As I start to write this blog looking back at 2021 here at St Pascal’s it is hard to believe another year is disappearing in the rearview mirror. It has been another strange year, one filled with much hope and continued caution.
Things here at St Pascal’s returned to a more normal look and feel. We are just coming off a Christmas celebration that saw 650 people come in person over our three Masses to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the light of God’s love entering our humanity. It was good to see so many faces and hear our choir of beautiful voices singing praise to God. There have also been 330 views of our live-streamed Christmas Masses on our YouTube channel for those that cannot or did not feel comfortable coming to Mass in person during these confusing times. Our live stream capabilities continue to be a link to our parish family when they cannot come in person and provide the opportunity for families that are out of town to participate in funerals, baptisms, and weddings that are celebrated at St Pascal’s.
We were able to continue adult faith formation opportunities such as an Advent Night of Reflection, Just Faith, Bible Study, Synod small groups, and a two-night virtual parish retreat. Prayer opportunities returned with Lenten Stations of the Cross and Wednesday Rosary.
Sacramental celebrations returned and we celebrated confirmation, baptisms, funerals, weddings, and reconciliation. Last Easter, we returned to celebrating the Triduum with foot washings, Good Friday, and an Easter Vigil liturgy that included two RCIA candidates being received into the Church. Our in-person attendance of Weekend Masses increased and it was so nice to see people we had not seen in a year. The optimism of vaccines and declining COVID infections was wonderful. Unfortunately, this optimism is waning with the Delta and Omicron variants and we have seen fewer people attending Mass in person.
Fr John and I have been able to continue to celebrate school Masses in person with the school children and that continues to be a wonderful time with the children and a blessing for me. We are doing most of the responses during Mass using sign language.
The staff here at St Pascal’s has been running lean for the last few years and has worked hard to adapt to each new challenge and minister to our parish. I am very proud of them and offer a big THANK YOU to them.
More social events returned at St Pascal’s, hospitality weekend, fish fries, bingo, spaghetti dinner, and parish picnic. It is good to see people connecting and enjoying each other's company. We celebrated 75 years as a parish and Fr John’s 25 years of priesthood.
We started some new efforts last year to serve the community around us. A collaboration with Progressive Baptist Church’s food shelf sees St Pascal’s parishioners heading over to Progressive to help pack and distribute food. Our involvement with Beacon Housing is growing and providing a voice from St Pascal’s in promoting legislative change. We hosted a National Night Out at St Pascal's to help us connect to our neighbors. These efforts are on top of our existing efforts to help our community, thank you!
I would say that coming off 2020, that 2021 has been a good year for our community and we can be uplifted by what we were able to do and be optimistic for the coming year.
So what about 2022? I believe that we will continue to worship in person and live stream and I am hopeful that we can continue to get back to more normal ways. There are plans for more adult formation, service, and social events. We have a few more opportunities in the works for St Pascal’s to be the serving arms and feet of Christ to our neighbors. I am excited and optimistic for a good year ahead.
Eternal God, You gave us the greatest gift: the gift of life.
In the coming year, help us use it wisely.
May we grow in generosity, kindness and forgiveness, hope, faith and love.
— Rabbi Evan Moffic
Peace, Love, and Blessings for 2022