July 2018 Column

Dear friends,

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been pastor of Holy Cross for almost three months, the time zooming by so quickly.  I was fortunate to have had March and the first half of April to work closely with Father Vince, who was so helpful in my transition to becoming your pastor.  While this is my fifth parish and third pastorate, it’s my first with a school, and for this reason much of the learning curve for me was, and continues to be, in becoming familiar with the responsibilities and intricacies of pastoring a parish with a school.  To that end, I recently attended an institute at Notre Dame for pastors of parishes with schools, which assisted me in gaining a fuller understanding and appreciation for this important ministry in our parish.

I also recently traveled to Fort Wayne for the first of two orientation days for new pastors in the diocese.  While not a new pastor, this is my first pastorate in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, and so this orientation day was helpful in gaining some practical information on procedures and policies of the diocese as well as meeting some of the key personnel at the Fort Wayne end of the diocese.  The second orientation day will take place later this month at the diocesan office in Mishawaka.

Toward the end of June the entire pastoral team and staff met at Moreau Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame for a review day.  I found it very helpful to have the staff review the various ministries, programs and activities of the parish over the past year.  We actually would have needed a second full day to review every aspect of the parish, but in this one review day we looked at the major areas of liturgy and worship, sacramental life, faith formation, music, and our school.  We reviewed specific programs and activities through which we implement the pastoral ministry of the parish, as well as the functioning of our parish staff at the service of our parishioners.

The pastoral team and staff have been a great support and have assisted me tremendously in learning about the parish and how things are done here.  Each member of the staff fulfills their responsibilities quite competently and with a great dedication to the parish and school.  I am fortunate to have inherited such a good parish staff.  You are very fortunate to have them coordinating the life and activity of the parish and school.

I also owe a great debt of gratitude to the parish pastoral council, the finance council, and the school board.  The pastoral and finance councils are among the most competent with which I have worked as a pastor.  (This is the first school board with which I’ve worked, but they’re quite competent as well!)  The insights, recommendations and guidance of the members of these three groups have been invaluable in my transition as pastor of Holy Cross.  While it has been hectic becoming pastor in April, the support and guidance of these three groups as well as the pastoral team and staff have been invaluable in my first three months as pastor.  I look forward to working with them, and all the other committees, groups and ministries in the parish, as we continue to fulfill the parish’s mission statement “to glorify God by using our time, talent and treasure in worship and in service to all our brothers and sisters.”

In Christ,

Father Jim