Well a couple of weeks ago I quietly marked 1 year since my return to St. Jane de Chantal Church, my home parish since 1996. It has been an awesome experience for me both personally and more importantly as a Permanent Deacon.
Since I left St. Jane in 2011 the Parish had changed greatly. My old Pastor and Parochial Vicar were gone and upon my return I would be assisting Father Ken Allen, Pastor and Father Kevin DeLerno, Parochial Vicar. Also at St. Jane is Father Angel Diaz who is in residence as he works with several Hispanic communities in the area, including one right here at St. Jane's.
I can honestly say that when I returned there was a healthy mix of parishioners I knew well and new young families that I would have to get to know. Together, they comprise some nearly 1,200 registered families for our ever growing parish.
As a Permanent Deacon assigned to St. Jane I have been very pleased with the Adult Bible Study/Faith Formation program we started last fall. At one point over 70 adults were participating. Soon, we begin our 2nd year with the Gospel of Matthew! I have also been pleased to at least consult with our RCIA team. They do a great job and are bringing new Catholics into the fold! I've also tried to help with our altar servers but a better plan of action is needed to recruit new servers.
Another great benefit of being back home has been the ability to get active again with our Knights of Columbus. I am happy that the men asked me to be Chaplain for the 4th Degree Assembly.
Since my return we have changed our Mass schedule to accommodate our growth and to become the home on the Northshore for the Extraordinary Form Mass(Latin Mass). We are a busy church/parish especially on weekends. Our Mass schedule begins Saturday at 4 in the afternoon at our mission Church, St. Michael's in Bush and then at 6 pm at St. Jane's. Then comes the Sunday schedule, Masses at 8 and 10 in the morning, 12 noon for the EF, 2:30 pm in Spanish and 6 pm(last chance).
One of my favorite things I used to say, even before my Ordination, was that St. Jane's was an awesome place to be a Catholic! After one year back home and as a Deacon, I can say again, this place is indeed a great place to be a Catholic! And we are very happy to welcome you too!
So today I ask God to give the grace and the strength to serve this beautiful parish well in the next year to come.