First, I would just like to say how honored and humbled I am that Bishop Coleman has appointed me Pastor at St. John’s. I am looking forward to my time here and working with all of you in continuing to build up the Kingdom of God here in the Town of Bourne!
I want to publically thank Fr. Medeiros for all of his efforts these last three years. He was given a very tough task: pastor two communities of faith in two different towns with two different sets of needs and strengths. He had to make some tough decisions, but St. John’s is stronger today because of his faith and dedication to the parish. We will continue to pray for him in his ministry as Pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish.
I come to St. John’s as a spiritual leader. My task is to live the ministry of Christ as priest, prophet and king. My first responsibility is to lead the people of God in the worship of God at the altar. We need the sacraments to live and grow our Catholic faith. The Christian life is about uniting our hearts and minds to God. He is the perfect one in that relationship, we are the ones in need of healing and of change or conversion. Our first focus at St. John’s is welcoming people to the altar of God and offering him worthy praise. There is nothing else that we do that is more important than that!
A prophet teaches. Our second priority is teaching and sharing our faith with one another and with others. Part of the divine command is to teach. Teach the Gospel, teach about God’s love and teach how we can live the Gospel in our daily lives. My role of pastor is to facilitate and ensure that the people of God have plenty of opportunities for faith formation, from womb to tomb. We are all engaged in the process of conversion. That process ends only when we are with God in the heavenly kingdom.
I want to avoid a common practice that is found in some parishes of what I call “captured audience syndrome”. That is pastors sometime think that since the most people are present at Mass, it is the only chance to teach or make public announcements. As I mentioned before, the most important thing we do is worship God. Nothing trumps worship of God.
However, it is important that teaching takes place. I found in my own experience as well as my years as a priest that there is a lot of misunderstanding about Church teaching, even among Catholics. We will offer opportunities for people to gather to learn more about the faith. But we will also offer opportunities online. Webinars, a blog and Youtube are just some of the technologies we will utilize.
Finally, the role of governance. In fact, this is a part of the role of the pastor and cannot be removed from that office. Currently St. John’s spends approximately half a million dollars a year to meet the demands of the previous two areas of focus. The reality is there is even more we need to do. I can promise you that this third area will never trump the previous two. Now, systems are in place to ensure that this role is done competently. Parishioners and staff serve to advise me on the finances of the parish and to ensure that our needs are met and that we have a vision for the future. The diocese and Canon Law also have mechanisms in place to insure good stewardship of the parish’s resources. In addition, we will be as transparent as possible to the entire parish by continuing Fr. Medeiros’ practice of publishing a yearly financial report. We will also be working on setting up an annual budget to help us live within our means and to help us see where we can grow. In addition, there will be periodic town meetings to help facilitate communication between myself and the parish.
We are in the unique situation of being a parish that is going from being twinned to being on its own.
There are some logistics that are unique to this situation. Let me bring you up to speed on some of these:
1. As you may be aware, about three years ago we entered into an agreement with Providence College concerning use of the Rectory. Graduate students for their education program resided there while they taught at John Paul II High School in Hyannis. At the time the rectory wasn’t in use so it helped us in two ways: the house was in use and we received rent from PC. Obviously that situation is changing. The contract with PC goes until August. While we work with PC in transitioning the students to another housing situation I will be living at the Rectory at St. Elizabeth. In August I will move into the rectory here.
In reality, this doesn’t really affect the parish much at all. Through the use of technology I am accessible for emergencies. Also, the “business” of the parish won’t be happening at the rectory. The realities of the 21st century, in terms of healthy living and that of boundaries dictates that parish “business” be separated from the living situation.
2. Claudia was hired a couple of years ago as parttime secretary at St. Elizabeth as well as St. John’s. That led to the office being merged. The Office has once again returned to St. John’s, but Claudia will continue to serve at both parishes. As a result regular Office hours here at St. John’s will be Mondays and Wednesdays 8:30AM to 4:30PM and Friday Mornings 8:30AM to 12N. This does not mean that business won’t happen the rest of the week. Someone will be available to take phone calls Monday through Friday 8AM to 9AM. Just be aware that if you have to drop anything off at the office or do something in person, you will need to come in on days that Claudia is in the office or see Fr. David between masses on Sunday.
3. During the past couple of years, our confirmation program was merged with St. Elizabeth in North Falmouth. This will discontinue. Crystal Medeiros, who has been the Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Fall River will be joining our staff parttime to run our confirmation program and our youth and young adult ministries. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will truly benefit our parish.
4. Finally, as you may have noticed in the Anchor I have also been appointed Diocesan Director for Campus Ministry. This position involves my continued chaplaincy at UMass Dartmouth as well as overseeing the Catholic ministries at Cape Cod Community College, Mass Maritime, Wheaton College and Bristol Community College. This means at times throughout the week I will be off Cape. However, this does that mean that funerals or visits to the sick or to nursing homes won’t happen. It doesn’t even mean that I won’t be accessible. I just ask for patience as the processes necessary to meet the responsibilities for both ministries are put into place.
I invite you to visit our Facebook page (facebook.com/sjepocasset), our twitter feed (@stjohnspocasset), website (www.stjohnspocasset.org) or youtube (Channel: saintjohnpocasset).
Of course, I am also available in person as well! The Office is open Mondays and Wednesdays 8:30AM to 4:30AM, but I am also available Tuesdays and on the weekends as well. Just give us a call and we can set up a time to meet.