MASS SCHEDULE: 0815 AUGUST 2010
SAINT
JOSEPH CHURCH
GIRARDVILLE


Saturday, 07 August
Vigil of Sunday
05:30 pm — STEPHEN DYSZEL Jr.
by his wife, his mother and his family

Sunday, 08 August
19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
11:30 am — TOMEE LEIGH GOWER (10th anniversary)
by her family

Monday, 09 August
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, virgin, martyr (OptMem)
08:00 am — PETER DeLUCA
by Celeste

Tuesday, 10 August
St. Lawrence, deacon, martyr (Fst)
07:00 pm — ADRIAN J. KILKER
by Sarah Donohue

Wednesday, 11 August
St. Clare, virgin (OblMem)
08:00 am — ROSALIE BURNS KELLY
by her brother, John

Thursday, 12 August
St. Jane Frances deChantal, religious (OptMem)
08:00 am — WALDO CHAPMAN
by Christopher J. Chapman

Friday, 13 August
St. Pontian, pope, martyr, and St. Hippolytus, priest, martyr (OptMem)
08:00 am — RAYMOND WAYNE
by Henry and Eileen

Saturday, 14 August
St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, priest, martyr (OblMems)
08:00 am — Rev. JOSEPH MARTINKOVIC
by EBC
Vigil of the Assumption
05:30 pm — JEAN MARQUARDT GOWER
by her family

Sunday, 15 August
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sol)
11:30 am — JULIA, MARY and MICHAEL CLARKE
by the Clarke Trust

 MASS SCHEDULE: 0815 AUGUST 2010
SAINT
Vincent dePAUL CHURCH
GIRARDVILLE

                      
Saturday, 07 August
Vigil of Sunday
04:00 pm — WILLIAM J. PUCETAS
by his wife and his son

Sunday, 08 August
19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
08:30 am — DECEASED: HOLY NAME SOCIETY
by the HNS

Monday, 09 August
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, virgin, martyr (OptMem)
07:00 pm — PASQUAL F. CHILLEMI
by Rita Otterbein

Tuesday, 10 August
St. Lawrence, deacon, martyr (Fst)
08:00 am — EDWARD M. WASCAVAGE
by Mom and Dad, Samantha, Granny and Pop

Wednesday, 11 August
St. Clare, virgin (OblMem)
07:00 pm — SARAH CARAI
by Robert J. Costanzo

Thursday, 12 August
St. Jane Frances deChantal, religious (OptMem)
07:00 pm — JOHN J. D’ALFONSO Jr. (43rd anniversary)
by Frank and Rose Popeck

Friday, 13 August
St. Pontian, pope, martyr, and St. Hippolytus, priest, martyr (OptMem)
05:00 pm — RAYMOND N. CARAVAN
by Joseph and Ann Marie Palerino

Saturday, 14 August
Vigil of the Assumption
04:00 pm — RITA LECKNER FALZARANO
by Muriel Pucetas and son, William

Sunday, 15 August
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sol)
08:30 am — ALBERT J. GILLIS
by John and Mary Gillis

stjos/stvdp: 08.08.2010 - 01


COLLECTION TOTALS FROM LAST WEEKEND:
31 JULY / 01 AUGUST


Saint Joseph Parish
:
Receipts for parish purposes: $1,184.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $94.00 from the second collection (plate); $280.00 from the Dues envelopes; $127.00 from the loose.
Total: $1,685.00
Receipts for non-parish purposes: — 0 —
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($1,685.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($329.54), plus our weekly premium for property and casualty insurance ($464.00), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($358.17), the sum total of which is $1,151.17, one sees that $533.83 is available from this collection for operating the parish.



Saint Vincent DePaul Parish:
Receipts for parish purposes: $792.00 from the Sunday envelopes; $35.00 from the second collection (plate); $214.00 from the Dues envelopes; $55.00 from the loose.
Total: $1,096.00.
Receipts for non-parish purposes: — 0 —
Analysis: When one deducts from the total of the receipts for parish purposes ($1,096.00) our weekly financial obligation to the Diocese, i.e. assessments ($229.38), plus our weekly premium for property and casualty insurance ($282.46), plus our weekly subsidy to Trinity Academy ($250.98), the sum total of which is $762.82, one sees that $333.18 is available from this collection for operating the parish.

 CONFESSION SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Tuesday, 10 August
02:30 to 03:30 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Thursday, 12 August
06:00 to 07:00 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church

Friday, 13 August
06:30 to 07:30 pm
St. Joseph Chapel





If these times don't suit you, you can always call for an appointment to go to Confession. If you don't like Fr. Connolly, you can always confess your sins to Kateri, but keep in mind that she is not bound by the seal and she does tend to be a blabbermouth.

 EXPOSITION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

Tuesday, 10 August
02:00 to 04:00 pm
St. Vincent dePaul Church
(Scripture Rosary at about 03:40 pm)

Friday, 13 August
06:00 to 08:00 pm
St. Joseph Chapel

(Vespers followed by Chaplet of Divine Mercy at about 07:30 pm)

stjos/stvdp: 08.08.2010 - 02


WE ARE 140 YEARS OLD!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR SAINT JOSEPH PARISH, GIRARDVILLE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
MANY MORE OF THEM TOO! MANY MORE OF THEM TOO! MANY MORE OF THEM, DEAR SAINT JOSEPH PARISH, GIRARDVILLE! MANY MORE OF THEM TOO!

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF SAINT JOSEPH PARISH

compiled by Ian R. Getzey from various sources

The Catholics who settled in Girardville between 1832 and 1856 had no church to attend. They were served by the great missionary priest Father Michael Sheridan. Father Sheridan served an area roughly from Pottsville to Danville. He traveled throughout the area on horseback. In 1856, St. Joseph, Ashland, was founded. This became the church for Catholics in Girardville. In September of that year, Father Sheridan was appointed pastor of that parish. From 1857 to 1870, Mass was celebrated in Girardville on certain feast days throughout the year at the Coughlin family home on East Mahanoy Avenue by Father Sheridan. This home no longer exists. Father Sheridan died in 1880.
By 1870, there were over 3,000 persons living in the Girardville area. The Catholic population had grown intensively since 1856. So, it was decided that a parish be established in Girardville. On 10 August 1870, St. Joseph Parish was established as a territorial parish for the Girardville area. Rev. Joseph A. Bridgman was the founding pastor of the parish.
The first Baptisms in our parish were: Mary Stella Egan, James Collins, Mary Ann Farley, and Anna Noone. They were all baptized on 24 August 1870. The first marriages in our parish were: John Curley and Bridget Lenahan; Edward Barrett and Nora Dowd; Thomas Gaughan and Nora Reddy; William O’Malia and Bridget McHugh. They were all married on 21 August 1870.
Shortly after the founding of the parish, Father Bridgman purchased land on Preston Hill, along what is now Mahanoy Avenue and Route 54. The cemetery was used for over 80 years and over 3,000 persons are buried there. Unfortunately, this cemetery is no longer used. For all practical purposes, it has been abandoned. This cemetery had always been very difficult to maintain due to the rocky hillside and its location right off of the highway. By 1919, new lots were no longer available, but burials continued until 1954. Father Mealy purchased land in Fountain Springs for a new cemetery for our parish. Since then, with the closing of Holy Rosary Parish in Mahanoy Plane, St. Joseph Parish inherited the two cemeteries from Holy Rosary.
The first decade of the parish’s existence was filled with problems and challenges. For the first several months, a chapel on Mahanoy Avenue was used for services. This building proved to be inadequate. It was in poor currently the playground directly behind the current church. This building was meant to be temporary, until a new church (the current one) could be built.
The cornerstone of the current church was laid on 21 October 1872. It was blessed by Archbishop James F. Wood of Philadelphia. The building of the church was not an easy project. While the frame was being built, a storm destroyed it and resulted in the death of a worker. Repairs were made and construction continued; however, problems continued with the church and it was not finished until 1876. When the church was finished, it was discovered that the roof did not have enough support, and the building was deemed dangerous. Father Bridgman refused to accept it from the contractor and a court case followed. The church was seized by the Schuylkill County Sheriff and was sold to the contractor for $12,000 at a Sheriff’s sale. Rev. Daniel O’Connor succeeded Father Bridgman in January 1877. (Fr. O’Connor is also the founding pastor of the former Holy Rosary Parish in Mahanoy Plane.) Fr. O’Connor negotiated with the contractor to buy the church for $6,700. A project to correct deficiencies and to buttress the sides of the church immediately followed. The church was finally dedicated by Abp. Wood on 19 October 1879 in the presence of more than 15,000 persons. The church is Romanesque style and is a wood frame structure built over a stone basement. It is 60 feet wide by 128 feet in depth and stands on the corner of West Main Street and Richard Street. The bell in the steeple was installed in 1882. It weighs over 16,000 pounds. The church was renovated many times throughout the years. The interior of the church underwent various renovations: 1892, 1945, 1965, and 1984.
Fr. O’Connor remained as pastor until 1886, when the Reverend Peter McCullough was appointed pastor. Fr. McCullough was the longest serving pastor of our parish. He served as pastor until he died on 13 August 1913, a total of 27 years. During Fr. McCullough’s time, the Fr. Sheridan Council of the Knights of Columbus was established on 13 December 1903. The Council is named after Rev. Michael Sheridan. The Council has existed since that time, although it did have an inactive period for a number of years.
The Reverend John J. Mealey succeeded Fr. McCullough in 1913. Fr. Mealy established St. Helen Chapel in Raven Run in 1916. In 1921, St. Joseph Parish School was established. The convent was also established at this time. The Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary taught at the school. The school included grades one to twelve, although the first year only grades one to seven were formed. Each year a grade was added until there were twelve. The starting enrollment of the school was 450. By 1928, there were 624 students in 12 grades. The first graduating class was the Class of 1928.
In 1924, Fr. Mealey was succeeded by the Reverend Thomas K. Connell. The Reverend Joseph Smith was appointed the sixth pastor of our parish in 1932, and was succeeded by the Reverend Michael Boyle in 1933, who served until the Reverend William McArdle was appointed as the eighth pastor in 1941. In 1945 the parish’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated. A Mass was celebrated, with the parish’s native son, Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, Archbishop of Philadelphia, the main celebrant.
On 29 January 1950, the women of the parish organized a court of the Catholic Daughters of America under the title of Court St. Cecelia, No. 1529. Father McArdle was the court’s first chaplain.
In 1956, the parish high school (grades 9 to 12) was discontinued, the last class to graduate being the class of 1956.
After eighteen years as pastor, Fr. McArdle passed away in the parish rectory on 14 October 1959. He was interred in the lawn in front of the convent and remained there until 1996, when the convent was demolished. His mortal remains now rest at the parish cemetery in Fountain Springs. On 02 December 1959, the Reverend Francis L. King became pastor. On 24 April 1961, Fr. King was elevated by Pope John XXIII to Domestic Prelate, with the title Right Reverend Monsignor. Many would consider that Msgr. King’s time was the height of the parish. During his time, the interiors and exteriors of all four parish buildings were completely renovated. Msgr. King also served the newly-erected (1961) Diocese of Allentown as Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. During his tenure as pastor, the diocesan office of the Propagation of the Faith was located in the rectory.
In 1970, the parish’s centennial was observed. A Mass was celebrated with the Most Reverend Joseph McShea as the main celebrant and the parish’s native son, the Most Reverend Joseph T. Daley, later Bishop of Harrisburg, as the concelebrant.
The enrollment at St. Joseph School declined in the late 1960’s. This prompted the jointure of St. Joseph School and St. Vincent dePaul School. In 1971, St. Helen Chapel in Raven Run was closed. In 1974, Msgr. King retired and was named Pastor Emeritus until his death on 30 January 1980. The office for the Society of the Propagation of the Faith moved out of the rectory when Msgr. retired. On 04 November 1974, the era of “assistant pastors” came to an end at St. Joseph Parish. From the early days of the parish until 1974, there were sixty-four priests who served at various times as assistant pastor. Often, at times, there were two assistants assigned to the parish. The last priest to serve as assistant pastor at St. Joseph Parish was the Reverend William J. Linkchorst, currently the pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Tamaqua.
In 1974, the Reverend Francis T. Gillespie was appointed as tenth pastor of our parish. Fr. Gillespie had already served as assistant pastor from 1959 to 1963. In 1979, St. Joseph Convent was closed, and the Sisters were assigned residences elsewhere. In 1981, Immaculate Heart School was established at the former St. Joseph School building. The school served five area parishes: St. Joseph and St. Vincent dePaul, Girardville; St. Joseph and St. Mauritius, Ashland; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Gordon. The school was completely renovated at a cost of $150,000. The expense was divided among the five parishes. The interior of the church was renovated in 1984.
In 1988, Holy Rosary Church, Mahanoy Plane was closed, due to the unsoundness of the structure. The parish was absorbed into St. Joseph Parish. Holy Rosary parish had been founded in 1872. The founding pastor was the Reverend Daniel O’Connor. Fr. O’Connor later became the second pastor of our parish.
The Reverend Anthony Mongiello succeeded Fr. Gillespie on 01 September 1994. During Fr. Mongiello’s time, a chapel and a meeting room were constructed in the basement of the church. The chapel and the meeting room were built by volunteer labor of parishioners. The chapel was dedicated on 15 August 1995, the Solemnity of the Assumption. The meeting room was named after Rev. Michael Sheridan. In 1995, the parish celebrated its 125th anniversary. In 1996, the exterior of the church was renovated. New siding was installed, the windows were repainted, new concrete stairs were constructed in front of the church, and the steeple architecture was restored. In 1996, the convent, which had been located directly in front of the school, was demolished.
The Reverend Robert Kuzman became the twelfth pastor, replacing Fr. Mongiello, in 2000. During Fr. Kuzman’s time, the new electronic bell system was installed. In 2002, the Reverend Gregory R. Karpyn became the 13th pastor. In 2004, the pastor of St. Vincent dePaul Parish, the Reverend David M. Liebner, retired. As a result of this, the Most Rev. Edward P. Cullen, Bishop of Allentown, appointed Fr. Karpyn pastor of both parishes in Girardville. Since Fr. Karpyn was now pastor of both parishes, the two parish offices combined in 2005. St. Vincent dePaul Rectory was chosen as the office. Fr. Karpyn also moved his residence to St. Vincent dePaul Rectory. In 2006, Immaculate Heart School, the “successor school” to St. Joseph School, closed. The school merged with other Catholic schools in our area to form Trinity Academy, Shenandoah. This is now the school for the children of our two Girardville parishes and of the parishes in Shenandoah, Mahanoy City, Frackville, Ashland, Gordon, Ringtown and Sheppton.
In 2008, former President William J. Clinton visited Girardville for the annual St. Patrick Day celebration and gave a speech on the steps of St. Joseph Church. He also took a tour of the church. As far as we know, he is the only President (or former president) of the United States ever to visit Girardville!
On 15 July 2008, the Reverend Edward B. Connolly became the fourteenth and current pastor of our parish. Since the closing of many churches in Schuylkill County in 2008, our church has become the fourth oldest Catholic church building in the county. Our parish is the ninth oldest parish in Schuylkill County and the twentieth oldest in the Allentown Diocese.
Many things in Girardville and in our parish have changed over the years. The people that served our parish were dedicated Catholics who worked hard so that our parish would have a good future.
Talking about “the future”, all of us who are currently members of St. Joseph Parish are just a smidgen nervous about the same. We are aware that conversations have taken place “in high places” (and in some low places as well) about parish consolidations “north of the mountain”. No decisions have been made, at least not announced.
The best way any of us can show our enthusiasm for maintaining St. Joseph Parish (and the same applies to St. Vincent dePaul Parish) is to “vote” for it with our feet and with our money — but mostly with our feet. Where our heart is, let our feet and our money also be.

stjos/stvdp: 08.08.2010 - 03 / 04 / 05


 

POLICE BLOTTER
These are the facts, as well as I know them: On Tuesday, 03 August 2010, I opened the door of the refrigerator in the kitchen of St. Vincent dePaul Rectory. I happened to notice that, in the top bin on the inside of the door, there was a cookie enclosed in Saran Wrap. A yellow sticky note was attached. It read “Ian’s cookie”. Prompted only by curiosity, not by hunger, I picked it up, took note of the ownership and returned it immediately to where I first saw it. I did nothing more than that!
(For sake of accurate identification, please note that “Ian” is Ian R. Getzey, age 17, Saturday office boy and general factotum).
The next day (Wednesday, 04 August) Ian approached me with a strange question. I think I can quote it precisely. It was this: “Father, would you like to go to confession?” The question was somewhat impertinent and entirely unexpected. I replied, “If I do want to go to confession, I think I know how to go about doing that and, by the way, I wasn’t aware that you had been ordained!”
He then got to the point: He said that someone had taken his chocolate-chip cookie, a cookie of exquisite quality, a cookie he had carefully covered with Saran Wrap and placed in the refrigerator, a cookie that had been baked for him by the hands of his own dear mother and which she had put in his lunch bag to take to work with him on Monday and which he had put aside for consumption on Wednesday. I asked him if he was accusing me of stealing his cookie! He said that it wasn’t an accusation, just an inquiry. I told him that it sounded suspiciously like an accusation but that he should know that I positively did NOT take his chocolate-chip cookie but that I had seen a cookie with his name on it in the refrigerator on Tuesday evening. He said that the cookie to which I was referring was not the original cookie but was a miserable, store-bought cookie, meant to substitute for his mother’s incomparably delicious cookie.
Now this was getting interesting!
I asked him if he had spoken with Mrs. Chillis, the parish secretary / housekeeper / cook. He said that he had already taken her down to the station and interviewed her and she said that she knew nothing about any cookie theft or cookie substitution. He and I both know that Mrs. Chillis is a woman of unquestionable integrity and her word is as good as her bond. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that Kateri would have had the manual dexterity required for opening the refrigerator, unwrapping and stealing a cookie, then to go fetch a substitute cookie, wrap it and put it into the refrigerator. The only other likely suspect would be the pastor!
I could see the logic of his inference, but still felt somewhat offended that he did not automatically rule me out as a suspect!
So, the facts as they stand are as follows:

#01 — An excellent cookie was stolen.
#02 — A miserable cookie was substituted in its place.

It is certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that neither Ginny nor Fr. Connolly did this foul deed.
We conclude that it had to be a guest or a visitor.
If anyone has any information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the chocolate-chip cookie thief, please notify the pastor.
Your confidentiality will be respected but, as regards the fate of the perpetrator: Let the chips, chocolate or otherwise, fall as they may.
If the cookie thief is reading this, he would do well to reflect on these solemn words as he licks the crumbs from his lips:

The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. The Shadow knows!
FENCE PAINTING
The black iron fence on the Richard Street side of St. Joseph Church is being painted by Noah M. Richards, together with an older gentleman whom he has taken on as his assistant. We are grateful to both of them. This is tedious work, but it will certainly improve the appearance of the property (and the durability of the fence).

HAS ANYONE ASKED YOU TO BE A SPONSOR FOR BAPTISM OR FOR CONFIRMATION?
If so, you need to be certified (approved) by the pastor of the parish to which you belong. If the Baptism or Confirmation is to take place in “Parish A” and you are a member of “Parish A”, then the pastor of parish “A” has to approve you. If the Baptism or Confirmation is to take place in “Parish A” but you are a member of “Parish B”, then you have to obtain a “certificate of eligibility” from the pastor of “Parish B”.
This is standard procedure throughout the Catholic Church.
Now, let me get to an important and sensitive point:
The Catholic Church specifies that, in order for someone to be a sponsor (godparent) for a Baptism or Confirmation, he or she must fulfill certain criteria. Among these criteria are the following:
#1 — The sponsor must be at least 16 years old.
#2 — He / she must be a Catholic.
#3 — He / she cannot be the mother or father of the person being baptized or confirmed.
#4 — He / she must be a person who has received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation.
#5 — He / she must be a person who is not currently subject to any Church penalties. For example, a person who is not eligible to receive Holy Communion (perhaps because he / she is invalidly married) is not eligible to be a sponsor.
#6 — He / she must be living a Catholic life. Among other things, this includes faithful attendance at Mass on Sundays.

Please respect your pastor’s obligation to be truthful and do not ask him to certify you if you are not eligible.

                      stjos/stvdp: 08.08.2010 - 06   

   

EVELYN AHRENSFIELD MARQUARDT died on Tuesday, 03 August. I was sad to read the obituary in Thursday’s newspaper. Her passing is a loss, not only to her family and friends, but to the entire Girardville community.
On the other hand, rather than be sad that she has died, we should be grateful that she lived.
Not long after moving to Girardville (15 July 2008), I became aware of the fact that there was a notable and remarkable woman in town named “Evelyn”. I don’t remember who first told me about her, but I remember being told that Evelyn knew more about the town — its history and its residents — than anyone else, with the possible exception of God.
I had been in town only about a month or two when Miss Evelyn rang the Rectory doorbell in order to introduce herself. I told her that her fame had preceded her, that I already knew her name, and that I was honored that she had come to visit me. I asked her to come in and have a cup of coffee, which she did.
We sat at the kitchen table and chatted about this and that. She said that she was pleased that I had come to live in Girardville and wished me well. She said that she enjoyed reading the parish bulletin and wanted to pick up a few extra copies while she was there. I was more than willing to accommodate her kind request.
She offered me some pieces of information about the history of both St. Joseph Parish and St. Vincent dePaul Parish. It was all news to me! I thanked her for the information and told her that I would like to know more.
Historians and chroniclers — people like Miss Evelyn — are a gift to any community. They help to draw persons together — not only persons among those whom we catalogue as “the living” but also “the living” with “the deceased”.
Of course, from the vantage point of God, which is the vantage point to which we all aspire, there is no distinction between “the living” and “the deceased”, because all are alive in Christ. With that in mind, we pray that Evelyn Marquardt, although “dead” from our limited perspective, will now be forever alive in Christ.

Eternal rest grant unto Evelyn, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

THE FLOWERS IN THE SANCTUARY AT SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH this weekend have been donated in loving memory of Tomee Leigh Gower, on the tenth anniversary of her death. We thank her family for this gift.

CCD
It’s that time of year!
Time to sign up for religious education classes (CCD)!
All children in grades one to eight who are not in Catholic school should be enrolled.
Parents should call St. Vincent dePaul Rectory in order to enroll their child(ren).
Parents who have already called in their children’s names for Confirmation need not call again. These children are considered already enrolled.
If anyone reading this bulletin knows of any parents who do not read the bulletin, you would be doing a good deed if you were to contact them, so that they will enroll their child(ren).

stjos/stvdp: 08.08.2010 - 07   


Spirit matters: A joy forever

by Melinda R. Heppe

In the morning, my son sometimes greets me with "Hey, Big Mama." Not for long. In a couple of years he will be taller than I am. For now, he takes comfort in my comparative bulk. I remember doing the same, but not for long. My mother died young, and I recently realized — and was disconcerted by the realization — that I have lived on this earth longer than she did.
And then there is St. George's.
That glorious gray pile on the corner, the focal point of my town's skyline for a century, the comfort of that sheer bulk, those twin spires, that copper roof — it is no more. The bulldozers are flattening the lot as I type.
It has been a slow season of extravagant grief.
Hope did not die quickly. Even as the towers came down, our local candidate for sainthood was feverishly petitioned. As someone explained it, "For canonization, he needs to perform a miracle. We need a miracle to save St. George's. It's win/win, right?" A rumor circulated that a worker walked off the job after seeing the face of Jesus in the exposed brickwork.
As bulldozers ripped into the body of the church on a cold, windy day, I stood with an old fella on Main Street. He turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, "The town is doomed for this." Not long afterward, a worker was killed when a recalcitrant piece of masonry suddenly gave way.
Around here, people tend to experience sorrow as anger, and now we have entered a season of imbalance. Day after day, I see people walking down the street and startling: they look up and around, and then they go on, realizing that while they are at Jardin and Cherry Streets, St. George's isn't.
Gradually the new reality will settle in, for better or for worse, and we do not yet know what it will be.
Once upon a time, board members from a certain school attended one of In Trust's governance seminars. They were eager learners but seemed clueless. And we were surprised, because the former president of that institution was one of the governance gurus who had helped us establish the seminars in the first place. When the former president had been in charge, the seminary's board was a thing of beauty, and — we thought — a joy forever.
But nothing lasts forever. So we asked the former president how he felt, seeing that his work seemed to have faded away. He shrugged. "My mentor once told me, ‘Put your finger in a glass of water. Now take it out. Has the water changed?'"
I've been writing poetry to deal with my own grief about St. George's, which has been my bulwark for the many years I've lived in its shadow. My son looked over the collection and said, "You can't publish these until you write a cheerful poem."
Or at least a hopeful poem, I guess. I may or may not manage that. But here is something true: We are not responsible for the future, but we still plan for it. What we do now matters. St. George's was a thing of beauty but remains a joy forever. Just so for that once-upon-a-time board. Nothing is ever lost in God's love, and God will not leave us without the big, reassuring presence we need.

The writer, the Rev. Melinda (“Mindy”) R. Heppe, is the pastor of the Lutheran congregations of Shenandoah and Girardville, and a contributing editor to In Trust, the magazine in which this article first appeared (Summer 2010 edition).

        stjos/stvdp: 08.08.2010 - 08

 

 

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