Advent/Christmas Letter from Fr. Boniface Endorf, O.P., Pastor
Dear St. Joseph Parish Family,
I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Advent so far! The Holy Spirit certainly has been at work at St. Joseph’s church. I want to share a broad vision of St. Joseph and what the Holy Spirit has being preparing for this great parish. I’ve been very happy to see all the possibilities God has opened up for our parish.
When I first arrived at St. Joseph Church, I outlined a plan for the parish in light of the need for reform and renewal within the Church (the plan was in my second pastor’s letter, on 9/2/18). Reform always springs from holiness, and so the plan centered around seeking holiness together. Most of what I outlined has already been achieved: Fr. Scordo is currently giving his talks explaining the faith (every Tuesday night), we currently pray the prayer to St. Michael after the daily Masses, the confessional has been completed before Advent and confession is available before all the Sunday Masses, we currently offer adoration after every Friday 12:10 p.m. Mass, and we currently practice the Ember days. The only item left from the initial plan is the renovation of Casserly Hall, which we have been working on and should be complete within a year. The Holy Spirit has been active in leading us to the forefront of reform and renewal in the Church, and we need to keep at the forefront. Here I want to outline what is happening in the parish more broadly than my weekly letters.
I’m still quite excited about the
. It was a goal of mine from the moment I took office to have a confessional in place by Advent– and we got it done! One reason I wanted to see a confessional in place is because I’m a Missionary of Mercy. Pope Francis invited priests to become Missionaries of Mercy during his first year as pope. I applied to the Vatican office in charge and was accepted. This past May, Pope Francis held a conference for Missionaries of Mercy in Rome that I attended. During the workshops Pope Francis consistently pressed the need for confession — God’s mercy is encountered most powerfully through the sacrament of reconciliation. Having regular confession times here, times that people can easily attend (before every Sunday Mass), and having a private place to hear confessions, is a part of realizing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church. So as a Missionary of Mercy I’m very happy to have a new confessional at St. Joseph’s that achieves those goals. Already there has been an increase in confessions here, meaning that God’s mercy is flowing through this parish.
Another part of the vision for this parish is building up
ministries and communities
in the parish. St. Joseph already has effective and growing ministries, such as our large and dedicated RCIA community, the vibrant young professionals’ ministry, the growing men’s group, the large religious education ministry, and the various lay liturgical ministries. We are working to better support and lead existing ministries. But there is room for much more growth. Our hope is to start a youth group next year, because right now we have no ministry for children after they have received confirmation. There are many more possible ministries that the Holy Spirit may raise up! Community is key to living the Christian life, no one is saved alone, so this is a key element for growing this parish. St. Joseph can be a place where the Gospel is lived together, where people can come to find God’s grace transforming our community into saints.
Much of my time is spent with projects that are necessary to realizing the goals of community and ministry. There is much delayed maintenance. The Church needs a new
system, which will go in this spring. The
roof and facade
are rotting away, and a new roof and facade repair will take place this summer. Also,
needs to be improved and updated so that ministries have a place to flourish. I hope that this renovation will take place this summer. All of these projects will ensure that we have the physical resources to achieve the spiritual and communal goals of the parish.
We’ve also been working to improve the
policies and procedures
of the parish. We have introduced a new Marriage Preparation Handbook, regularizing and updating our wedding preparation program here (you can see it on our webpage). We will also improve our budgeting procedures, and many other behind-the-scenes policies. The goal is more efficiency and transparency. We are working to introduce best practices for parishes so that this parish can better use the resources with which the people of God have entrusted St. Joseph Church.
There is one other exciting part of the vision. Currently there is nowhere in Manhattan that offers
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration
. The Cardinal has wanted perpetual adoration in Manhattan for years now, and the Young Adult Outreach office of the Archdiocese reached out to me about the possibility of hosting it at St. Joseph. I was excited about the possibility. It would bring enormous spiritual fruit to our parish. It has transformed other parishes and would help us grow in the graces Christ wants for us. We can make the Cardinal’s desire a reality. A chapel where at least two people are adoring the Blessed Sacrament every hour of every day would be a spiritual game-changer. The Archdiocese would help us fill the slots — bringing many new people into our parish to worship. St. Joseph has a tradition of being on the cutting edge, and here we would certainly continue to be a unique parish in the city! As a Missionary of Mercy, I would love to see the chapel dedicated to Divine Mercy — a place where people can encounter God’s mercy directly.
Great things are underway at St. Joseph Church! Please keep our parish in your prayers, and continue to support the great things the Holy Spirit has planned for us. Most important are your prayers, but please also consider financially supporting these projects. If you give specifically to the project that most resonates with you, then 100% of your donation will go to that project. Please know of my prayers for you.
May God abundantly bless you this Advent and Christmas Season,
on Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 3:27PM