Pastor’s Perspective by Fr. Buersmeyer

Pastor’s Perspective is Fr. Buersmeyer’s weekly column. It appears in the parish bulletin and in this space.

September 17, 2017

*Parish Planning Evening on September 27th

The Parish Pastoral Council extends an invitation to every St. Regis adult, young adult, and teen to attend an important planning evening on Wednesday, September 27 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the church. The input given at the meeting will be key in giving the Council a direction for its parish pastoral planning over the next five to seven years. In the spring the Pastoral Council conducted an extensive parish-wide survey and began going through the hundreds of responses and thousands of comments. They have completed that process and have identified six key areas on which to focus St. Regis’ strategic planning for the future.

1. Teen/Youth Involvement

2. Worship Participation and Energy

3. St. Regis As a Welcoming Community to New Persons

4. Strengthening Bonds within the Parish Community

5. Faith Formation and Spiritual Growth

6. Service and Outreach to the Wider Community.

Please mark your calendars for the upcoming, very important planning meeting. Look over the six areas and think about St. Regis and what could be possible in the future. The survey allowed for any and all ideas, small or big, short or long term. Now the Pastoral Council is asking for help in identifying what we as a parish should commit to for the next five to seven years in the six areas mentioned. Think big; think strategically; think in terms of what could inspire us as a parish to build momentum in these areas. Then, come to the September 27th meeting with two or three key ideas to share with respect to any of these areas. The decisions made by the Pastoral Council and affirmed by me will have effects on budget, personnel, priorities and more. We need your input.

Everything the Pastoral Council is doing, of course, needs to be meshed with the Archdiocesan-wide effort called “Unleash the Gospel.” A great way to prepare for the September 27th meeting, in addition to praying and thinking about the six areas of focus, is to read the Archbishop’s pastoral letter. There is a link to it on the parish webpage under “What’s Happening,” as well as a link to my series of bulletin articles commenting on the letter. I would call your attention especially to the sections on “The Foundational Conviction” (this is the inspiring central point of the letter), “Guideposts” (listing ten guides for determining how well we are doing at unleashing the Gospel), and the “Proposition” section connected to parishes and parish planning.

*Collection for Archdiocese of Detroit Senior Priests

In your current bi-monthly packet of support envelopes for the parish you will find one for “Detroit Priests Retirement Fund.” What is that all about? How are priests provided for when they no longer are connected to a parish or active assignment? As diocesan priests (religious orders provide full retirement for their priests through the order’s resources) we do not take vows of poverty and we are responsible for our own retirement. To prepare for retirement we are strongly advised to pay into Social Security rather than opt out of that support net. We are also encouraged to take a portion of our salary and invest it in IRAs or annuities which will serve us well in retirement. The Archdiocese provides another leg of support through the Detroit Priest Pension Fund which guarantees a certain monthly pension once a priest is vested after fifteen years and reaches senior status. Finally, Senior Priests are available to help out at various parishes and receive payment for such services. All in all, most Detroit priests find that they have a secure, comfortable retirement. And, as a stop gap, if a priest incurs catastrophic costs for some reason (usually health related), the Archdiocese has a special fund to cover such costs. In other words, no priest will be left in a state of extreme need.

How is the Detroit Priest Pension funded? In the Archdiocese of Detroit every parish or institution at which a priest is assigned provides a yearly retirement benefit for the priest (approximately $2,131 yearly). This is sent to the religious order or diocese to which the priest belongs. In addition, if the priest is a diocesan priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit, the parish or institution is assessed an extra $13,513 in order to build up the Detroit Priest Pension Fund and take care of the large number of current senior priests. The goal is to make the fund “actuarily sound,” meaning that an investment payback of 5.5% yearly would cover all the benefits received by senior priests as well as the accrued benefits of all the younger priests. At the age of seventy Detroit diocesan priests can begin receiving a monthly pension from the Pension Fund. If they are not in an active assignment, the fund also covers gap insurance for Medicare, a professional allowance, and car insurance.

The Detroit Priests’ Retirement collection is a way for individuals to know that their donation will be directed to this specific cause. The donation also offsets the assessed cost to the parish (approximately $15,644 as mentioned above). If donations to this retirement collection exceed this number, the Priest Pension Fund benefits even more. Thank you to any who choose to contribute to this collection.


*Hurricane Relief

There are, of course, so many other worthy charities to help. With the devastation of hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the United States, many charities are requesting help. One who will help with significant monies and with no administrative overhead is Catholic Charities USA. There is a link to that hurricane relief fund on the Archdiocesan website (aod.org). Our music minister, Andrew Neer, in conjunction with the Christian Service Commission and the School, is working on a benefit concert to aid victims of the hurricanes. It is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, October 1st and will feature a symphonic orchestra and more. Stay tuned for more details.


*Detroit Priest Convocation September 24-28

Every two years all priests who serve in the Archdiocese of Detroit are asked to attend a convocation at Boyne Highlands with Archbishop Vigneron. It is coming up the week of September 24th and we will have to adjust Masses accordingly for the week. Fr. Yost will not be going and has agreed to cover the 6:45 a.m. Masses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. However, we will be cancelling the Monday evening Mass on September 25, and the Tuesday and Wednesday morning 8:30 a.m. Masses on September 26 and 27.  There are parishes in the area whose priests are not attending the convocation and who will be keeping their normal daily Mass schedule. Please check with a neighboring parish for Mass times that week.

What about emergency Anointing of the Sick and funerals? We will do our best to find a priest, if at all possible, but we cannot guarantee it during these four days. If at all possible, we ask that a funeral be delayed until Friday of that week. If it needs to be done earlier and a priest is not available, then Deacon Francis or another deacon will lead a service with the Liturgy of the Word but no Eucharist.

Please place the Detroit priests in your prayer, especially during this week. It is a chance for us to bond more closely, receive some input from speakers, and to think together about priesthood in and for the Archdiocese of Detroit.


*Ministry Sign Up

A link to the Ministry Sign Up sheet is on the parish webpage under “What’s Happening” and can be downloaded, filled out and returned to the parish any time. Many of these ministries take very little time and all of them are important for the life and energy of the parish. We need sufficient numbers of liturgical ministers to cover all the Masses. Please sign up for one of them. As mentioned in previous bulletins, the parish staff wants to start a Welcoming-Hospitality Committee which will help the parish staff think through these areas, come up with ideas and procedures, and begin recruiting others to flesh out the ideas we come up with. That will only happen if we can find 6-10 people willing to meet and plan. I would love to see a funeral ministry flourish here at the parish. But for that we need several people willing to be trained as funeral sacristans and greeters. Music ministry at the parish is wide open for new voices, instruments, cantors, choir, youth, and adult. Our Saturday Prayer Team which prays with and over people for any need they bring forward, our Christian Meditation group, Knights of Columbus and Legion of Mary are wonderful ways to become involved in service and prayer. Please take the time to pray about where God is inviting you to connect, fill out the form, and return it to the parish office.


*Sunday Second Reading

The reading today from Romans 14:7-8 is perfect for our Ministry Sign Up Sunday. St. Paul says: “Brothers and sisters: None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” We belong to our Lord and the Lord invites us to be part of a community of faith. We do get very busy taking care of our own and our family needs, and that is mostly quite admirable. But the community of faith, this parish, needs your help. Thank you for responding.

Fr. Buersmeyer