AS ONE OF OUR PARENTS REMINDED ME—at the end of my last column (somehow missed last week), I said I would recap the opening day of school and my visits. It was a joyful, exciting day (Wednesday, August l8). I visited every class from 8th to 2nd Grade, and called each student’s name for a personal hello. The kids, as another educator taught me to look for, were obviously happy, joyful and relaxed.

Then Friday I visited all the rest. We have 2 kindergarten classes, and then the preschool is sectioned up into small groups-3 of the 4-year olds, 2 of the 3-year olds. So that makes 8 classrooms of the youngest. Msgr. Blood too toured the whole school in the following days. Congratulations to our principal Tammi Rohman, now in her third year, and our fine faculty. We say goodbye to our school secretary Maggie Hermann, who’s taken a job with the Archdiocese. We have some help for now as we search and interview for that position.

Our PSR too got off to a roaring start. Our Director of Parish Faith Development, Jen Meehan, developed a nice evening beginning in church, then in the rooms with the teachers, and outside for ice cream treats. The parents I talked to were very enthusiastic about the spirit of the evening and what they know to look forward to.

This weekend I’m actually in New Hampshire for the wedding of my niece., and next weekend I’ll be on the ACTS retreat with our men and will be here for the ll:30 Sunday Mass.

Father Ben Keller, the old “Deacon Ben”, is here today in town from Purdue University in Indiana to celebrate Mass and baptize 2 parish babies. We’re glad to see him again, and glad for the connections our people, these two families in particular, feel with him.

We celebrated the parish feast day of St. Monica last weekend, as has been the practice here. It was good to see her through the prism of Sunday’s regular Gospel about not getting caught up in the trap- pings of “religion”, but to pray earnestly and serve those in need.

There seemed to be a little more confusion last weekend in church about masks. There needn’t be. The County Council is finally in agreement with the County Executive in issuing a mask mandate for indoors. They stopped short of criminal fines, but issued the mandate and asked the judge to remover any barriers to the Executive’s previous order.  The answer is clear as reading the morning paper.  Our children  can’t get vaccinated yet, and seniors or others with vulnerabilities are trying to finally return to church. This is just the environment we live in and the county government has clarified it, and the Archbishop supports them for our church and other indoor activities.

Our surprising run of Baptisms continues. I had one last weekend, we have the two today, Msgr. has a couple of them coming up, and I have four on Sept. 25. Stewardship is also coming up, as I’ll preach all the Masses that weekend, and we’ll have lay speakers then.

Finally, the lawn around the rectory has been improved. Work was done and then it was seeded, and God with a hand from me has watered it for new growth.

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