Another full-time priest will not replace Fr. Wally for at least a year.
That's Fr. Walter Vogel, who had retired as a pastor and took up duties as an associate pastor at our parish. Now he's retiring as associate. Our pastor does not here remind us there won't be an associate because he saw no "compatible" replacement available this year (see this earlier post). Our pastor came to us last year from a stint as pastor at St. Monica Church. The St. Monica Parish History says,
In 1994, Father Alan Jurkus, who in addition to pastoral work, was involved in the archdiocesan vocations program, was named the fifth pastor of Saint Monica Parish. At this time, the last associate pastor transferred from the Parish and was not replaced.
Presumably not on grounds of incompatibility. He hasn't, so far, mentioned any insights from his work in vocations then when he comments on their shortage now. The St. Monica history goes on,
...Also, Father Jurkus has reorganized and strengthened the parish administration and management to make it reflect the realities of the 1990s.
Fr. Jurkus will also be reorganizing the St. Al's staff (presumably not to make it reflect the realities of the 1990s).
The Director of Music Ministry will also take on the duties of Director of Liturgy. The current Director of Liturgy is also a deacon and be given the new position of Pastoral Associate. The suggestion of a combined director of liturgy and music came up regularly a decade ago when I was on the parish council. Then it was unthinkable, "contrary to the direction we've [sic] chosen for the parish" regarding liturgy. Now it's a pastor's idea.
(I did once see an idea go from being opposed by a pastor, to him later thinking he had come up with the idea, to him then complaining that the parish council wasn't moving fast enough to implement it. It's a good strategy for parishes with time and parishioners with patience.)
The three Directors of Child, Youth, and Adult Ministry have been cut from 12 to 11 months, i.e., will be paid less. They
are working on instituting a new approach to all our Formation efforts. This is a very exciting initiative, which will eventually involve all parish members who want to deepen their faith and recommit to discipleship. I have encourgaged the entire parish staff to be supportive of this project, tentatively called "Dreams and Vision". More later.
(see this earlier post)
Our pastor later says,
If we want to continue to have a vibrant parish
That's one way to promise more of the same.
we cannot "cut or reduce" our way to financial stability. I'm asking each and every one of you to search your soul today, not tomorrow, and then step forward.
The party line is everything's wonderful, except to the extent we parishioners just aren't trying.
If you shrug your shoulders and assume, "someone else will take care of this," St. Alphonsus doesn't stand a chance.
Would that be a shrug of the shoulders like parishioners get when they raise liturgical issues? The shrug of the shoulders parishioners got when they pointed out the parish had recurring "financial crises" in the operating budget yet undertook a multi-million dollar building expansion? Or the shrug of the shoulders I'd get a decade ago whenever I pointed out declining Sunday Mass attendance?
Please, we are truly at a crossroads. If we do not turn the financial corner soon, we will see our parish fade away into history, as so many others have.
If so many other parishes have closed, might that not indicate a lot of parishioners had already stopped caring if they stayed open? Maybe the first step in their not caring was getting the impression a parish was complacent about everything but money.
In a P.S. he asks that we all again fill out a parish registration form. It's a blank form, not one showing the information they have and asking it be corrected or supplemented.
It will be important to return this form, if you wish to be considered an active parish member.
Seems to literally put form over substance. The May 25, 2008 parish bulletin has an item on page 2 on the "Re-Registration Forms" that says
Your prompt response is very much appreciated. If you have not yet returned yours, please do so as soon as you can.
On the other hand, on page 3 is an item "Volunteers Needed For The Parish Office" that says
The Parish Office is in need of volunteers to help cross-check and verify information from the recently mailed Re-registration Forms to the information we now have on record in our parish membership. This is a very detailed task and will take some time to complete.
Sounds like it might be a while before they get to the bottom of the stack.