July 11, 2020
It has been a busy week at St. Andrew’s. It began last Saturday morning in the parish centre with a meeting for the leaders of groups in the parish looking forward to the new pastoral year beginning in September. There was a bit of giddiness as we sat down for the first time in months and there was a lot to catch up on. The mood was upbeat, and everyone was prepared for work despite the distractions of summer. We discussed ways to keep the programs going using Zoom with its many options. Joanne Trudeau-Cote and Tony Cestra will join me for a follow-up meeting next week where we will also discuss some opportunities to teach and coach parishioners who may not be as comfortable with these platforms before we begin. The parish is going to purchase the Bishop Robert Barron online parish program for the next year from the Word on Fire Institute which will allow us to share a massive platform of films, educational resources and formation programming with the whole parish. Our programming will also pay attention to look for ways for parishioners to meet in person on occasion respecting the distancing and health requirements. At the end of the month, with the help of the CWL, we will test run what this might look like on the deck of the parish centre. We are very aware that parishioners have a need for the company of others and are looking at ways to be able to do this.
On Monday, early in the morning, Greg Gallant, Brian Barry and I met to review and approve the proposals for our internet difficulties and to look at security for our computers and online activities. We have a lot of work to do here and have made important decisions to move forward. The work will happen over the next few weeks. Later in the morning, Loraine Fedurco, Ken Coulter and I met to discuss the One Heart, one Soul Fundraising Campaign which we would have completed a few weeks ago if the Covid 19 virus had not caused a three month shutdown. After a long discussion on where we are as a parish after the last few months, there was an agreement that it is to our benefit to move forward with the campaign but with caution. We took up the conversation on Wednesday evening with Dominic Felix who is the campaign manager from the diocese who will work with us. Over the next few weeks we will work on modifying the original goals that the parish had set and take them back to the Finance Committee and the Campaign Committee by mid-August.
On Tuesday, Kevin Gleason and I met with representatives of a new company that presents the option of another way to do the sanitizing of the church and other rooms in the parish in a safe and efficient manner. This new approach is used in many local businesses and at Pearson International Airport. Using a fogging machine, it projects a mist disinfecting solution into the air that lands dry on any surface in its path. The good news is that it is a natural product (Hypochlorous Acid), completely covers the pews including the fabric on the seat and kneeler and will allow us to use the Family Room and parish centre if needed for overflow. Even better it will not damage either the wood, fabric or metal in any space it is used in.
As you walk from the parking lot to the church you may have noticed that sections of the roof on the rectory and parish centre look precarious at the moment. It was our hope that we could wait until next year to replace the shingles on these sections, but some wind damage in May and June has forced us to move on it now before there is serious damage. Gerry is working on three quotes and it is our hope that we will be able to have the work completed fairly soon. You may also notice that a canopy on the deck has become a permanent feature. It is my new office where I meet parishioners for appointments and small groups for future planning. It has also become a weekend dining room for Felix and myself as we enjoy the barbecue and the beautiful breeze and the sun setting over the buildings. From that angle, you have the feeling of being in a Marc Chagall painting and at any moment a fiddler will leap over the roof playing tunes from the yettel.
Baptism’s will resume this afternoon in the church, one family at a time. Richard and I have several months to catch up on before we begin to prepare for the families requesting baptism for children born recently. I am meeting with the few remaining couples who are scheduled for weddings beginning at the end of August. The brides were very happy to hear that during the wedding ceremony and procession they can remove their mask. One groom was close to tears as he thought that he was going to have to wear his mask throughout the service. Because we did not celebrate the Easter Vigil publicly we were unable to welcome new Catholics into the church. They will be happy to know that we are going to set some dates for it to happen soon.
I am away for the annual Episcopal Board meetings for the diocese beginning tomorrow afternoon until late on Wednesday. Please keep us in your prayers as this is an important opportunity for the bishop and his vicars to review the year that has been and plan for the next. The Covid 19 has been a major disruptor to parish life and the work of the church in education, youth services, family services and outreach to the poor and those in need. Fr. Felix is in charge as Sharon is also away on her annual trip to the lake. Felix looks fresh and unburdened again as his appointment with the barber took place mid-week. Geronimo, our student “super-cleaner” is doing a fine job and will have an interesting week getting used to the fogging machine. To help him and to speed up the sanitizing process, as you leave the pew please put the kneeler in the down position and take everything with you.
This will be the last From the Pastor’s Desk letter until the first Saturday of August. If anything important comes up we will send you a short note. Every Saturday this email goes to just over 1675 email addresses which is very impressive. During the lockdown Sharon and I did a lot of work on our parish registration list, especially the email section. We retired almost 300 families and individuals from the list and have added at least 200 more.
Mass will continue to be broadcast on Sunday morning at: https://www.standrewoakville.com/sunday-masses-online/ The Intercessions for Mass at St. Andrew’s this week follow. Please feel free to use them in your daily prayer.