"The Lord is near to all who call upon him/" (Ps 145:18a)
As St Matthew reminds us in this weekend's Gospel, feeling cheated because of someone else's good fortune is a tale as old as time. When the vineyard workers grumbled like jealous children, the landowner chastised their ungrateful attitude, "Are you envious because I'm generous?" A home schooled mom once exaggerated to me about her squabbling children that she wanted just five words inscribed on her tombstone: "Fair Does Not Mean Equal." She had four children in a span of six-years and it was imperative that she address head-on the inevitable sibling comparison and jealousy. But she also hoped that even a fraction of her words explaining authentic fairness take seed in their hearts. I recall telling her that it begins by appreciating what she has received because gratefulness begets generosity. Only someone aware of his/her own blessings can genuinely rejoice in someone else's prosperity.
The parish has an agreement with the City of Cudahy concerning the demolition of the Holy Family Campus. This three-year plan means that its three buildings must be demolished. In turn, the city will not require the parish to undergo any costly building code modifications. While I'm grateful that there is a consensus, our parish is now responsible to begin budgeting funds to make it a reality. The demolition timetable goes like this: Summer, 2018 - Rectory and Garage; Summer, 2019 - Church; Summer, 2020 - School. During the next three years, we will also continue to pursue selling the Holy Family property "as is" to any interested person or developer.
The Finance Council will be making a decision soon to award a contractor to reduce the height of the school chimney to the roofline and install a new venting system for the boilers. This project needs to be done before the heating system because the chimney is perilously close to collapsing due to being struck by lightening a few years ago. It is estimated that its cost will be around $30,000.
I have asked the Building and Grounds Committee to remove the bushes in front of the church and school. This project will also include grinding the stumps and filling the low-lying areas with top soil and mulch. It is my desire that our parishioners will volunteer next spring to plant some colorful perennials and decorative grasses to enhance the landscaping - especially in front of the church, its marquee sign and the entrance to Project Concern. We are currently seeking bids for this job.
I'm really looking forward to the Spaghetti Dinner this Saturday, along with its Auction and Raffle drawings. Yes, Mary Jo Hallfeld and myself will be hosting a scrumptious dinner for six in the rectory. Be assured that it will be something better than chicken nuggets, French fries, apple pie and a medium drink!
In God's Time,