July 23, 2017

Our new 5:00 Saturday music leader will be Bryan Miller. He is the choir and band director at Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School and has led choirs in parishes for years. Bryan is a gifted vocalist and plays a wide variety of musical instruments. There are no plans to change the style of music although there will be the normal addition of new songs over time. We feel very blessed to welcome Bryan to the St. Vincent music ministry. He will be taking over in August.

I want to thank Austin Freeman who has led the music at 5:00 on Saturdays for the past few years. We will miss his musical gifts as well as how his heart and soul came out in his music. We also will miss Austin for all the ways he has shared his gifts behind the scenes and especially his expertise with audio and video equipment. He has been our troubleshooter for our most difficult audio and video problems. We wish Austin well as he moves to Orlando, Florida to continue his education.

Please welcome Fr. Babu Pinninti this weekend for the Diocesan Missionary Plan of Cooperation. Fr. Babu is a Missionary of St. Francis de Sales. There is no special collection since part of our gifts each week support the missions through our parish tithe to the diocese. The presence of Fr. Babu and others that speak about the missions allows us to connect our support of the missions to a person and community. I personally want to thank Fr. Babu for taking my place during my vacation. 

July 16, 2017

Fundraiser reaction!!!  I found out at least some people read my bulleting column about needing to cut back the number of fundraisers announced at Mass and taking place in the Gathering Space. A number of people have expressed their appreciation and look forward to hearing fewer fundraising appeals. I heard from at least one group that has examined their fundraising and plan to reduce their number of appeals to the parish. Other people have expressed a fear there will be no opportunity to have fundraisers to support worthy causes.

First, I am not suggesting we eliminate all fundraisers. However, we do need to reduce the number of fundraisers because the multiplication of requests dilutes the effectiveness of all requests as people tune out during announcements. In the end, all the groups end up working harder to receive less and less funds. I want people to first talk within their groups. Then come August 24th to a meeting and work with me to discern what kind of fundraising policies can help sort out what is worthwhile and what is only marginally effective. I especially challenge groups that have multiple fundraisers during the year to consider how they can reduce their appeals. I want us to tackle this problem together.

Finally, I once again want all groups to better tell the “Good News” of what you are doing. Write short inspiring stories of what you are doing to help people. Something also tells me those short inspiring stories will generate more income for your group than any fundraiser. Writing a 2 or 3 paragraph story is far easier than planning a fundraiser, yet it is seldom done.

I still want to hear your thoughts about fundraisers, so send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

You can make an appointment to meet with me during the first half of this week as I will be going on vacation after Mass on Friday.

 Transportation help needed from Victoria Falls Assisted Living. One of the residents is very able to walk and travel and wants transportation to either weekend or daily Masses. Call Kathleen in the office if you are able to help. 

July 9, 2017

Our next Family Movie Nights is July 14th. The movie will be “Beauty and the Beast.”  We will gather at 6:30 to enjoy food and one another. The movie will start after 8:00 p.m. Contact Michele in the parish office if you are willing to help with games or hospitality.

Fundraiser overload!!!  We are at the point of fundraiser overload. I have heard people say too often, “All they do at church is ask for money.”  While I only ask for support for the parish once a year, I am making announcements almost every week asking for money for a couple different organizations. We no longer have second collections, but it is hard to traverse the Gathering Space without begging hands being extended. All of these fundraisers are for good causes, but we have too much of a good thing. I also am aware these fundraisers come on top of school fundraisers and constant mailings pleading for your help.

Discussions so far have not yielded any hard and fast rules that work for everyone and every situation. So as a start, I am asking each organization in the parish to consider how they can limit the number of fundraisers they have. I would love it if most organizations would limit themselves to one fundraiser per year. That may not work for everyone, but I would like a good rationale for why your group is an exception. Consider what is most successful and let go of the marginally successful fundraisers. I want to meet with the organizational heads that do fundraisers on August 24 to get your input and ideas about how to limit fundraisers in the parish. The Pastoral Council will be discussing the issue in September.

One change I am making immediately is to make all the announcements for fundraisers myself to keep them short. If you write up more than a three sentence paragraph, I will shorten it myself. We will not announce prices or menus.

Finally, I would like all groups to better tell the “Good News” of what you are doing. Imagine our bulletin filled with inspiring stories of what you are doing rather than details about the next raffle. The bulletin would certainly be more interesting to read. Something also tells me those short inspiring stories will generate more income for your group than any fundraiser. Writing a 2 or 3 paragraph story is far easier than planning a fundraiser, yet it is seldom done.

If you have any thoughts about fundraisers, please send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

July 2, 2017

July 4th celebrates the birth of our nation. This holiday reminds us not simply of the gift of freedom, but more importantly the idea that we as the people could rule ourselves through elections and representative. The gridlock of partisan politics may make us wonder if this idea is still true. I am reminded of the quote Winston Church used: “Democracy is the worst form of Government except for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.” The founders of our nation recognized the struggle of democracy and created a system with many checks and balances. Yet, good will and the ability to look beyond one’s immediate interest or partisan advantage is essential for our country to succeed.

I believe we as Catholic Christians should be the first to go beyond partisan conflict and personal interest. We need to work to make both parties better. We need to inspire our whole country to making sacrifices for the common good. We need to create a country where the downtrodden are lifted up, where all have the opportunity to succeed and where it is easier to be good. So this week let us step out of our partisan camps and propaganda and imagine what might be possible with good will and generosity of spirit. How can we make our country better?

We purchased all new chairs for the Ville. We had a unique opportunity to purchase the rest the new chairs we need for the Ville at a big discount. We now are selling the old Ville chairs. We have different prices for the chairs based on their current condition. Contact the office this week if you are interested, especially since there are a limited number of chairs in good condition. We will be putting them on Craigslist next week. We need to move them out of the building quickly.

Both the Youth Mission Trip to Costa Rica and the Youth Prayer and Action Week were great successes based on the feedback I have received from the youth and the parents. One of the youth said the hardest part was saying good-bye to the children they spent time with in Costa Rica. That tells me something great happened in those relationships. Something happens in these experiences to change hearts and perspectives that does not happen even in the best weekly gatherings. I want to thank Eve and all the adult leaders that accompanied the youth during these week long experiences.

 

Our next Family Movie Nights is July 14th. The movie will be “Beauty and the Beast.”  We will gather at 6:30 to enjoy food and one another. The movie will start after 8:00 p.m. Contact Michele in the parish office if you are willing to help with games or hospitality.

 

We are still accepting applications for a Saturday Mass Cantor/Ensemble Director. We seek someone proficient in voice and guitar; committed to full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy. Contact Nick or myself if you have any questions. 

June 25, 2017

“A unique compassionate community” is the best short description I have heard for St. Vincent’s. We are using it as a tag line to describe our parish and hope it will help you describe St. Vincent’s to others. The uniqueness is not simply about our Worship Space or our liturgy. The uniqueness also points to how we prioritize ministries such as adult faith formation and small groups. Our compassion is seen in ministries and financial support that extends beyond the parish walls to the communities of Andover and Wichita. The generosity of this parish to outside ministries is on a different scale than any other Catholic parish. Compassion also is seen in how we welcome people to our parish. Recently, I had someone who said their non-Catholic spouse liked to come to St. Vincent’s more than any other church because even though he had tattoos and not the fanciest clothing he could come here without people “looking at him.” He was accepted as a person and not judged. Hospitality that receives people as they are is a gift of compassion. Finally, we have a sense of community that starts before and after Mass in the Gathering and Social Spaces. It continues through small groups and working together in so many ministries. Community is a gift we give to one another. So I encourage you to remember this short description of St. Vincent’s as “a unique compassionate community.” Hopefully these words will help you describe our community and invite people to be a part of it.

Vacation Bible School filled the building with activity and the sounds of children this past week. I am always impressed how so many children and volunteers are brought together and organized for a week. The children had fun and learned about God through lessons, activities and song. I want to thank Pam Cross who coordinated VBS this year as well as all the adult and youth volunteers who made this past week a great success.

 

Our first Family Movie Nights on June 16th was a success with a very good turnout. People gathered to enjoy food, one another and a movie. I want to thank members of the staff and volunteers who made this event a success. Additional movie nights will be July 14 and August 4. Contact Michele in the parish office if you are willing to help with games or hospitality.

We are still accepting applications for a Saturday Mass Cantor/Ensemble Director. We seek someone proficient in voice and guitar; committed to full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy. Must be familiar with modern Catholic music and Praise and Worship style of music. Position available in August. Contact Nick or myself if you have any questions.