Wishing and Planning

Be careful what you wish for. I am learning this lesson right now, staring at the screen as dozens of ideas and projects worth mentioning in this week’s Pastor’s Corner are galloping through my head. You see, when I arrived at St. Catherine’s and had to envision the direction my weekly column should go, early in the process I realized it needs to be more practical than theological; rather than being a synopsis of my Sunday homily, it needs to become the channel I would use to communicate with you, the St. Catherine’s community, presenting new projects or ideas, explaining the big “whats” and “whys” of new programs I would be implementing, etc. The only fear I had back then – a month ago! – was that I would not have any ideas, projects, and programs to write about. And I wished for some remedy…

Be careful what you wish for. Now I am facing the exciting dilemma of how to select the most important of the plethora of practical things I would like our community to know about! And that’s when bullet points come in handy!

 BRINGING IN MORE STUDENTS.  Over the years many have wondered how to attract students from the U (and beyond) to the Newman Center, and obviously there’s no easy answer. This year, besides revamping evening and weekend programs, our ministry team believes we can offer something that will also address the needs of those students who hang out on campus during the day – a coffee shop! Call it Cate’s Cafe (or anything catchy, it’s still work in progress) and imagine how awesome it would be if students had a place with free wifi and COFFEE, where they could stop between classes, do homework, work on their projects, chat with the campus minister and Dominican friars, and yes, even possibly swing by the chapel for some time in quiet prayer! To do all this, we need to remodel the existing student lounge as well as create a new lounge area for social gatherings and small group meetings. With the help of our talented parishioners and young adults it will be possible to cut down the cost; still, we need your support. If your heart resonates with our desire of bringing in more students, and you discern that you could help, please call or email me, or simply make a donation with a memo “Newman Coffee Shop.”

 NEW MASS SCHEDULE. In order to accommodate the needs of our diverse community, I have worked with the Parish Pastoral Council and the representatives from our two Sunday afternoon Masses (“Student Masses”) to make sure that we best utilize our Sunday resources and opportunities. It was clear in our conversations that there are significant reasons for offering both a contemporary Mass (praise & worship, more upbeat) and a traditional Mass (more meditative, choral); the real question was how to bring these two communities together. Since it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that nothing works as well as a shared meal, we agreed that it is crucial to revive Sunday Supper as a meal offered conveniently between the two Masses. Further, upon discussing the particular needs of people attending and running these Masses (e.g., the Praise & Worship band needs at least 1.5 hours to practice), we realized the optimal way to make it all work is to change the Mass schedule the following way: 5 PM Mass (contemporary music), 6:15 PM Sunday Supper, 7:30 PM Mass (candlelight, traditional music). The new schedule will be implemented the first weekend of September. Let’s pray that this richness of worship forms nourishes more and more people!

 PARISH FEST.  The most frequent comment about our parish that I’ve heard – mind this! – is that St. Catherine loves parties. So do I! I also believe the beginning of a new academic year gives us a perfect opportunity to celebrate who we are, to welcome new members, to advertise our ministries, and overall to get jazzed up for yet another year of journeying together. Please mark your calendar for Sunday, September 13th, after the 10:45 Mass. It will be an all-parish brunch AND ministry fair, two in one! Ministry leaders, please contact me if you want your program featured.

As always, should you have any questions or comments, I’d love to get your feedback. Don’t hesitate to email or call, or simply stop by and chat!

Fr. Lukasz, O.P.