The Month of October 2017

My Friends,

“…beacons of hope”
One of the engaging & intriguing things about our Holy Father Francis is that he always speaks in simple, everyday language that everyone can understand.  So it is when he speaks with diplomats, or children, or the homeless, or refugees, or heads of state, or victims of violence or tragedy. So it is when he does his Wednesday General Audiences with thousands in attendance. The last several weeks Pope Francis has offered, during these General Audiences, reflections on Christian Hope. 

Here are his words from a few days ago:
“Dear Brothers and Sisters:  In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, I would now like to reflect on how we teach the virtue of hope.  So I will speak directly, person to person, especially to our young people, with a few words of guidance and encouragement.’

“First and foremost, wherever the Lord has planted you, stand firm in hope; never lose heart!  Trust in God’s fatherly care, the love of Jesus and the power of the Spirit to transform and renew all things.’

“Never yield to the negativity that tears things and people down, but keep building, trying to make this world conform ever more fully to God’s plan.  Keep your eyes open to the beauty all around you, keep the lamp of faith burning in your heart, and trust in the fulfilment of God’s promises.  Use your God-given gifts of mind and heart to help our human family to grow in freedom, justice and dignity.’

“Jesus has won the victory and he asks us to follow his example by bringing his love and mercy to a world wounded by sin, hatred and division.  Be faithful to your ideals, get up whenever you fall, and never despair.  In a word: live, love and believe!  And with God’s grace, be beacons of hope to all around you.”

This Old House Update
In the last year, there have been multiple issues which needed repair, replacement or restoration in the church, the rectory, the parish hall, and around the parish campus.  With the ever-ready assistance of John McGuire, and of our Archdiocesan Building and Real Estate director, and several other consultants whose expertise with respect to some of the issues was necessary, we have been able to address them.  That is an important part of our responsible stewardship of this significant part of the patrimony of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The repair, replacement, restoration has included: 1)  fencing on the front plaza of the church, 2)  repair of the chipped and cracked concrete planter boxes on the plaza and sealing of the decorative concrete plaza surface, 3)  removal of large and dead trees on the east end of the parking lot,  4)  replacement of a major gas pipe,  5)  repair (finally we hope after 60 years) of the recurring water infiltration in the rectory roof,6)  replacement of the 8 year old computer in the parish office,  7)  replastering of water-damaged ceilings on the rectory second floor,  8) repainting of those ceilings and restoration of some blistered/cracked walls in the rectory and in  the church,  and 9)  repainting of the interior main entrance church doors and of the exterior door frames and window arches.  In early August, then, the several significant cracks and settling of the church parking lot will be repaired and then the entire lot will be sealed and restriped.

There are other issues, especially in the rectory and parish hall. One is a significant plumbing issue related to the age and type of pipes in all of the 60 year old rectory restrooms.  Another issue is significant water damage to the parish hall ceiling caused by deteriorated isolation.  The pipes must be reinsulated but only after asbestos abatement. The other is the periodic occurrence of a noxious gas-like odor which originates in the parish hall but then wafts up into the rectory.  We have had multiple consults to identify the source and eliminate the odor.  That assessment is ongoing.  And there was a significant issue with two of our principal floodlights illuminating the parking lot at night. Neither functioned any longer.  Both have been replaced No significant underground work on electrical wiring was required.  Now, because of the lighting installed by City View owners for the perimeters of their properties, and through their generosity, light also adequately illuminates our campus.  

Another element of this work is the repair and restoration work of the surface patching of five areas of the parking lot which had settled or cracked.  That has been completed.  The next phase was the resealing and restriping of the parking lot.  This took place during the week of September 24th and was accomplished over a few days’ time.

As I noted in a recent bulletin, we are blessed.  Because of your regular stewardship generosity in support of our mission and ministry, and because of the generosity of those before us, on whose shoulders we stand. The total cost of the work already, or soon-to-be, completed is slightly over $30,000.  These expenses were paid from our funds on deposit. It was not necessary to draw down any of our reserve funds.

The Secret Panel
There was much enthusiasm among Catholics in the United States a few years ago when Pope Benedict advanced the cause for sainthood of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  Some say that he was the greatest preacher the Catholic Church in the United States has heard.

He is now known as Venerable Fulton Sheen.  The next step, in due time, is “blessed”, and finally, “saint”.

Archbishop Sheen has a personal connection with St. John’s.  He was a personal friend of Monsignor Alfred Thomson, pastor here from 1940-1951, and preached the homily in 1947 at the Centennial of the Founding of the Parish and again in 1951 at the Funeral Mass for Monsignor Thomson.

It was on that occasion that Venerable Fulton Sheen called attention to a detail about the church that many find especially fascinating.  Monsignor Thomson had a great love for the Holy Eucharist.  Archbishop Sheen called attention to a previously little-known panel, near the proscenium arch in the extreme south side of the Transfiguration fresco behind the Altar.  The rectory was then on the Chestnut Street side of the church.  Monsignor Thomson’s rooms adjoined that church wall.  An opening was cut into the fresco so that he could open the panel and see the Altar and Tabernacle as he prayed from his rooms.  After his death the panel was eliminated, however its outlines can still be detected.

In Brief
On Saturday, October 7th, Mark Phillips, parishioner, member of the parish finance council, and Lector at weekend Masses, and his fiancée, Laura Borgmeyer, will celebrate their marriage here.  In July of 2018, Stephen Rehagen, parishioner and Eucharistic Minister and his fiancée, Natalie Upchurch, will celebrate their marriage here. God grant them grace abounding to live the truth that “love never counts, love alone counts”.

We share the joy of Joe and Sara Harman Fischer as they anticipate, in November, the arrival of their first-born. Sara was a parishioner, served as a Eucharistic Minister and member of the Parish Pastoral Council here. After she and Joe were married they relocated to his home in Washington, Missouri. God keep a careful eye on the three of them as we await the blessed event.

Monsignor Delaney

St. John Financial Report
July 2016   -   June 2017

Weekly envelopes                                 $113,718.14
Holy Days Collections                           $    2,638.07
Visitor Collections                                 $  18,184.48
Gift Offerings                                        $  47,000.00
Votive Offerings & Stole Fees               $3,847.27
St. Louis Review                                   $       300.00
Beyond Sunday                                    $  14,800.00
Investment Income                                $    2,491.33
Rental Income                                       $  20,800.00
Miscellaneous                                       $         39.38
Transfer from Cash Reserve                           - 0 -
Total                      $223,818.67

Personnel Costs                                    $ 39,943.44
Supplies                                                $ 17,109.92
Fees & Services                                    $ 28,696.51
Utilities & Maintenance                       $ 60,672.73
Cabrini Academy                                  $ 22,443.30
Archdiocese Assessment                      $ 43,803.52
St. Louis Review                                   $   1,568.00
Capital Expenditures                             $   4,637.00
Transfer to Cash Reserve                       $   4,944.25
Total                                     $223,818.67

Mark Your Calendar
On Sunday, October 29th, our new Auxiliary Bishop, Mark Rivituso, consecrated bishop in the Cathedral Basilica on May 2nd, has asked to celebrate the 10:30 Mass with us as he makes his initial pastoral visits to each parish in the Archdiocese.

Bishop Rivituso, 55, was ordained a priest of St. Louis in 1988 by Archbishop John May.  He has served in several parishes in the Archdiocese, taught in a number of our Archdiocesan High Schools, obtained a License (Masters Degree) in Canon Law, and has served most recently in Archdiocesan administration while continuing to be involved in parish ministry.

His visit coincidentally coincides with the 170th anniversary of the founding of this parish, and the 157th anniversary of the dedication of this church.

Following Mass there will be an informal reception, in the parish hall, so that Bishop Rivituso has chance to meet you.

No matter your “usual” preferred Sunday Mass, I encourage all in this parish family to participate in this celebration of the 10:30 Mass & to greet Bishop Rivituso in the parish hall afterwards.  Grace, here, will be abounding!