Twilight Twitches

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
fetscherDear Family,
Last August, I wrote here that I was considering adding a kitchen to McDonnell Parish Center. I had some good input from some wise people including our best culinary event coordinator, and a good architect. The Archbishop gave us permission to build if we have the money in the bank.
Last January I wrote:  I’d like you to think about and pray about is the possible kitchen for Msgr. McDonnell Hall. I have been talking about it for a while. I have received funds for the kitchen and one generous parishioner has pledged to match gifts up to $100.000.

The Pastoral Council and also the Finance Committee have been talking about it. Please note that I said “possible.” It isn’t a done deal by any means and I am benefitting from the discussions we have been having. However, I am very serious about asking you to pray for a little – or maybe a whole lot – of guidance from the Holy Spirit. If we had all the money in the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should spend it, especially on the most expensive room you could build per square foot – a kitchen.

If we build it, I need to know that the hand of the Lord was in it. God knows it’s not an ego thing for me to build something. After all, I already built a monument to me, two incredibly beautiful ADA equipped bathrooms (and a modest bride’s area.) I mean how much more of a monument does someone need? So if we do a kitchen, it is because it is going to give the parish family an enhanced vehicle for our gatherings. I also believe in my heart of hearts, that we haven’t even begun to imagine what we might be able to do with it. Unfortunately, “If you build it they will come” doesn’t always work to serve as a business model. A business model wants to make sure there is a reasonable relationship between cost and use.

Maintenance cost is just as important as original cost, if not more so. So pray! Have you? Have you prayed? Annie has been running a little bulletin reminder to do the praying. I hear via third hand murmurs that there has been discussion, some uninformed opinions, etc., but I’m not getting the sense of praying.

Since I’ve come, in fact we have been doing a lot of maintenance. Between roofs, ‘building cracks’, bathrooms and painting, to say nothing of concerted efforts to make the grounds shape up a little, we’ve spent well over 350K. The funding came from you, a gift to the Men’s club, and the generosity of Father Bill Mylchreest. All of it was necessary and all of it was good.

There is also the challenge of Mission. In other words where is the Lord sending us now? That’s what the praying is about. For me the kitchen is a natural extension of the efforts we are making with things like DRIVE OUT HUNGER and Hope SouthFlorida. We have shown an interest in and a flare for hunger issues. One of the more exciting possibilities I see is using the talents of all the “RETRIED” people into some creative efforts at feeding the hungry. We can’t have as soup kitchen here, but we surely can provide meals to people elsewhere. I can tell you my own thinking, especially while I was on vacation, has been coming down to the challenge of looking at parish life itself.

The fundamental question is, “What mode of operation are we in?” Are we doing Maintenance or are we on a Mission? Trust me. I loved my vacation. Last Sunday we even heard Jesus say to his apostles, “Take a break.” But no matter what our collective ages, I think God is asking a lot more of us, a ‘more’ that we are perfectly capable of doing, our MISSION.

In Jesus,

sign frjim

Fr. Jim

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