Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
April 16, 2017
Doesn’t our world seem to have become so cynically negative, hopelessly fatalistic, and factiously divided? Bitterness and badmouthing; insults and intolerance; rage and riots. These are not what we want to hear about at Easter … however, that first Easter, and every Easter since then, have been celebrated amidst challenges and conflicts, sorrows and sadness, worries and wars. That is why, as I said in my Easter homily, we must ‘give witness’ to the presence of the Risen Lord, who alone can comfort and console, guide and grace, reconcile and restore us. Our world will only know Easter joy if we – IF WE – allow the Risen Lord to work in us and through us.
These seasonal bulletin inserts are my attempt to let you know what we’re doing … AND WHAT YOU CAN DO … to make the new life, offered only by Christ, known and felt through our Parish. For as Saint Peter said in his first ‘homily,’ a part of which we proclaim at Easter Day Masses, “[Jesus] commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” [Acts 10:42-43] Every baptized Christian is included in this apostolic commission to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As I often say, our Parish’s sacred liturgies, which I believe are second to none, exemplify the Second Vatican Council’s call for the “full, conscious active participation” of all people in the sacred mysteries. Yet we must strive to do even better, to get more knowledgeable about our liturgies, more involved IN them – and more willing to invite others TO them. As you will see in this insert, we certainly have the place and perks, tools and setting needed for our sacramental and catechetical, social and liturgical activities. May God bless all who, through their sacrificial offerings, provide all these things … and more. However, there is one thing we desperately need … and that is you and others to take part in what we offer. So with an open mind and heart, read and learn, so you can hear and hopefully answer God’s call to join in our Parish’s many activities so all can enjoy “newness of life” offered to us by the Risen Lord.
Renovations & Other Improvements
Allow me to update you on what we have done to our physical plant, in which we meet as a Parish Family, and what we plan to do in the near future.
+ PLAZA POLE & PARKING LOT LIGHTS. As of this writing, the four plaza lights, damaged or destroyed by past storms, are being replaced with LED fixtures, as are the six huge [and dangerous] wall fixtures outside the doors of the Parish Office, Parish Hall and classroom areas; all other entrance fixtures were changed to LED lamps last year. The tall parking lot light fixtures are also being replaced with LED lamps. Soon, almost all exterior lamps will be ‘green!’
+ CHURCH CEILING LIGHTS. Our next project must be the ceiling lamps in the church … which burn out regularly, as did the old parking lot lamps. Without easy access to these fixtures, LED lamps, which last longer, will require less replacing, renting of scaffolds, unscrewing of pews.
+ PARISH HALL LARGE SCREEN TV. This longed-for dream may become a reality this year … stay tuned! At least we now have 24 large round tables!
+ REPAIRS & PAINTING. It’s hard to believe that the ‘new’ building will be 10 years old this year … so it’s time for regular wall repair, painting, etc., especially in its two main rest rooms.
+ NARTHEX HVAC SYSTEM. The only main original HVAC system is the one in the Narthex; it’s been on its last leg for years … but God has been good … and we have the funds – estimates are running about $25,000.00 – for its replacement when it finally ‘dies.’
+ BEQUEST FROM ANN PADOVANI. Perhaps since we’re a ‘newer’ Parish, we’re rarely remembered in anyone’s will. Last year we did receive a $3,000.00 bequest from a late parishioner, Ann Padovani. She attended Mass daily, coordinated Divine Mercy devotions, and prayed for everyone. Please remember Ann and her loved ones in your prayers.
+ NEW PHONE SYSTEM. Our ‘old’ system worked well for 14 years before it was ‘fried’ in a power surge; our new system cost about $10,000.00.
+ BAA: BISHOP’S ANNUAL APPEAL. As of this writing, $109,333.13 has been remitted from pledges of $146,644.95 for our goal of $130,000.00; this is from only 388 of our over 1,825 households! The BAA supports, among other things, Seminarian and Priestly formation; outreach to the poor; training for all ministries; hospital and prison chaplains; it offers resources for the day-to-day running of Parish life. So please be as generous as your means allow! This year’s added bonus: the Diocese will rebate 50% of all monies paid over and above the goal; all rebate money will be reserved to complete the Parish Hall.
+ MORTGAGE UPDATE. Our original loan for the Parish Center was for $2,188,538.00. We added additional principal of $300,000.00 from monies received from the Capital Campaign and Debt Reduction Collections; this reduced the loan to $1,865,560.60. The interest rate has been reduced to 4.1% fixed for 10 years. In addition, 10% of the loan balance can be repaid each year without penalty. The current monthly mortgage payment is $12,407.00.
We still have Diocesan permission to continue for one more year the special quarterly Debt Reduction Collection, which we use to pay down our mortgage. So many have been so generous in the past; please continue to help us wipe out our debt.
I hope to complete the Parish Hall soon; without duct work, the ‘blowers’ are most uncomfortable; without ‘walls,’ the echo makes it difficult to hear. Even with our church’s old sound system in there, many cannot comprehend what is being said. So again I appeal to you to remain [or become!] extra-generous in your contributions of time, talent and treasure. Through your Easter gift, weekly sacrificial offerings, and donations to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, SEAS Church, the Diocese of Metuchen and the Church Universal are able to help us strive to be and do all God calls us to be and do. If you did not receive our pre-Easter letter, contact the Parish Office to get officially registered!
Happy Easter! Alleluia, alleluia!
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS, Pastor