“Global Solidarity and Global Awareness.” One the blessings of having a Sister Parish relationship with the Church of St. Peter in Oyugis, Kenya is that it maintains our ‘awareness’ that we are part of a much larger global church community. We believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church! The word, “Catholic” means ‘Universal’ in the sense that the Church in its mission is open to people of all languages, cultures, and nations, that Christianity excludes no one based on their place of origin. The beauty of Christianity is that it has something to offer for everyone. It speaks to and can transform all nations as it brings the “Gospel” to them, raises their minds and hearts to knowing what it means to be Beloved Sons and Daughters of God.
Global ‘solidarity’ then is the organic connections we make in order to better understand others and the unique expression we bring to our Catholic Christian Faith. We have much to learn from other people as they have much to learn from us. Having a Sister Parish then is never a one way relationship, but a “both and” relationship as together we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
To maintain and continue to develop this relationship, this year a delegation from the Diocese of St. Cloud will be visiting Kenya to reaffirm our connections. Among the delegates going are Chris and Pat Zimmerman, who are members of our own twinned parish community here at St. Peter and St. Paul. Chris and Pat are excited to represent us and to visit our Sister Parish, to give them our greetings, to learn from them, and to show our support for them as well. You may not know this but the Catholic Church in Africa is growing by leaps and bounds! Unlike here in the United States where our fervor has waned (especially among young people) and we take so much for granted. In Kenya more and more people are truly being inspired and engaged, especially the young among them. The crowds at Sunday Mass in Oyugis are busting at the seams as members come from all directions, (mostly on foot), to celebrate the Eucharist and their life in Christ. These Sunday worship services often last all day! Imagine that!
You may not know this, but because of the ever growing crowds, St. Peter in Oyugis is planning on building onto their church. Among the many things Chris and Pat will be doing is to gift our sister parish with about $2,500 to help them in building up their church. This will go a long way in helping them get started, and I am sure it will be much appreciated. Chris and Pat will be leaving for their delegation trip on March 3rd and returning on March 19th. Before they do so, I have asked them to introduce themselves at all our Masses the weekend of February 23-24th and talk about what they hope to accomplish on their trip. Hopefully when they return, they may speak to us about their experience. Until then…let’s pray for them, that they have a safe and enjoyable trip and that we continue to be enriched by commitment to work together and further the Kingdom of God in our midst.
On a completely different note, over the past few weeks I have been asked about our Parish Sacrificial Giving Summary in our bulletin. To answer some of these questions, I think it is important to know that the “Weekly Collection Goal” refers to the goal each of our parishes (St. Peter and St. Paul) has budgeted for the current fiscal year. This is based on our ‘operating budget’ only, or in other words the monies we need to keep our basic plant, employees and operations going. Some weeks and months we are ahead of budget; at other times we are behind or below budget. This does not include special parish fund raisers or the generous bequests that some members of our parishes might leave with us for a specific need or upon death. We are very thankful for these when these do occur! One question I get is “Why does the ‘Weekly Collection Goal?’” change some months. The main reason is that some months have 5 Sunday collections and not just 4 Sunday collections so the weekly goal changes. These weekly numbers you see are best the information we have at the printing of the current bulletin. Right now, our budget numbers look very good, but they do ebb and flow with our best collections occurring at Christmas and Easter. This time of year, our collections do slowly tend to decline until fiscal year end on June 30th. This said, it’s good to be above budget right now so we can make budget by June 30th. Both our Parish Finance Committees, along with our accountants and myself, watch these very trends very carefully so as to better plan for the future. On behalf of our Finance Staff and volunteers, we want to say thanks to all of you for your generosity!