Third Year Anniversary
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Serving the parishes of
Saints Thomas and Anne, Voluntown, CT • Saint Mary, Jewett City, CT • Saint Catherine, Preston, CT
July 28, 2016
It is hard to believe that we have been together as three yoked parishes for five years. A lot has happened during this time. We have overcome a lot of apprehension, and we have grown closer together while still keeping our individual parish identities. In so many ways, we have become a better reflection of the universal Church: one Church united in diversity; many gifts but the same Holy Spirit.
One of the things that continues to amaze me is how busy our three parishes are, with the Knights of Columbus, the St. Catherine’s Ladies Guild, the Legion of Mary in Voluntown, the Boy Scouts, the food pantry in Jewett City, providing a location for AA to meet in Jewett City and Preston, along with religious education, and ministries at Mass, such as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, and altar servers, to name a few. Over these past five years we have renewed music ministry, added the Columbiettes in Jewett City, created a ladies guild in Voluntown, reconstituted the Pastoral Council in Preston, and are renewing the altar server ministries in Voluntown and Jewett City. This is in addition to implementing the new Mass translation and Roman Missal in 2011 and fulfilling our usual obligations.
We could not have done any of this without working together. I remember saying at the first Masses I celebrated in each parish when Father Steve and I arrived that the new arrangement of yoking would not work unless we worked together - and we have. I also acknowledged that we would not always get the efforts right the first time and we would have to back up, change a few things, and try again – and we have done that as well. Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your engaging in our parishes, ministries, and activities.
At this time, I want to share with you several things that are going on in our parishes:
First of all, we have a college student, Cas Woznica, Jr., providing summer help and working for our parishes doing such things as cutting brush in our cemeteries, painting, and edging the grass around gravestones. So if you see a young man working around the parishes and cemeteries, that is who it is.
There are several things going on with Saint Thomas Cemetery on Sheldon Road in Griswold: (1) The white brick columns at the entrance are going to be replaced. The present columns are chipping and peeling and falling apart. Through the generosity of a parishioner, the columns will be replaced with stone columns, which will help to highlight the existing fence. (2) The area around the altar is being cleaned up. Last winter was not kind with the gravel being pushed onto the grass in front of the altar while plowing. That is being raked out slowly but surely. Also there are plans to replace the plants around the altar with more suitable and showy perennial flowers. (3) In looking at the situation in front of the cemetery altar, it was noticed that the road at that spot does not parallel the altar. In other words, the road is crooked. It is off by at least three feet on the “south” end of the altar parcel of land. To correct this, we will be moving the road and putting up some decent-looking temporary fencing. (I suppose we could say that the road in front of the altar will be … altered …. Okay, I could not resist the groaner pun!)
Several concerns have been brought to my attention regarding Saints Thomas and Anne Church, notably the peeling paint on the ceiling and the needs for interior painting and carpeting. The ceiling is a tin ceiling and was originally painted in at least two different colors. The present peeling paint situation is due to the temperature fluctuations with the new heating and cooling system. While we could simply slap some white paint on the peeling spots, it makes more sense to plan for a longer-term project that includes not only new ceiling paint but also carpeting and other needs. We also need to decide how we want the finished products to look, e.g., do we go with simply a white ceiling or do we try for a multi-color restoration? How do we coordinate the various needs of paint, carpet, and sidewalks into a finished product that is beautiful? In the near future, we will create a planning committee to address these issues. If you would like to serve on such a committee, please let me know.
The ceiling repair at Saint Mary Church in Jewett City is now complete. Donations totaled about $19,000. The cost of the repairs was about $13,300, leaving a surplus of about $5,700. We are presently contacting donors in regard to a refund of the surplus.
In terms of finances, all three parishes finished the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) in the black. (Thank you!) However, there are still long-term debts to be paid in Voluntown and Jewett City. Jewett City’s long-term debt for such things as property insurance and diocesan tax totals $610,731.03 (This includes about $7,000 still owed to parishioners). The monthly “Diocesan Debt Reduction” collection slowly pays this down, especially when the yearly general fund finishes with a surplus (like this year). Voluntown also has a long-term debt, owing $20,974.16 to the Diocese (for diocesan tax) and $16,116.23 to the parish cemetery for the years-ago renovation of the rectory. Over the past five years, Voluntown’s debts have been reduced by about $10,000, the debt balances being paid down with the annual financial surpluses. The cemetery debt is being paid down by having the parish pay for cemetery improvements.
Father Steve and I will be taking vacations over the next couple of months. I will be away on vacation from Thursday, August 4 to Friday, August 26. Father Steve will be away for a time in September, and we will let you know the exact dates as time gets closer. During the times we are away, the weekday Mass schedule will change. Please read the weekly parish bulletin for weekday Mass schedule changes.
In closing, I want to invite you once again to this year’s tri-parish picnic. It will be held on Sunday, August 28, 2016, at the Voluntown Fire House on Route 165 in Voluntown, starting at 2 p.m. They have a couple of pavilions and a barbecue area as well as restroom facilities. We will get a few volunteers to help coordinate parking. It is a rain or shine event. In case of inclement weather, we will be inside the firehouse gathering hall. Please watch the bulletin for more details. Sign-up sheets will be posted starting next week. Please sign up so we know how many to plan for.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity. As always, if you have a question or concern, please feel free to contact me at (860) 376-2044 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Father Ted F. Tumicki