were plenty of options, but the real reason he did it was because he gave his parishioners an assignment. He told them to spread out and go to a lot of different parishes, and then, bring back bulletins and ideas about things the other parishes were doing. It was a great way to improve his parish without thinking he/they had to reinvent the wheel.
One idea that I began when I was at The Rock is to start donating our Children’s Collection to an external charity, specifically, one for children. I feel that the money given by our children (even if it is coming from their parents) would be better used to help other children, rather than just being added to the general operating needs of our parish. I discussed the idea with a few other people, along with the staff, and the leading suggestion is “Kids Food Basket.” Not only will their offering go directly to help feed other children, but it also raises their awareness of why we make these offerings, to help those less fortunate than ourselves and to share our blessings. I also understand that “Kids Food Basket” is also a child friendly program and they have ways that children and their families can volunteer directly, such as, decorating bags, which our catechism program is considering having the children do on an upcoming Sunday.
[NOTE: If you give your Sunday Envelope to your child to bring up it will be removed and added to the normal collection.]
Historically, we have only been doing the Children’s Collection at the 9:00am and 11:00 am masses. We are going to be watching the other masses to see if there are enough children present to warrant doing it at those masses as well. Regardless, the basket will always be available in front of the altar at all masses, so that, if you and your child(ren) are at a different mass than usual, they can still make their offering if they wish. One last observation on the Children’s Collection. It is always nice to see how eager and happy the children are to come forward and make their offering... if only we adults would smile that much when we make ours ;-)
One other idea is to start a “College Sponsor” program. I want us to do everything we can to support & encourage our college students, especially since this is a time when many people leave The Church. Before we can begin, we need information on all of our college students. If not today, then by next Sunday, you will find forms in the back of church on which you can give us the necessary information. Just take one for each college student in your family, fill it out, and drop it in the collection or mail it to the office. Once we have this information we will have a sign-up sheet for sponsors.
In the Redeemer, Fr. Rick