For our next Faith Seeking Understanding sessions, I'm thinking of a suggestion we received to discuss the Last Judgement, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. It would take at least four weeks, perhaps more. What do you think? At one large parish in which I served, this topic filled the church for the evening discussion!
Congratulations again to 7A, but the eight grades had respectable showings too. Thank you for everyone's help and support of our Catholic School's Week mass at 10:30 AM.
There are quite a few suggestions online for selling, giving away or otherwise disposing of no-longer-needed books from our personal libraries, but here a few of my own suggestions.
I confess to being a book collector. Not only do I tend to purchase books about my hobbies and interests, but each time I have taught a course or given a lecture, I also purchased a number of books about the topic, especially since the local libraries do not have the books ready to hand that I need. Moreover, the last two times I moved from one parish to another I barely had a week's notice. The first time I dragged all my books with me, the second time I donated many to the parish library and threw a great number in the trash (mea culpa).
So, snowed in and surrounded by books, I decided to approach my collection in an orderly manner. Donations to our school library and the nucleus of a parish resource library in the St. Michael Media Room was the first step. Next, I put aside books I refer to frequently or anticipate using within the next few months/years for projects, interests or pleasure reading including some classics. I decided to be pretty stringent with these criteria. That left a lot of now unwanted books.
For example, after ordination, I began buying books on sacred art and for a few years photographed the art for 35mm slides (remember them?). At first very slowly and then almost explosively, high quality digital images of artwork became available on the Internet. So, no more lights, cameras or art books necessary...just lots of heavy, hard-to-move art books.
For each remaining book I asked: How much is it worth? A handheld scanner made answering this question easy. I scanned in the barcode and consulted bookscouter.com for vendors likely to buy the book. Many were worth several dollars, some several cents, many more worth nothing. I put aside those worth several dollars or more for selling on the used book market. If the book were worth nothing or very little on the used market, would any parishioner likely be interested in reading it or would it be worthwhile in the parish library and is it in good condition? If so, I added it to the donation pile. If not, the paperbacks were sent to recycling and after the hardcovers were removed from the others, so were their contents.
The used book vendors will acknolwedge your order and price your books before you ship them. Shipping labels and packing lists can be printed from your home computer. USPS and FedEx were the most commonly used carriers. All shipping is free. Packing, sealing and shipping the books isn't easy, but at least some of their worth is recovered and the idea that someone may actually still use the books made it a bit easier for me to discard them.
Packing and shipping the books isn't the hardest part though. Anytime we sort through any of our possessions, we are forced to ask difficult questions about ourselves. Why am I keeping this? Why did I acquire it in the first place? If I haven't read this yet, will I ever? Where I am likely to move next, remembering you don't get to take anything with you on the last really big move.
I consoled myself that if I ever need any of my old friends again, I can visit with them digitally. It's a lot easier to move around a Kindle than 20 cartons of books. I won't tell you what I did with my VHS tapes!
Thanks to our faculty and students who arranged to greet parishioners and worship at the 10:30 AM mass on Sunday. Our student ambassadors did a great job of hospitality and conducted tours after mass. Fr. Manning's homily explored the question what makes a Catholic School "catholic."
Special events are planned all week long to highlight the importance of our Catholic Schools and to celebrate the excellence of our parish school in particular.
Here's a new banner we never got to carry for the re-scheduled mass with Bishop O'Connell in Trenton; our teachers processed with it at mass this morning instead.
Overall, attendance was down a bit. Congratulations 4A!
For their consistently high attendance, 7A enjoyed a dress-down day, ice cream and a movie last week.
Thank you for your warm response to the Bishop O'Connell's appeal to us through the video shown at all the masses today. In case you missed the message you can click here, or watch on the Bishop's Annual Appeal website.
A busload of pilgrims leave Holy Cross tomorrow AM for Washington, DC and the annual March for Life. Our prayers for them and for the cause for life I am sure rose up to the Lord from our Holy Hour on Saturday morning.
Not only will they be a witness for Respect Life, but they will also gain an appreciation for the need to advocate in the Public Square for those causes we hold dear.
Too little time, too many books. I'm cutting way down on my book collection (partly to make room for more!) since whether we like it or not, many of them will be digital in the future. At least they are far easier to transport that way, even if they're still not yet easier to read in a digital format.
Check out our book rack in the back of the church and feel free to take any of the books which interest you.
In order for all parishioners to be able to view the Bishop's Annual Appeal video, we will be moving all the parish masses into the gymatorium this coming weekend, January 22-23.
Be prepared to be captivated by our new bishop's enthusiasm and inspired by his words. We should all prayerfully consider a generous response to his request for financial and spiritual support.
A respectable contingent of parishioners including grammar school students will be heading to Washington on Monday morning to participate in the National March for Life.
Pray for their safe journey and for the effectiveness of their evangelization in order that more vulnerable lives may be protected from death, injury or neglect.
Saint Fiacre before and after last evening's snowfall.
(Those are the buds of a witch hazel shrub alongside him.)
It looks awful right now with blowing and drifting snow falling heavily. The Church parking lot will not be safely plowed by 9 AM.
In anticipation of the winter storm, school and parish offices will be closed tomorrow.
Morning masses will be prayed as scheduled, but Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is cancelled and Evening prayer will be prayed in private. The parking lot may not be plowed in time for the 9 AM mass, depending on accumulations. So check this blog for last minute annoucements about the status of our parking lot. If a winter emergency is declared, it is prudent NOT to drive.
Just when our 36 inch statue of St. Fiacre could begin to see the light of day, there is more snow forecast.
As this busy and blessed Christmas seasons comes to a close this Sunday, I had to share with you of the coolest parts about living at Holy Cross Church --- the Christmas tree!