Dear Friends in Christ:
You will see a few changes around the parish in the next few months. While we are still experiencing the negative impacts from the flooding of two years ago in regards to decreases in Mass attendance, participation in programs and income, there has been one area where we are experiencing and increase and a happy one at that – babies!!!! The growth in infants and young children in the parish has been wonderful. Infant baptisms have increased over 20% in one year! What a sign of faith, hope and love! This however has put a strain on our facilities. There have been many times when we have not had enough space in the nursery rooms. Another area where we are experiencing recovery and growth is our Youth Formation program. Our numbers are not what they were a few years ago, but we are again seeing positive numbers in our program. When the numbers went down so dramatically after Hurricane Harvey, we were able to move for the first time in decades some of our High School classes to Sunday morning. This proved to be very popular with families. As the numbers recover, we still want to provide high school classes on Sunday morning. To achieve these goals we are doing some re-modeling and shuffling of the schedule.
This summer, we will expand our nursery to include the space that formerly housed our Youth Ministry and Young Adult Ministry offices. This re-model will allow us to double the space for infants and increase the space for toddlers. To accomplish this, we have relocated the offices of most of our Youth Formation staff. The situation is far from ideal for them. Their dedication and sacrifice enables us to serve more children and families. As we are increasing the offerings for High School youth on Sunday morning, we will need more parishioners to volunteer to be catechists! Can you help? In addition to more High School opportunities, we will also be offering Adult Formation at both 9:30 and 11:00 on Sundays in the AV Room. This is so that more parents can also take advantage of growing in their knowledge of the faith at the same time as their kids. Make plans to be part of Adult Formation this fall.
On the topic of changes, we have a big one. Fr. Clark has been appointed Administrator (Pastor) of St. Thomas More Parish in southwest Houston. This is a large parish with a big parochial school. This move shows what we all know; Fr. Clark is a very talented and gifted priest! The fact that Cardinal DiNardo would promote such a young priest to such a big and important parish shows the confidence he has in Fr. Clark. While we all knew that Fr. Clark would not stay here forever, I was hoping that he could stay a little bit longer. But the needs of the Archdiocese come first and they need a fine, energetic and capable priest like Fr. Clark at St. Thomas More. I am confident that he will do a great job there and the people of St. Thomas More will appreciate and love him just as we have here at SJV. We are all thankful for Fr. Clark’s wonderful priestly ministry and his faithful witness to the Lord Jesus and the gospel. We will have a farewell for Fr. Clark on Sunday, June 30.
While we are sad to see Fr. Clark leave us, we can rejoice that we have been blessed with a new assistant, Fr. Richard Hinkley. Fr. Richard most recently was the parochial vicar (assistant) at St. Helen Parish in Pearland. He and Fr. Clark were in seminary together. Two years ago, Fr. Richard was afflicted with cancer and went on a sick leave. Thanks be to God, Fr. Richard has successfully undergone treatment and is now ready to return to parish ministry. I have known Fr. Richard for a few years and I know him to be a prayerful and talented young priest. I am glad he will be with us. I know that he will find in SJV a wonderful home filled with great people who love God and their Catholic Faith. Keep praying for more vocations to the priesthood, religious life and married life!
In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately