Today we celebrate the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. This weekend’s readings invite us to reflect on our own ability to recognize the Lord Jesus and God’s prophets in our midst. The voice of the prophet may come to us in words of a friend, a member of the faith community or even by someone that we may not particularly like. If we don’t like what we hear, chances are we need to listen and seek the Spirit’s presence in our resistance. We remember that God’s message is often mitigated in human experience, and fear should not stop us from paying attention to the Spirit’s whispers and nudges. (Having just celebrated the Birth of Saint John the Baptist on June 24th, this is an appropriate “follow up.”)
Next weekend will be the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are all created in the image and likeness of God and we are chosen by God to fulfill the purpose of the “One who accomplishes all things.” We are sent as missionaries and prophets to preach the good news by the witness of our lives. The path will not always be straight, nor will the message always be heard or welcome. But the Lord promises that as we go forth into the world, his grace is sufficient to do the work of disci- pleship: to preach and to heal those we encounter.
I hope you all had a nice and peaceful Fourth of July holiday. With “the Fourth” in the middle of the week this year, many are still celebrating this weekend. I hope to see you all back in the near future!
Some thoughts about the parish: Since I just marked my second anniversary as your pastor, on June 30th, I thought I’d pass on some information that we have recently received from the Archdiocese about the statistics of our parish.
For the year ending in 2017, within the actual boundaries of Saint Monica Parish there are 714 registered Catholic households (registered in some parish). Of those 714 registered Catholic households 366 (or 51%) are registered here at Saint Monica. (That means that 49% of the house- holds, 348 households, who live in the parish are registered Catholics in some other parish.) As
of last year we have 804 registered families. While 366 live in the boundaries, the other 438 live in some other parish. Most of those live in Incarnate Word’s boundaries (111), while Saint John Bosco could claim 77, and Saint Anselm could have 69. There are approximately 50 Saint Monica house- holds, registered here, who live in Saint Richard’s. The other 130 or so actually live in Our Lady of the Pillar, Holy Spirit, Saint Jude, and beyond. Mr. John Schwob, the Director of Pastoral Planning for the Archdiocese, wrote “The percent of your parishioners living in your boundaries has been very consistent over the past 10 years and last year was 46%. However, the percent of Catholic households in your boundaries that are registered at your parish has declined significantly over the past 10 years. In 2008, it was 66%; this past year it was only 51%. For whatever reason, Catholics in your area are continuing to register at other parishes.” Obviously that is an issue that we need to address.
Regarding School Enrollment (not including the Pre-School): In 2017-2018, the year just completed, there were 169 students, 2016-2017, 163; 2015-2016, 161; 2014-2015, 176; 2013-2014, 163; 2012-2013, 169; 2011-2012, 184; 2010-2011, 222; 2009-2010, 265; and 2008-2009, 285. At present there are only 145 registered students for grades K-8 for next year. As mentioned in the bulletin several weeks ago, forty of the families in our school are registered parishioners. Our pre-school began in the 2013-2014 school year when Hamilton Christian School closed. The enrollment has been fairly consistent, in the upper 70’s to low 80’s, although this past year it was a bit lower, with only 64 It is slated to be “up” again this year, especially with the addition of another three year old class- room.
I put all of this in to be sure all of us are aware that while Saint Monica is perceived to be a “big” parish, it really isn’t. 800 families / households is considered a mid-size parish. If we take an average of 2.7 people per household (some, I know are larger, and we have a good number of “single person” households) the approximate number of parishioners is 2170. Demographically only 14% of the people who live in the area covered by our parish are Catholic.
Bottom line: The people in our parish are an aging population, but we have a BIG opportunity to do a lot of evangelizing here in this area of Saint Louis County. I hope we can do that … through vibrant Liturgies, through appropriate faith study opportunities (especially one you can do at home, FORMED.ORG!), a first rate full time school and PSR, good organizations, helping people throughout the ages to come to a deeper respect and love for God and the faith.
May we work together in doing that. Saint Monica and Saint Augustine, pray for us!
Since the Fiscal Year ended last weekend, I will have a report next week (July 14-15) about our INCOME for this past year … covering all the parishioners who have envelopes, give on line, and make special donations to the parish. It will not include various fundraisers, just the “normal” stewardship that each family is asked to provide to the parish for its ongoing ministries. I think you will be interested in that.
Fr Joe Weber