35 Dartmouth Street, Garden City, New York 11530 - (516) 352-5904
How Do I?

Fr. Tom’s Letters

 

Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the faith life of our Parish.

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2017

Dear Parishioners,

When I sit down to write this weekly letter to you, I look at the bulletin of the past week to review what is happening in the parish and possible topics to write about in this column.  A review of the bulletin at this time of year lets even the “casual reader” know how much is happening at St. Anne’s.  Opportunities abound for all people of all ages to be involved in this community of faith-minded people.  We are very blessed.

There are some developments that indicate how the parish is moving forward in many ways.  In the past three years, we have razed the convent that was empty for nearly ten years.  It was in a very deteriorated condition.  At the completion of the convent demolition, simultaneously we had a dangerous rectory fire.  No one was injured because the fire occurred in the morning when all the priests had already begun their daily routine.  An overnight fire would likely have brought great tragedy.  Extensive smoke and water damage led to a renovated rectory.  We lost meeting rooms as all parts of the rectory were renovated to be in compliance with fire safety codes.

All during these past three years we have had discussions about the former convent property and how best to use it.  Many possibilities were discussed and explored.  Some were more realistic than others.  Some were very unique, such as a parish cemetery!

The past twenty-five years has seen ministries, activities, and organizations multiply at St. Anne’s.  At the same time, our education ministries have become among the largest in our diocese.  Our Faith Formation program includes more than 900 students and our sacramental programs in second and eighth grade, First Communion and Confirmation, include more than 300 students every year.  Our parish Catholic school is among the largest in the entire diocese with 525 students which includes three kindergarten classes.  Our parish school is very attractive to young families.  Our school building is fully occupied, often from 7:00AM to 9:00PM with students, after school activities, faith formation classes, and parish meetings of all kinds.  Parishioners seeking to have a meeting place know how crowded our schedule is and how difficult it can be to find a meeting space.  Just ask one of our newer ministries, the Men's Bible Study.  They are asked to go to a different place every time they want to meet.  Parish Social Ministry sometimes has to do its work to assist the needy by meeting in the back of the gym stage.  Families looking to plan a funeral for a loved one with our consolation ministry have to go to the rectory basement, far from welcoming to a senior citizen who has to negotiate the basement stairs. 

All involved in leading ministries, activities, and organizations at St. Anne’s realize the need for more space for ministry and mission.  These needs include space for Scouts, CYO, school activities, faith formation and all the kids involved.  These needs for space include prayer groups, senior citizens, parish social ministry volunteers, and all kinds of parish committees.

Through 2017 a large committee of parishioners has met to discuss possibilities.  Parishioners and professionals in engineering, architecture, and construction have helped us find our focus.  Soon, we will be able to share with all the parish plans for additional ministry and meeting space.  This ministry and meeting space will be located on the former convent property.  It will be a building that will be suitable for its place on Fairmount Boulevard, a residential street.  Its appearance will reflect a residential look.  These plans are not yet complete, but they will soon be ready for review by the entire parish.  Only then will we begin seeking diocesan and village permissions which we anticipate will take some time.  Then too we will have a more informed projection regarding cost and how we will fund our new ministry and meeting space.  Please know, at this time, “nothing is set in stone.”  At the same, we are happy that we will soon be able to share a concrete proposal to meet our important need for increased mission and ministry space.

As part of Bishop Barres’ challenge to us all to participate in “Dramatic Missionary Growth,” I have reconvened a Pastoral Council.  This new challenge from our diocesan bishop requires our parish to respond with fresh imagination and possibilities.  At our first meeting I heard beautiful testimony from these parishioners about their love for St. Anne’s and the treasured place the parish has in the life of their families.  If you would like to share your thoughts on “Dramatic Missionary Growth” with the Pastoral Council, please let me know.

Our Parish Finance Committee meets this week.  Part of our meeting will include a review of the finances of this past fiscal year, September 1, 2016 - August 31, 2017.  As we have done for several years, our revenue exceeded our expenses by about $165,000.  With all ministries and expenses included, including our parish school ministry, our total expense budget is now close to five million dollars.  Parishioner generosity in the Sunday collection, the Christmas offering, special gifts and donations, bequests and parish rebate from the Catholic Ministries Appeal all help the parish maintain a healthy financial outlook.  As the Catholic Ministries Appeal winds down for 2017, we will have an opportunity to participate in the 2017 Appeal through a special CMA collection on Sunday, November 5th.   Those who have not participated in the 2017 Appeal can do so then.  Your participation in this final collection for the 2017 Appeal should help us realize a $40,000 parish rebate from the diocese.

As always, thank you for your support and generosity.  A more extensive report on finances is being prepared by the Finance Committee.  It is a blessing to serve you as pastor.

Enjoy a peace-filled week!

Fr. Tom

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.