Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Property Owners

This month both Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed John Paul II Catholic Missions reached important mile stones in their development.   They both now own land for their future permanent home.  This accomplishment in just over two years is a miracle.
After signing the deed for BTC

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta purchased 24 acres across from the High School, so it will remain a downtown church in the center of the county seat of Union County.   The price was high, but the Diocese of Knoxville made this purchase possible without cost to the local community.  East Tennessee Catholic Foundation, Inc. is a charitable organization of the diocese to help support our seminarians and to purchase property for new missions.  Without these donors, this purchase would not have been possible.
Discussing matters at the church planning meeting

Br. Craig sharing his image of what it means to be "Church"
Our first church planning meeting was very successful.  As we listened to Br. Craig's image of church we were all challenged to answer the question if "I love God then I will ...."  He also demonstrated how Glenmary's five missionary activities are present in our mission.   These categories are Catholic Nurture, Ecumenism, Evangelization among the Unchurched, Social Outreach and Justice, and connection to the Universal Church.   Then, I shared on Chapter 21 of book of Revelation. The community was also invited to reflect more deeply on our patroness, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and what she might want to see from us.   In the various reflections that followed, one parishioner summed up the meeting by saying, "Jesus built hearts, not temples.   That is what we are doing tonight ... we are building our hearts in Christ.   The building will follow."
BTC gathering for church planning

One fact that stands out is that in the year of 2013 we averaged 75 people at the English Mass and 74 at the Spanish Mass for a total of 149 people a weekend.   The high in the English Mass was 123 and the high for the Spanish was 145.   That shows tremendous growth from 26 people at the Mass under the carport in September of 2011.  We also have over $13,000 dollars in a building fund, some of which is from memorials made in the name of Robert Freeh and Kitty Scott.

It may take us some time to raise the funds necessary for building, but what a wonderful start.

Blessed John Paul II also owns 9.4 acres of land on Hwy 11, the main road through Rutledge just as you enter the town coming from Knoxville.  The first fund raiser netted $1,111.00.  (I should have tossed in 11 cents just to make it fun.)  There are plans for a spring concert to raise additional funds towards our building.   This Saturday will be their first church planning meeting.
After signing the deed for JP II
At Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission is very different community than Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.  More folks are either on fixed income or have seasonal jobs like agriculture and construction.   This effects both attendance and income.   Yet, there is a beauty of faith and family that is so very present within this community.   They really do love one another.
Celebrating life at JP II

Even through we only average 30 people for the English Mass and 66 folks for the Spanish Mass, they have over $10,000 dollars in their building fund.  They support commodities four times a year and feed the volunteers, members are on the board of directors for the food pantry, and they send cards and offer phone calls to our ill and homebound.  
Preparing for one of our many socials

Both communities will someday have permanent worship spaces on these properties.   When will depend on God's timing.   The only condition that is a given, is that half the projected cost must be in the bank before we can start.  God will send it to us at His time.   We will be waiting.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Wonderful Ending to a Great Year

The year of 2013 closed with a series of beautiful events.   Most notable, is that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission, Maynardville, TN as of December 30, 2013, with the help of East Tennessee Catholic Trust Fund, now owns 24.9 acres on Hwy 33 across from the High School.   This will be site of the future home for our faith community.   We are deeply grateful to God, all the supporters of the trust fund, for the sellers to help find a price we could afford, and all those who have prayed for this day.  We have asked each parishioner to do an act of charity this week as a means to demonstrate our gratitude for making this possible.   Maybe you too wish to join us by doing a special act of charity, especially for the poor, after reading this blog.
At the transfer of title and deed for BTC future property

Also, we had nine wonderful days of the "Las Posadas" with Blessed John Paul II in Rutledge beginning on December 15.   Many of these were held in people's home and were followed with tamales, "pan" (Mexican bread) and hot chocolate.   We concluded on the 23rd of December with our Nativity play and piñata.
Fr. Aaron trying to find the piñata.
JP II Nativity Play

There were soup and penance services in both missions helping us prepare ourselves in a more intense spiritual way.  We also celebrated 60 years of marriage for a couple at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission.
60 years of Marriage

Of course, our Christmas Eve and Christmas day was also a delight.  So rather than fill you will more words, here are a few extra photos to highlight the end of the year.    Hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.   May 2014 be a terrific year for you!!!
Mannanitas at JP II
BTC preschool
BTC Middle School at Christmas Party
Santa comes to visit at BTC
Family of  the Happy Couples

Christmas Decorations at BTC

JP II Christmas Decorations
My house --- May 2014 be a wonderful year in full bloom.