8th Sunday of the Year

Dear Friends in Christ,

A few items for your attention:

1. Our 114 year old parish school is truly outstanding, and we most often receive recognition of the school’s quality for academic achievement. We are, for example, the only Blue Ribbon Middle School in the Upstate. But in this current school year, the recognition of excellence also comes to our athletic program. Our Girls Volleyball Team, Girls Basketball Team, and Boys Basketball Team were all undefeated in both regular season and post-season play, and all three teams won first place in both local league tournaments and the statewide diocesan tournaments. Congratulations to our victorious student athletes and to their dedicated coaches, Megan Soulsby and Willis Holliday, for a job so very well done. Go Ducks!

2. We will have four Masses for Ash Wednesday: 7 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm in the church and 7 pm in Spanish in the gym. Ashes will be distributed at all four Masses, and everyone without exception is welcome to receive the imposition of ashes during Mass. There will not, however, be distribution of ashes outside of Mass at any time on Wednesday.

3. Please refer back to my bulletin columns of the past two Sundays for suggestions on how to make a Plan of Life for Lent. Let’s use these 40 Days of Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving in loving and creative ways to prepare for a worthy and fruitful celebration of the Passover of the Lord on Easter Sunday. Our goal should always be to follow the Lord Jesus more perfectly through radical conversion, deep fidelity, joyful discipleship and courageous evangelism.

4. We have known for several weeks that water is finding a path into the left wall of the sanctuary arch and causing the plaster to bubble and the paint to discolor in one section of the arch. We have not repaired the small amount of damage in the church because we could not find the source of the water with any certainty, but I believe we are close to finding and isolating the leak now. Once we ascertain the cause of the problem and the nature and extent of the needed repairs, we will move with speed to put things in order and restore the damaged plaster and paint.

5. In 2002 we restored the interior of the church for the 150th anniversary of the founding of this parish, but that was twelve years ago and our church has been in constant use every day since then. In the next few weeks, I will be identifying several capital projects that need to be undertaken in the coming months to preserve the interior of our church as a place of singular beauty and peace. Please begin to think now about your gift to the 2014 capital campaign for St. Mary’s.

Father Newman