Beacons of Light and Unity among Parishes
As St. Francis and Incarnation sister parishes’ pastor is named this weekend, we begin an exciting future. I guarantee it!!
A dozen years ago Petersburg Parishes, as Immaculate Conception, Botkins and St. Lawrence, Rhine, added St. Joseph, Wapakoneta to our region, I went on record in the Parishes’ bulletin stating that “regioning” of parishes would be a necessary and outstanding innovation for the future of the Church in the United States. Four years later, we added St. John, Fryburg to our region. Even though there was a lot of work involved, even though sacrifices were made, the joy, benefits and grace of being both individual parishes, and a region were unparalleled! Let me continue to look back as I predict the future yet again! What were some of the blessings of “regioning” as we called it?

Examples of the Blessings of “Sistering”
RCIA processes at the four parishes were united to share their collective wisdom, enthusiasm, faith and resources. Other parish programs were shared, such as greeting card ministry, and so many ministries became stronger with a greater sense of synergy in the Spirit! The parish retreat program at two of the parishes was shared with the other two, offering a renewing shot in the arm to the parishes new to the region without the effort of developing an original renewal program.

Even though parish accounting and finances remained separate, pastoral councils met together. Some staff positions were shared between parishes at an agreed upon percentage (related to the size of the parish) and all parishes shared the savings of combined staff, programs and resources!
St. Francis and Incarnation can expect the abundant blessings above in the future! My sense is that enthusiasm and readiness for “sistering” is high and I am proud of the people and leaders of Incarnation Church for their openness to being a sister parish with St. Francis! Thanks for taking the challenge at the end of this article, repeated from last week’s bulletin.

Renovation Progress
At pastoral council this past week, parishioner feedback was asking for information about renovation. We have not had a renovation meeting in two months. However, this coming week’s meeting is key. At that meeting, two years of Renovation Team work and a year’s work for Elevar Design will come to a high point: The Master Plan for Renovation of Incarnation Church will be revealed.

Remember as I have said many times, this is just the second step in a multi-step, five to seven year process. I’ll say more about this after the meeting and when I have more bulletin space!! Please pray for the renovation team and our parishes!
Sincerely and with Love in Christ,
Fr. Pat

A Beacons of Light Challenge from Fr. Pat (repeated from last week’s bulletin)

As we get in the swing of Beacons of Light, I would like to offer Incarnation Parishioners a bit of a challenge. I challenge Incarnation Parishioners to go to St. Francis for a Mass or two over the next two months! If answered, this challenge accomplishes several great things to increase present and future holiness and grace in Christ.

1. Going to St. Francis for some Masses would exercise and strengthen important muscles. Initially, paradoxically, it is a profound exercise of our welcome muscle! Yes, you heard me correctly. Going to St. Francis for some Masses is a powerful work of welcome to our sister parish. It is “reaching out with both hands” beyond measure! Besides the welcome muscle, going to St. Francis for some Masses exercises our “sacrifice” muscle, our essential Christian muscle to die to self. Whenever we exercise that muscle we incarnate Jesus and we further his Kingdom.

2. Going to St. Francis for some Masses helps me dispel the “chicken little” mindset that says, “If ‘my Incarnation Mass’ goes away, the sky is falling!” Go to the Mass that is closest to your preferred Mass time. By the way, The Chicken Little mindset is worse than it sounds. For it is a mindset that the devil wants us to have, a selfish, fearful approach to being the Body of Christ.

3. When you go to some Masses at St. Francis, make a list of things you like best. Come up with a list of at least three and as many as “a top ten list of reasons for going to St. Francis.”

4. Drop it in your/an envelope, even if you give electronically. If you put your Incarnation envelope in at St. Francis, it will get back to us with check or cash still in it. It’s an unwritten church law in the archdiocese! If you give electronically, take a blank envelope and put a paper inside that says “Hi, from a parishioner at your sister parish” and I bet these will get back to us too! In fact, this could become a fun competition amongst our parishes to see which parish is more outgoing, courageous and welcoming by going to visit our sister!