A Letter From Father Jones – St. Vincent Update

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Dear Parishioners of the parish of All Saints and members of the Community:

As many of you are aware, I began my assignment at All Saint Parish on June 26th, and have very much enjoyed my first week at the Parish and getting the opportunity to pray for you and meet so many of you. It truly has been a beautiful introduction into the parish!

However, the first week has not been without a significant and unexpected challenge. On Saturday, June 30, during the 5:30pm Mass at St. Vincent de Paul Church, a trim board (resembling a 1 X 4, made of homosote) fell from the ceiling. It fell near the back of the Church by the organ loft, between two people who were praying. Thankfully, and miraculously, no one was injured.

Upon review the following morning, July 1st, some staff members and I noticed a few more ceiling boards had come loose overnight. This prompted a visit from the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Diocese of Rochester, who came to St. Vincent de Paul on Sunday afternoon to help us make an informed site inspection. It was determined that warping due to the extreme humidity and heat are the probable factor, and the problem is only getting worse with this summer weather.

This incident and the potential for further problems raises a serious concern about the safety of parishioners entering the church. After careful consideration, and in consultation with and the support of the staff, the chairs of the buildings and grounds committee, the finance council, and the parish council, I have decided that it is not feasible for the parish to invest any money into making the necessary repairs. Since the St. Vincent Campus has been and remains under contract for sale with Providence Housing for redevelopment, this does not seem practical or financially responsible. This plan for redevelopment will repurpose the Church for a community center and arts campus. While it will not be used for Catholic Worship, the church will not be neglected or torn down.  As plans unfold, Providence Housing and I will share them with the parish and community.

What all of this means is that the discussions and plans for the Mass schedule and locations has necessarily been sped up.  As of the weekend of July 7/8, the Sunday Mass schedule for All Saints Parish will be:

   4:00pm (Mass of Anticipation on Saturday evening) at St. Mary’s Church

   7:00am at St. Mary’s Church

   9:00am at St. Mary’s Church

   11:30am at St. Mary’s Church

           Daily Mass will continue as scheduled at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Painted Post.

          Please note: beginning Saturday, August 4th, the Vigil Mass of Anticipation will be celebrated at 5:00pm. This new time reflects a consolidation of the 4:00pm and 5:30pm Masses and a compromise for everyone who attends a Saturday vigil Mass. I realize this change will be a sacrifice for everyone but I ask you for your patience and understanding as we move forward. Also beginning on this date, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The next few weeks will give us time to prepare for this change. I understand how important Mass times are, so in the subsequent months, we will make sure it is as beneficial as possible in meeting the needs of the faithful.

During these summer months, I will schedule meetings during the weekday at the parish office to discuss with parishioners a plan for transporting those parishioners who need assistance getting to Mass during the winter months. If you are willing to assist in this regard, please contact the parish office.

Next week, the parish will also begin a process of improving the parking situation at St. Mary’s. Our goal is to make sure there is enough parking for parishioners and that the Church is safe and accessible for all parishioners.

I am sure that like me, many of you remember days gone by when the pews of our churches were filled, when the world was safer, life was simpler, and more Christian, the cost of living manageable, and priests were more plentiful. Sadly, the reality today is quite different. We must continue in earnest to pray for priestly vocations and enthusiastically carry out the work of evangelization by inviting others to join us at Mass each week.  I firmly believe that the Church is Jesus Christ’s and He never abandons us.  But, like our Saviour, it also means we too must make some sacrifices, which can give life.

One week into this assignment, I did not imagine that I would have to write this letter or make a decision like this. Obviously, this is not the way that I would choose to begin my tenure at the parish. However, with the help of the staff and the consultative bodies of the parish, I believe that this is the best way to move forward in our mission as disciples of Christ.

In closing, I thank you for your understanding, support and prayers, and renew my appreciation for your very gracious welcome to the Parish and to this beautiful area or our Diocese. Even with challenging situations such as this, I consider it a privilege and honor to serve and lead you as a priest of Jesus Christ.

In Christ,

Fr. Matthew Jones

July 5, 2018

Feast of Ss. Elizabeth of Portugal and Anthony of Zaccaria

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