Some of you have already heard the news. The Archbishop has named the priest who will become the pastor of Midtown Catholic on July 1st. His name is Fr. Frank Jindra. Yes, in just a few months, you will have to deal with two Fr. Franks. He is from South Omaha and did have a short stay at St. Thomas More as an assistant pastor years ago. I’m sure he will give you more information as he moves in. He is currently the senior associate for parishes in South Omaha, including Ss. Peter & Paul and St. Mary.
On another topic, I am contemplating putting a few trees at STM. The grass has been growing great in front of that rectory after I had that last giant evergreen tree taken out. But since I love trees and want the protection they provide, I’m thinking about putting some columnar trees on the west side of that front lawn. They would eventually give some windbreak now that the other tree is gone and would hopefully be grown enough to be of help as the next door neighbor’s tree gets past its prime. The question is whether to go with white pine or columnar juniper trees. We have some of these white pines on the northeast corner of the church. What does your experience tell you? Let me know.
The main topic I would like you to think about is what I call “growing up.” We all have had different experiences of church and family as we were growing up. One aspect of our faith is keeping holy the Lord’s Day. As a child, I remember working on doing as little work as possible on Sundays. For us, that meant milking cows and feeding animals twice, going to Mass (usually twice), and that was about it. What never dawned on me was how much work my parents had to do to make that impression for us. Mom was cooking like crazy. Dad was chauffeuring us all over. He was also watching out for the emergencies that happened on the farm on a daily basis. In church, Mom was organist/choir director and singer. Dad was singing while keeping track of us, so we weren’t getting into trouble during Mass.
The reason I bring this up has to do with that volunteer “serve here” webpage that you heard about in Fr. Lorig’s March 13th column. Growing up, you might have thought that the parish/church just ran itself. It never has. There have always been a lot of people who worked in the background to make things happen. Many of you are the ones who have been doing that for ages. Thank you for that. But our world is different now. Many other things fill up our time and make volunteering for church seem impossible. You may have noticed that one of them that drives me crazy is the time put into sports. I’m sure you know what I am talking about. But it is not the only thing. Each of us has different situations. Some of you work long hours.
Over these next few months, I ask you to look at how the parish works or doesn’t work and think about what is behind that situation. Most of it might be that we are too busy with everything but God. Lent is a great time to pray about what changes might need to happen in our own lives. Or maybe we need to help in another way. My dad made it possible for Mom to volunteer with the music for church which then helped us do a lot of volunteering. In that way, he helped the church indirectly. I’m sure there is grace involved either way.
Fr. Frank Baumert (not Jindra)