Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Year Three -- Nurture

The next five blogs, which I hope will be weekly, will be a celebration of three years of the Glenmary Mission team's three years of presence in Union and Grainger County.   They will follow the five categories of mission that serve as guide for the Glenmary Home Mission Community.   I begin with "Catholic Nurture".
Bishop Announces "we are a parish"
The vestment of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a gift from our St. Malachy Sister Parish

There are many dates to count three years:   If it is upon the arrival of Br. Craig and myself then the date is August 12, 2011.   If it is the first carport Mass then it is September 1, 2011 or the first Sunday Mass which was the first Sunday of October 2011 at the Methodist Church.  Or another possible date would be November 1, 2011 when we gathered for the first Mass in the storefront church located on Hwy 33.  Yet,  from this time forward the anniversary date will be September 5, 2014, the feast of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, when we became more than a mission, but a parish.

Carport Mass Sept. 1, 2011

This might seem confusing.   Yet, the stages of the development of Catholic Community when there is no sponsoring established church is three fold.  They are mission, quasi-parish and parish.   Each represents a stage of Catholic growth.   As a mission, the sense is that this community may grow to become a parish or it might not.   A quasi parish indicated that growth is happening and there is a sign that this community will be permanent but it is still not certain.   A parish means that the faith community is stable and committed to the growth of the church and will be here permanently.   Bishop Stika determined that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in three short years did not need to have the second status of quasi-parish, but was ready to become a parish.

Bishop reading the declaration as a Parish

This is a strong testimony to the faith and action of the believers of Blessed Teresa.  Last year at Easter 15 new members joined us through the RCIA process.   On September 5, 2014, Charles become our newest Catholic.   At the carport Mass in September 1, 2011 26 people gathered; on January 15, 2012 at the first Spanish Mass 18  people gathered.  On the first Sunday of August 2014 there were 102 present at the 9 a.m. English Mass and 115 present at the 11 a.m Spanish Mass.  This is incredible growth.

Confirmation and First Communion of Charles

Our faith formation program was directed by Fr. Aaron for two years.  Now a team of three -- MayPo, Sally and Santa-- are managing the program.   We have over 20 kids preparing for confirmation this year and at every class a few new students join us.   Currently we have five classes and each class has two teachers.  Again this demonstrates the on going leadership of our Catholics.
Adults ...
Children ....
youth ....
and teens on the first day of class.

We just finished our first major fund raiser to get ready for building our new church and social hall on the 24 acreas of land we own.   This event involved almost every family from both worship hours.  It earned over 12,000 dollars.
The Royalty Carnival of 2014

These are all signs of Catholic Nurture and Catholic Growth.   I, as the pastor, aim to provide spiritual growth through the Mass, including the homily and eucharist, through the sacraments, especially confession, and through direction and counciling.   Yet the other activies of socials, liturgy planning, education and evangelization are more and more in the hands of the lay faithful.

Royality court with Queen Vanessa, but minus Taylor
 (who was in the hospital that day)

This is part of becoming an adult church. 

Yet, through the title "mission" has been replaced by "parish" the work of the Glenmary Home Missioners is not yet done.   This is but the second stage of many more stages to come before Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is ready for a diocesan priest to be her pastor.  These other steps include building the structures to support a rapid growing Catholic faith community; developing lay leaders to serve both the parish and the boarder community; and becoming financially independent.  All of this will take more time.   Through we are doing very well financially, we are still  need  assistance of outside donors to remain open.   We will need a great deal of support from outside donors in order to build an appropriate worship space.
Representatives from our sister parish, St. Malachy, Genosis, IL

Therefore, we have achieved much, there is still more to go.   We praise God for what is and for what will be.
The Word Must be Proclaimed

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