I am writing this in Advent, a time of preparation. It is a time of preparation not only for the celebration of our Lord’s birth, but for the preparation for things to come. As part of this preparation, I wanted to take this opportunity to offer some reflection, on this past year at the Cathedral. It has been a year full of many blessings and the good people who comprise and support this community have helped bring these blessings about. Of course, we know that all blessings truly come from God, and for this I am both mindful and grateful. I will share three blessings that the Lord has shared with us, and some thoughts about the future.
The first blessing is that of evangelization
In the fall of 2021, the Cathedral hosted the Alpha course. The Holy Spirit stirred so many souls closer to God and our Catholic faith. Through RCIA, at the Easter vigil five adults were baptized and fifteen were confirmed. This year the Cathedral has grown by 106 families. Our social media presence continues to grow. There are over 250 subscribers to our website, about 4,500 Facebook followers from ten countries, our masses are live streamed daily, and we work with the Archdiocese in filming mass for the shut-ins as well as prayer services and educational opportunities. There is almost 24×7 posting by our Facebook administrator. Our facilities have been upgraded from a technical perspective with new virtual meeting capabilities. Over 800 people toured the Cathedral with the assistance of 11 volunteer docents. We hosted teen masses, a Lenten mission, a called and gifted program, and many bible and faith based studies. We visit the sick and homebound and those in nursing homes. The Cathedral is reaching out and meeting people where they are to bring them closer to the Lord.
The blessing of Evangelization continued this fall as the Cathedral hosted the Rescue Project and continues through OCIA (formerly called RCIA). Working with Catholic charities, we now have a person on-site to help minister to the needs of those who require assistance. We are offering food, clothing, housing support, and counseling to those in need. Most recently we held Live the Nativity, a December barbecue, and a blood drive.
The second blessing is the blessing of talent
Talent is present at the Cathedral and can be shown in a variety of ways. The large pots that are around the Cathedral grounds were so beautifully planted by parishioners who purchased and planted the flowers. As Advent came upon us, the plantings were replaced by beautiful holiday arrangements that are so lovingly crafted and executed. Our facilities manager joined us in January. He is a prayerful and faithful man who has many talents. Because of his talent, we can complete in-house many things that historically we had to pay people to do. For example, he mows our lawns, and this savings is huge. For the first time in years, our parking lot is lit brightly, and this was done cost effectively by leveraging relationships with contractors. Those talented individuals who have been a part of the Cathedral for years continue to serve the Cathedral and ultimately, God’s Church on earth.
The third blessing is stewardship
The blessing of stewardship is realized in different ways. Looking at our financial statements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022, showed the generosity of our financial supporters. Our Sunday collections exceeded our budgeted amount. The 2021 Christmas collection target was missed, but only by about $500. God was certainly generous in providing this support. We did see challenges that resulted from higher-than-expected costs. The Cathedral water usage is relatively small, yet because of drainage fees, for the fiscal year July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, we paid the water department almost $50,000. Our utility costs for gas and electricity were over $65,000 for this same period. The magnitude of these bills was great even though the offices are quite warm in the summer and the staff here are wearing sweaters in the winter. It is because of the blessing of stewardship that we were able to meet our financial obligations. Additionally, through close planning and the support of funding outside the parish we were able to complete many necessary repairs and upgrades (floor polishing, masonry repairs, replacement of aging heating and cooling equipment, repair of leaking roofs, lighting in the Cathedral…).
The list of blessings can go on and on. But like many good things, they come in threes, so I am keeping the list to just three. The greatest blessing that we have comes in three, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Preparing for the future
The best way to prepare for anything is to start with prayer. Pray for me, the Cathedral staff, and all those in need of prayer (that’s pretty much all of us). Pray in thanksgiving for all the blessings that I have mentioned and the ones that you personally hold dear. I also humbly ask that you pray about supporting the Cathedral. We have so many generous hard-working people, and I am privileged to worship with so many. Yet with the blessings, challenges arise. However, with God, all things are possible.
This past week we received a DTE bill that was almost $6,000. There was a significant increase in fuel prices. Unfortunately, this effects not only the Cathedral, but all of us personally. Many of us may not have the financial cushion to absorb these challenges while some of us can. Please pray about your personal situation. If you are able, I ask that you continue to support the Cathedral with both your treasure and your talent. At Christmas, the money donated to the Cathedral is exempt from our diocesan assessment, so your gift at Christmas is especially beneficial. If you are able, please be generous. Know that your contributions are spent prudently.
Lastly, our beloved rector, Fr. J.J. would say, “I don’t believe in luck and there is no such thing as coincidence.” I know that the Holy Spirit has brought all of us together for a reason. Please invite your friends and family to worship here at the Cathedral. Rejoice in the fact that we have had a good year here and that God has a plan for each of us.
Wishing you a blessed and joyful Christmas!
Business Manager and Wedding Coordinator