June 19, 2022
Statement Regarding False or Misleading Claims
Unfortunately, there have been a number of false or misleading claims that have been made against me regarding the parish, which includes the school. The statement posted on social media by Senator Kevin Daley on Thursday, June 16th, 2022 that "this school [Bishop Kelley] had over 300 students just a few years ago, and we all know what changed when the enrollment dropped", is false and misleading. This also triggered a number of false and misleading claims following his post. I am seeking council in the matter to see how to best handle this now that these statements have been made in a public forum.
In the meantime, I would like to clarify a few things. There were 135 students enrolled in the school before I arrived 4 years ago in 2018. The school was already labeled a school in critical condition by the guidelines of the Archdiocese of Detroit, long before I had arrived here. (By definition, a school in critical conditions was one that any of the three conditions: under 200 students, which would be modified in 2018 to 180 students; 40% parish subsidy, but the diocese was concerned when it was over 25%; or the school received monetary aid from the AOD to support it) Someone recently dropped off meeting minutes from the Parish Finance Council/Stewardship from 1996 that indicated that the school was already in financial trouble, the old school building was in need of many repairs, and there were only 190 students in the school at Bishop Kelley.
At the end of the 2019/2020 academic year, the former superintended recommended that the school be closed. I told him that I was not prepared to do that. Several members of the parish and school staff had to be laid off. Plus, the parish staff, school administration and teachers, and I all took 10% pay cuts to keep the school open for the 2020/2021 school year. This was agreed upon by the Parish Finance Council and would be evaluated through the year. Unfortunately, we lost half of our enrollment due to the mask mandate. By 2021/2022, the enrollment dropped to 50 students, which was precarious, but Finance Council agreed to reopen the school for this past year.
When enrollment dropped to 38 students at the end of the third quarter of 2021/2022, our budget had to be recalculated to adjust to the current numbers. This is when it was revealed that the per pupil cost was approximately $14,000. With a tuition rate of $3,500, the school became unsustainable. The process was begin to evaluate the budget for 2022/2023 and it only became worse. This is when the Finance Council made the recommendation to close the school, triggering the process that I briefly described in the letter that was emailed to the school parents and given to the school staff on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
We sold the south campus property (formerly known as St. Louise) for $650,000, but after fees and the AOD assessment of 7%, we will net about $550,000. With increasing costs to our vendors, the HVAC and roof projects will cost in excess of $730,000 (their vendors have already increased their price by 20%). In order to open the school just next year, with the subsidy, project costs, and to balance the budget, we would need $1.1 million dollars, which dosen't include the cement repair work that needs to be done, the parking lot repaving, the stonework on the church, and the brickwork on the new part of the school. We probably also need $100,000 to pay off the CSA goal.
To address another rumor, the organ is being taken by a reputable organ rebuilder through the summer and fall with the hopes of being reinstalled by Christmas. Fr. Terrien had this project quoted before I arrived and was on the Facilities COmmittee's Running List to be done. This rebuild is long overdue, but he was not in a position to have the work done. It was tabled for a future date. The Committee thought this would be the best timing to have it done. The organ is NOT being donated to the Pix Theater. I repeat, IT IS NOT BEING DONATED TO THE PIX THEATER.
From what parishioners and staff have told me, there are far more young families and crying babies in church now than there had been before. This is a great sign for the parish to show that it i is healthy. Furthermore, more and more parishioners and families are getting involved by volunteering to clean the church and take care of the grounds. We have numerous boys stepping up to serve at Holy Mass and many women and girl singing beautifully in the choir. There are men and women who have been commissioned to read at Mass. There are also men and women who have been commissioned to be Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, who primarily take Holy Communion to the home bound, nursing homes, and hospital. The deacons and I are able to distribute Holy Communion at Mass, so the use of EMHC is not necessary (the distribution of the Precious Blood will not return for reasons of safety).
There are probably plenty of other things to address, but this will suffice for now. I wish I would have been able to keep up with everything and to have communicated this better, but I lost 5 months it seems (probably more), with my dad's illness and death, and the illness and death of friends, family friends, priest-friends or their family members, and parishioners. I am probably the only priest that has the proper PPE (the PAPR or space suit as it's nicknamed), due to your generosity, so I used it generously. It is a great blessing, but I am also spread very thin.
Finally, please pray for the parish and for me. Please know that you are in my prayers. I want to thank those who have already expressed their prayers and support. It means more than I could ever express in words.
Fr. Hurley’s Herald
No sooner did I write about my day off that this boundary was violated again (requests for exemption letters, blessing of herbs, someone posing as a parishioner to distribute Communion at a nursing home, opinions on all sorts of non-emergency things). Unless it is Last Rites (and I am around) or a funeral request (Muir and Lynch should be the one contacting me), it can wait until Monday. I don’t mean to be rude, but I tried giving an example of the rollercoaster ride of stress that can be involved. Sometimes, priests need to get away for some down time. I would appreciate you understanding regarding this boundary.
Vaccine Exemption Letters
There were a few example letters written by different Catholic Bioethics organizations to ask for an exemption for vaccines that were written prior to and during Covid-19, considering the aborted fetal tissue cell lines that were used along with the heavy metals and other toxins used in making vaccines. I have two of the letters that I have been writing for people. If you would like one, please contact me in the office (just not on Friday).
The ladies from the choir will be performing a concert of Sacred and Classical Music this Thursday, August 19th at 7pm in the Church. I heard them practice as we were ending the training of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and they sounded lovely.
We are looking to start Religious Education on Wednesday, September 22nd at 7pm with orientation in the Community Room. I would like to have a meeting with the catechists on Wednesday, August 25th at 7pm in the Fr. Lewnau Room to get things started off.
Bishop Kelley Catholic School will have its Orientation on Wednesday, August 26th at 6pm beginning in the cafeteria/Community Room. Bishop Kelley Catholic School’s first day of class will be Monday, August 30th, 2021. I am looking forward to the year. Please pray that we have a holy and smooth school year.
Please Note: There will be a pre-school this year. Please pass the word. Contact the office if you would like to enroll for the Fall.
Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA)
The RCIA will begin meeting in the Fr. Lewnau room in the old section of the school beginning Monday, August 23rd at 7pm. This will be for all those who would like to become Catholic. I have been meeting with a number of people individually or as a family already, so I am hoping this year’s class will be fairly large.
If you would like to become Catholic or are curious, please come to that first meeting.
I will be meeting with a parishioner that is hoping to restart the Youth Group. I will know more after this Sunday.
Party in the Parking Lot
I would like to throw a party in the parking lot in September and October. If you are interested in heading this up, please contact me. There are parishioners with bands, so I will see if any are available.
With Lapeer Days coming up next weekend, if anyone would like to help with groundwork and patrolling the property during the event, please let me know. This worked well during the protests last year.
May God be Blessed!
A special thanks to Rod and Karen Mersino for hosting the altar boy pizza and pool party. We had some of the newer families come, so it was nice that the families could mingle. It was nice that some of the younger siblings could attend, as well, so that the littles could play with one another.
A parishioner, who wants to remain anonymous, has just made her first pledge for the HVAC (air conditioning) system and roof. The Roof project will have to start next year, but I am thinking about pulling ahead the HVAC system, since it keeps going out and cannot pull the moisture out of the air to help cool the church down.
On behalf of the Finance Council, I am petitioning Archbishop Vigneron to sell Immaculate Conception’s South Campus (formerly known at St. Louise). It has not been approved yet. The sale of this property will most definitely help with the capital improvements at the church.
May 9, 2021
In talking to Pat Tripp, we would like to begin the Religious Education this Fall on Wednesday, September 15th with an oreintation at 6 pm in the church and then head over to the old section of the school to hold classes. Class will begin the following Wednesday, September 22nd at 6 pm until 7:30 pm.
A few catechists approached us to return to their classrooms, which is good news. If you would like to volunteer as a catechist, please contact Pat or me. At Pat's request, she will be relocated to the parish office. We have to establish office hours, so those will be published soon.
We would also like to host a simple meal for the kids, parents, and catechists once a month before class. This could be spaghetti, sloppy joes, mac & cheese, pizza, and the like. Please let us know if you will be interested in helping with that.
It worked well to have a separate class for Confirmation. I think I will continue with that program. We met every other week this year, leading up to the Vigil. I would like to continue that next Fall. With the limited classroom space, we might have to meet at a different time than RE or at an overlapped time like 7-8 pm.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) usually starts in the Fall. What became clear from this year's class is the general consensus that there wasn't enough time to cover the material in 6-7 months. The Archdiocese of Detroit was encouraging pastors and directors to expand the program. Beginning this Fall, we will move to a two-year program.
The RCIA program will begin Monday, September 20th at 7 pm with a 3-month inquiry process. This will allow for a discernment process between teh potential catechumen to discern if they want to become Catholic. I will also allow us to discern if they are ready. Then, they will be accepted into the Catechumenate and study the Catholic Faith for a year (January to December). The last 3 months will be the period of enlightenment leading up to the Easter Vigil.
Technically, the RCIA is for people who are not baptized. Those who are baptized may be received into the Church at any time, depending on their catechesis. They should really be in another program, but quite often they are placed into the RCIA because of the lack of staffing. We will have to discern how that will be handled.
I would like to begin a program for Adult Education. I am looking at doing this on a Saturday evening, beginning in either June or September. It would start with Dr. Scott Hahn's work "A Father Who Keeps His Promises," including my take on it. I would then like to go through Dr. Brandt Petre's work "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist."
Right now, Saturday June 12th at 6 pm or September 11th at 6 pm would be good start dates. Please let me know if you are interested. We could begin with dinner of some sort and then go into the book/talk.
Please let me know if you are interested.
We Need Worship - Facebook Page from Ireland
I will be posting statements from young people in Ireland, who have been barred from public Mass by their politicians. This was once Catholic Ireland, Not so much since they legalized abortion. Reading these pleas from these young people breaks my heart, but also gives me hope for the future. Remember.....this happened briefly here in the States. It could happen again.
"For myself, and thousands of Catholics around Ireland, the Mass is absolutely essential. Our churches provide a place of refuge for people of all different walks of life. When we entered yet another lockdown in which our right to attend Mass was taken away from us, many people were very overwhelmed and upset. It was very hard to understand why I could ring for a takeaway from my Supermacs but I was under no circumstances allowed to attend Mass.
Up until March 2020, daily Mass was a very important part of my life but overnight, the Irish politicians decided that our right to worship simply wasn't important enough. Despite the difficult circumstances of being deprived of the Sacraments, many people came from various parts of Limerick to pray outside out local church. In the weeks since Christmas, we've come to understand what it means to be truly Catholic. We've been laughed at, pointed at, and shouted at. We've had multiple visits from the Gardai at the request of our local councilor. Some women even took it upon themselves to blas music from their home to disrupt our prayers shortly before calling the Gardai.
With the current troubles worldwide, the Mass is more important than ever. We must continue to pray for our politicians and bishops, that God will give them the strength to make the right choices in a difficult situation."
- Gemma, 18, Limerick
"Being a Catholic has always been part of my life. There have been struglles with my faith along the way - some big, some small. So when lockdown hit in March 2020, I made sure for my own mental health that I would never let myself be alone. Somhow I managed to remain surrounded by people, so 2020 wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But that soon came to and end.
I realised that stopping myself from being alone would not last, so I started walking to my local church to see my Father. It was then that I realised how alone I really was. My anxiety hit me in an instant and I have suffered with breakdowns and panic attacks because of how alone I felt without the Sacraments.
When lockdown hit again in January 2021, I was not allowed to work so I was at home most of the time. My panic attacks and mental breakdowns got worse, because I felt I was just becoming more and more alone. All i thought to myself was - I want my Father.
Living in a world where I am not allowed to receive my Lord and Savious Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, this was killing me on the inside. I have prayed for Mass to come back since this pandemic started and in December 2020 I was finally able to recieve the Eucharist again. I cried and cried because I felt lthat loneliness disappear. But soon after that, a new lockdown started, the Sacraments were taken away and my loneliness came back.
Suicidal thoughts were stronger than ever before. My body was falling with the weight of my sins. Everything hit me so hard throughout this latest lockdown. Having anxiety and insomnia in a lockdown where you feell alone is not something anyone should go through, but I did. All I want is to not feel alone. For that, I need the Sacrament of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confession. But these were taken away from me.
People want and NEED to be able to go to Mass. I want and NEED to be able to go to Mass. I NEED to receive my Lord and Savious Jesus Christ, who died for my sins - sins that we cannot currently confess, because that Sacrament was taken from us too.
Not being able to receive and participate in the CENTRE of my Catholic faith is like living on an earth with no sun. For me, this pandemic will be over when we can go back to Mass - because really, that is all we need.
- Paulus, 19, Limerick
Fr. Hurley’s Herald
We welcome back Fr. Paul Czarnota to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sunday, February 7th at noon. Fr. Czarnota had been the pastor of the parishes in Emmett and Yale. He worked with Fr. Terrien after they switched Vicariates. He also got to know a number of families that attend Mass here now.
Fr. Carlos Martins will be covering the Masses from Monday, February 8th – 11th. Since he only knows that Novus Ordo, Mass will be in English those days. He will be taking the Masses next weekend to begin promoting the parish mission that begins Sunday, February 14th at 7 pm. Please see the other side for the flier on the mission. I will have the noon Mass on Sunday, February 14th.
Ashes will be imposed during the 9am and noon Novus Ordo Masses in English and prior to the Traditional Latin Mass at 7pm. It appears that the method will be the traditional method of sprinkling the ashes on the crown of the head. Please wear something dark, so as not to ruin your clothes. They did allow for cotton balls or cotton swabs to be used, but they would have to be thrown out after each use. That is an awful lot of waste, so we will be doing the sprinkling of the ashes. From what I can tell, this also applies to the TLM, because the rubrics reference the head not the forehead.
The rescheduled date for the initial Confirmation meeting will be Monday, February 22nd at 6pm in the parish church. If we have a snow date, will Tuesday, February 23rd in the church. This will be for those in the 8th grade or those teens or adults that were not Confirmed while in the 8th grade.
I am waiting on a reply from Bishop Cepeda’s secretary, who is coordinating the Confirmation Schedule. The dates I have asked for are June 23rd, 24th, and 30th at 7 pm, with the 24th being the first choice. She will let me know as soon as she finds out that she has secured one of the bishops.
Stations of the Cross
We are hoping to have Stations of the Cross on the Fridays of Lent. I have to coordinate the schedule with Deacon Hulway and our musicians. I hope to have something scheduled before Ash Wednesday.
Fr. Hurley’s Herald January 2021
Pre-Lent Lenten Mission
My friend, Fr Carlos Martins, C.C., asked a number of priests if we would like a Lenten Mission. Many said yes, so his only dates available were right before Ash Wednesday, hence the “Pre-Lent” in the title. Fr. Martins has been here twice that I know of with his “Treasures of the Church” relic presentation. Once with Fr. Terrien and once my first year here. Due to capacity and social distancing issues, he will lead a parish mission without his relic presentation.
Fr. Carlos Martins will cover the Masses on the weekend of February 13/14. The Mission will begin on Sunday evening, February 14th and run through Tuesday, February 16th. Each evening will begin at 7pm.
Here is a summary of Fr. Martin’s Mission:
Jesus’ Lenten Conversations …
Our faith encompasses different elements, each of which expresses it. The Sacraments restore, heal, and nurture us in the life of God. The Liturgy joins us to the Church’s worship and connects us with believers world-wide. The rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, novenas, and the Church’s devotions, give concrete expression to our prayers and petitions. Reading Scripture, the forming of one’s conscience, and the observance of penitential practices, give further shape to one’s faith. And the list goes on.
Occasionally, however, it is good to look at the big picture, “to get back to basics,” and examine why we do what we do. Without that, our faith can become ritualistic and no longer give us the life it once did.
At the center of our faith stands Jesus Christ. Each of us have had our own encounters with Him, encounters which have led us to regard Him in the way we do. But how often do we let Him redefine and reshape that relationship so that it may refresh us anew?
In this parish mission, I propose that we allow Jesus to do this very thing. Our starting point will be the conversations Jesus had with three persons: Pontius Pilate, Peter the Apostle, and Satan. I call these “Jesus’ Lenten conversations,” since they are occasions where He reveals His identity so profoundly, that one cannot help but be transformed by them.
Come to this mission and allow Jesus to introduce Himself to you anew.
Distribution of Ashes
The procedure for the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday have been changed by Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Divine Worship and the Sacraments. For the Masses in the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo), the blessed ashes will be sprinkled on the top of the head instead of marking the sign of the Cross on the forehead. This isn’t a new practice worldwide, but it is for us in the U.S. and Canada.
In fact, on Ash Wednesday of 2000, I was in Rome at a Papal Audience with John Paul II and a Mass later that day. This is how he imposed ashes on the people that were selected to receive ashes from him. This is how I received ashes outside of the church later that day from a priest that was concelebrating the Mass with JPII. I liked the idea of it and thought how it resembled the way ashes were done in the Old Testament, when the prophets or King David put on sack cloth and sprinkled ashes on their heads.
I should know more about the procedure come Ash Wednesday.
Just a reminder, there will be a meeting for the 8th graders (or those adult Catholics who missed their Confirmation) on Tuesday, February 26th at 7pm in the church. This will be for parents and 8th graders (or adults) who will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. This will be an introductory meeting and homework will be assigned. I will also go over the “class schedule”. When I receive a date from the bishop, I will let you know in order to plan.
Come, Holy Spirit Prayer
(This prayer is to be memorized before the Confirmation Interview.)
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of thy love.
Let us pray. O God, who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in his consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Fr. Hurley’s Herald
The portable sanitizers (or misters) that Denise Gabryel that had been recommended to the Finance Council have been purchased and are paid in full. We will still need sanitizing product for those units, so periodic donations will be appreciated.
We have purchased Reme Halo In-Duct Air Purifiers from Kapala Heating and Cooling (they are the local distributor for these units) for the school and rectory. They have been installed in the school and will be installed in the rectory shortly. We are awaiting a quote for the unit to be installed into the church (installation unfortunately will happen in February). We are accepting donations for these units.
The Englemann’s (who own Kapala’s) have personally donated half of the cost of the units installed in the school (and to be installed in the rectory). I would like to thank them for this seed money to help us get started in the process of providing a healthy atmosphere for the school and rectory. There were also two portable units purchased with their help (one for the confessional and one for the old section of the school).
Dispensation from Sunday Mass
Archbishop Vigneron has extended the dispensation from Sunday Mass until Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021. This is for anyone in the Archdiocese of Detroit or those visiting the Archdiocese of Detroit (when we travel, we technically fall under the bishop’s jurisdiction of the diocese we are visiting unless your bishop has placed restrictions on you). A copy of the dispensation has been included as an insert. This extension has been granted “so as not to unduly bind the consciences of those who are greatly troubled by… the coronavirus, and to care for the most vulnerable among us, such as the elderly.”
Archbishop Vigneron did add a nuance to this decree. It is not a carte blanche dispensation. He states “At the same time, one should not take advantage of the dispensation without a true need. Catholics who have already begun to engage in non-essential activities, such as widening one’s social circle or going out to eat, should return to Sunday Mass – an essential activity – as church capacity allows.”
He also reminded us that we are to keep the Lord’s Day Holy “Whether or not they are able to attend Mass, all baptized Catholics are reminded of the grave necessity they have to keep holy the Lord’s Day. This a divine law that neither I nor anyone else can ever dispense. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection of our Lord, and as such Christians from the earliest days have set it apart as a day unlike others. When it is not possible to participate in person in the Sacrifice of the Mass, it is vitally important for every member of the Catholic Church to observe the Sabbath by prioritizing prayer, time for God and for family, and works of charity.”
Safety and Health
Again, with the numbers going up, masks are strongly recommended while in the church. Also, those over the age of 65 years or have a compromised immune system are strongly recommended to stay home and watch the Mass via the internet or tv. It is recommended to bring your own hand sanitizers and wipes to sanitize your own area.
With allergens in the air, one can’t help but need to blow one’s nose. For the sake of those around you, please blow your nose in the bathroom or outside of the building. Also, do not pile up your used tissues or masks in the pews. It is gross and no one wants to have to clean up after you. Before you leave, please make sure your area is clean and take your used items, including the bulletins, with you.
Prayers to Learn
Below are a number of prayers that would be good to learn in these times.
Vianney Vocations - Courage in Hardship
Courage in Hardship - Prayer of Trust and Intercession
Jesus, in these difficult times, I renew my faith and trust in you. I believe in Your tender love for all people and Your absolute sovereignty over world affairs. Send Your Holy Spirit to protect the Church and console all believers, especially those burdened with fear and anxiety. I pray, especially for all bishops and priests, may they shepherd Your people with wisdom and grace amidst uncertainty. In this time of crisis, open anew the hearts of young people and raise up new saints to witness to Your everlasting love. Amen
Fr. Zuhlsdorf posted a these prayers on his blogsite (wdtprs.com)
Fr. Ripperger’s prayer of Command on Fr. Z’s blog
In His Name and by the power of His Cross and Blood, I ask Jesus [Christ of Nazareth] to bind any evil spirits, forces and powers of the earth, air, fire, or water, of the netherworld, and the satanic forces of nature. By the power of the Holy Spirit and by His authority, I ask Jesus Christ [of Nazareth] to break any curses, hexes, or spells and send them back to where they came from, if it be His Holy Will. I beseech Thee Lord Jesus [Christ of Nazareth] to protect us by pouring Thy Precious Blood on us (my family, etc.) which Thou hast shed for us and I ask Thee to command that any departing spirit leave quietly, without disturbance, and go straight to Thy Cross to dispose of as Thou sees fit. I ask Thee [Jesus Christ of Nazareth] to bind any demonic interaction, interplay, or communications. I place N. (person, place, or thing) under the protection of the Blood of Jesus Christ [of Nazareth] which He shed for us. Amen.
DAILY OFFERING TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
Lord Jesus Christ, in union with that divine intention wherewith on earth Thou didst offer to God Thy praises through Thy Most Sacred Heart, and dost now offer them in the Sacrament of the Eucharist everywhere on earth even to the end of time, I most gladly offer Thee throughout this entire day, all my thoughts and intentions, all my affections and desires, all my words and deeds, in imitation of the most sacred Heart of the blessed and ever Virgin Mary Immaculate. Amen.
Domine Iesu Christe, in unione illius divinae intentionis, quia in terris per sanctissimum Cor tuum laudes Deo persolvisti et nunc in Eucharistiae Sacramento ubique terrarum persolvis usque ad consummationem saeculi, ego per hanc diem integram, ad imitationem sanctissimi Cordis beatae Mariae semper Virginis immaculatae, tibi libentissime offero omnes meos intentiones et cogitationes, omnes meos affectus et desideria, omnia mea opera et verba. Amen.
DAILY OFFERING TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (if applicable, here kiss your scapular as sign of your consecration to Mary, which carries a partial indulgence), I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day. O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them in the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! AMEN.
PRAYER FOR PRIESTS OF ST. THERESE OF THE CHILD OF JESUS
O Jesus, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests; for your unfaithful and tepid priests; for your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for your tempted priests; for your lonely and desolate priests; for your young priests; for your dying priests; for the souls of your priests in purgatory.
But above all, I recommend to you the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, especially ___ (and Fr. Z!). O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.
Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy Divine Love. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created and Thou shall renew the face of the earth...
Let us Pray… O God, who didst instruct the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit,
Grand that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart with your holy gifts. Let my weakness be penetrated with your strength this very day that I may fulfill the duties of my state in life conscientiously, that I may do what is right and just. Let my charity be such as to offend no one and hurt no one's feelings; so generous as to pardon sincerely any wrong done to me. Assist me in all the trials of life, enlighten me in my ignorance, advise me in my doubts, strengthen my weakness, help me in all needs and embarrassment, protect me in temptations and console me in all afflictions. Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit, and pour your light into my heart, my soul and my mind. Assist me to live a holy life and to grow in goodness and grace. Amen
Symptoms and Church
As of 11 September 2020, the CDC listed a number of symptoms such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea/vomiting, and diarrhea. Please stay home if you have experienced any of these symptoms. They may range from mild to severe. The Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Some of the above symptoms overlap with allergies, so please be aware of that. Sneezing and itchy watery eyes may also be signs of allergies, but not covid-19.
If you are in church with any of these symptoms, you may/will be asked to leave the church and to stay home for the above period. Please do not get offended by this request if someone asks you to leave the building.
Some people have a devotional practice of touching the Stations of the Cross, Crucifix, or other Sacred Images in the church. Please refrain from doing this, in order to prevent the spread of germs/viruses.
Two Vornado sanitizing machines were purchased to help sanitize the school and church. Al Landosky is working with Fred Green to establish a group of trained volunteers to be able to use them after Mass or other functions at the school, such as Knights of Columbus or Ladies League meetings. Please see them to volunteer.
Denise Gabryel will be organizing a collection for donations to pay for the machines. Please contact her or me if you are interested in donating to offset the cost of the sanitizers.
The Second Confirmation retreat is Saturday, October 17th from 10a-12:30p. The Confirmations will take place at Mass on Wednesday, October 21st at 7pm. So far, there are about 9 people that will be in attendance. If you need to be Confirmed, please contact me in the office.
We have been delayed with Religious Education due to the ever-changing landscape with Covid-19. Kenlin Botello has resigned from her position at the Director of Religious Education due to personal reasons. I would like to thank her for her work here as Director of Religious Education and her work with the RCIA.
Pat Tripp will be staying on as the Religious Education Secretary. We will begin to open up registrations via email to Mrs. Tripp or myself. Please email her at [email protected] (the school changed over their email addresses, so we may need to update RE’s emails) and carbon copy me at [email protected]. The only cost will be the books. I will need a count before I can order them in bulk.
It appears that we will begin with a home study using the Baltimore Catechism. I am hoping that when there are less restrictions, we will have in class instruction. Please see me if you would like to be a catechist if and when we go in class instruction.
I would like to meet with those that Home School their children after the noon Mass on October 25th to make sure that we have the latest contact information, age/grade of the children (especially those in Sacramental years), and the curriculum that you are using. We will host this in the parish church. If you are not able to make that meeting, please contact me at the office by email.
Right of Christian Initiation of Adults
The RCIA has begun. We have a class of four. If you know of anyone who would like to become Catholic, please contact me in the parish office. The classes will now meet at the Fr. Lewnau room in the old section of the school. The classes are Monday evenings from 7-8:30pm. We will stop enrollment at the end of October.
All Saints Day
All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. It falls on a Sunday this year, so there will not be a change in the schedule.
If anyone is interested in hosting an All Saints party either Saturday, October 31st or Sunday, November 1st, please let me know. We could possibly do something at the pavilion at St. Louise. Depending on the restrictions in place, we may be able to use the Community Room if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
All Souls Day
There will be three Masses for All Souls day. Plus, we will be adding a Requiem Mass on Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7pm. The Purgatorial Society will be hosting prayers in the Cemetery all week. There are indulgences attached to the Masses and Prayers in the Cemetery. They will be putting in an insert in the next week or so. Please see that for more information.
Blessing of Objects
Since there was a number of items to be blessed, which took longer than expected, I will begin at 7pm on the First Wednesday. I probably will have spots to put different items, so that I know what I am blessing. Please have your medals, rosaries, etc. bagged separately with your name on them, so that we can keep track of them.
Fr. Hurley’s Herald
Blessing of Objects
The parish office has been getting inundated with objects to bless, so I am opting to set aside one evening a month to do this. It might make things easier all the way around. Since I am generally around to hear Confessions at 8pm on the First Wednesday of each month, I am going to do the blessings before that. This will be easier for bulk items.
Starting October 7th at 7:30pm, I will bless all objects, such as pictures, statues, scapulars, medals, salt, water, oil, wine, candles, etc. For those that have not been enrolled in the Brown Scapular or Miraculous Medal, this will be a good time to have that done, too. The blessings will be done using the Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual), because there is a blessing for almost everything.
If you need a single object blessed in between time for a birthday or baptism, please drop that off in the office with you name, phone number, and date needed by. Otherwise, the First Wednesday will be the primary days to bless items, especially in bulk.
Back on April 30th, the Archdiocese of Detroit issued directives regarding funerals and eventually began to open things up to the reception of Holy Communion and more capacity. The focus for this article is simply the location of where a Funeral may occur. The Archdiocese of Detroit lists 3 possible locations (with the provision of a 4th that is already an option).
The first is in a Parish Church where a “Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated”. The second is at a Catholic Cemetery in which “a Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass may be celebrated a Catholic cemetery chapel or graveside”. This means a Mass may be celebrated at/in the chapel. Graveside would be the Liturgy Outside of Mass. At any Cemetery, “Committal Services may continue to be celebrated at any proper burial place pursuant to the guidelines of the cemetery”. Finally, we are already allowed to celebrate a Funeral Liturgy Outside of Mass in a funeral home, but they are restricted currently in the number of people that may be present in their building.
There have been requests to have funerals outside. Since we do not have a chapel at Mt. Loretto Cemetery, we are not able to have the Funeral Masses outside. I don’t want to set a precedent for something that is not permitted. However, we were able to accommodate a wake (visitation and Rosary/Scripture Service) at St. Louise for a parishioner that had a large family and a number of friends. The family led the Rosary, which was one of their customs, and said that it worked out well. The funeral was held in church here at Immaculate Conception and we were able to accommodate them here. It seemed to work out well.
Visiting in Church
One of the caveats that has manifested during this time of restriction and limitation is visiting or talking in church before Mass, especially before weddings and funerals. Quite often we are sanitizing after morning Mass, so we need time to clean and allow the product to dry. Therefore, we have been restricting people from entering the parish church, to ensure that they do not ruin their clothes by sitting on a pew with bleach.
One of the things that many visitors not realize is that visiting prior to Mass (and afterwards) is not considered a liturgical gathering, therefore, it is limited in scope and is not to exceed 10 persons. So, if you see a sign up asking for silence in church before or after a Mass, please understand that this is the reason for that request. I have been having to excuse people from the church, who are chatting, in order to follow this directive.
Furthermore, we shouldn’t be chatting in church to begin with. I have had a number of complaints from people that come in to the church with limited time to pay a visit to Our Lord and are disturbed by people who want to chat with them. Please do not disturb people while they are praying before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. A simple greeting is fine if they give you eye contact, but please do not go up and disturb them if they are praying. Please also do not get offended if they do not want to talk or visit. Some are on lunch break. Others have a few moments after work before they have to head home to their families. Please respect their boundaries.
Fr. Hurley’s Herald
Parish Census and Enrollment
The Parish Finance Council wanted to do a parish census and subsequently do a follow up campaign in which they called parishioners/families to make sure that we had the correct contact information. In order to get this process going, we had to determine a threshold regarding parish enrollment, which was the parishioner/family has contributed to the Sunday Collection (this includes on-line giving) at least once since January 2019. During the Covid shutdown, the Archdiocese of Detroit was asking similar questions to track the health of the parishes throughout the AOD. This helped them gauge attendance, enrollment, giving, and the like, causing them to delay the Catholic Services Appeal, encourage us to apply for the Parish Protection Program, consider laying off staff, and move towards an archdiocesan wide reorganization.
In order to begin this process, Karen linked me to the Parish Data System, which is the software program that tracks parish enrollments, giving, and the like. What I began to encounter were registered families that had been inactive for years. Some would register to get a sacrament and then would never been seen or heard from again. Quite often, the date of registration corresponded to the birth of a child, leading to a baptism. The last time a contribution would be made would correspond to the age of Confirmation for some of the children. We also saw this trend with weddings.
Karen then had to make sure the PDS information also corresponded to the Envelope Provider’s system. The end result was that the number of actively registered parishioners fell to about 850. This is in line with the guestimate of the Finance Council of about 800 families that was made earlier this year. We tried to take into consideration those who were elderly and possibly in nursing homes, as well as, those who are known to be unemployed. With the use of online giving the number of envelopes assigned will be closer to 750 once Karen completes the correlation between PDS and the envelope company software.
However, a parishioner or family may have been inadvertently made in active during the course of the update. Please let us know if that is the case. One of the ways that you will know is that you will not receive envelopes during the next round of mailings. If you do not give online and were expecting envelopes and do not receive them, please call the office for us to update our records. I apologize ahead of time if this happens to you.
Please note that the members of the Finance Council will be making phones calls in the near future to confirm your mailing information. They will not be asking for money, so if someone were to pose as one of them and ask for money, please hang up and call the office to notify us of that case.
Bishop Kelley Catholic School
Monday, August 31 was the first day back for the school. It was good to see the kids return and brighten up the day. They all seemed excited to be back to school. They parents seemed very happy, too. Thank you for all of your prayers, so that we could open up and return to school for in-class instruction.
For Liability reasons and due to Covid, I am going to have to put signage up around the parking lot and the playgrounds stating that this is the private property of the parish. It hasn’t been as bad with the parking lot (the parking lot usage gets abused around Lapeer Days or other events). Unfortunately, I am getting more and more concerned with the playgrounds. Too often, I am finding things damaged or mishandled, such as a kid climbing on the basketball pole to “fix the rim”. I am also concerned that we will need to limit the amount of traffic to the parish and school, so as to limit the amount of sanitizing that will happen.
Religious Education is in the process of organizing and contacting parents for this coming year. It appears that we will be doing distance learning this year. More information will follow, so that we can begin the end of September or the beginning of October.
Archbishop Vigneron delegated the authority for Confirmations to the priests until the end of the December 24, 2020. Bishop Cepeda wrote: “Pastors have the faculty to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to their parishioners, including minors of the appropriate age, in their parish church for the rest of the calendar year (expiring on December 24, 2020). Pastors must ensure that all liturgical directives are followed in the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation.”
The Confirmation retreat will be on Saturday, September 19th from 10am to 12:30pm in the church. I am considering adding a second retreat on Saturday, October 16th from 10am to 12:30pm. I will be sending out an email with this information, but if you are one of the people that suspects they were not Confirmed validly, please call the parish office or email me.
The Rite of Confirmation will take place at Mass on Wednesday, September 30th at 7pm. If there is a need, there will be a second date on Wednesday, October 21st at 7pm.
Catholic Services Appeal
The 2020-2021 Catholic Services Appeal will begin the weekend of September 12/13th. The AOD has begun to centralize this operation, so you may have already received an appeal letter through the mail. If not, please look for it in the next couple of weeks. They are trying to get as many people to register and donate on line.
Annual Good Friday Appeal for the Holy Land
The annual appeal taken on Good Friday for the Custody of the Holy Land was delayed due to the Covid shutdown. The Franciscans that manage the Custody for the Latin Church have asked us to do a collection the Sunday before the Triumph of the Holy Cross on September 14th. This will be done as a second collection the weekend of September 12/13th at all the Masses.
From the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, there is a statement regarding the aid given to the Christians in the Holy Land:
“In a recent interview with the Custody of the Holy Land, President Fr. Peter Vasko explained that the foundation has “donated $10,000 to the parish of Bethlehem and $10,000 to the parish of Jerusalem for food supplies.” Vasko says that FFHL has been focused on helping deliver supplies to the elderly and those who were not able to leave their homes because of COVID-19. Additionally, they have been providing assistance to families in need and those who have lost their jobs during this difficult time. FFHL continues to give to many other fields as well, including scholarships for the Magnificat school of music, helping with the building and renovation of homes for the Christians of the Holy Land, financing the social services centre in Bethlehem and the Casa del Fanciullo for children with disadvantaged families, and funding sports programs for Palestinian children.”
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher also takes up an appeal. I hope to do one of those as well.