ISJ Essay: Building a Tiny Home on the Lakota Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota

A group of seven volunteers from St. Ignatius Loyola joined 17 others in Wave 5 of the National Y Service project to the Cheyenne River Reservation in Dupree, South Dakota. It is here on the YMCA Council of the Seven Fires site where these much-needed four tiny homes will be built.

No special skills are needed to construct these SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) tiny homes. Under the direction of the Y Volunteer Construction manager, George Painter, from Lake George, New York, the panels were caulked, aligned, and nailed in place by 24 volunteers from around the United States. Some of us stayed in a bunkhouse on the Y site, and others stayed in a motel about 20 minutes from the site. Workdays began around 9 AM and lasted until 4:30 PM, with a lunch break from Noon-1 PM. The first day on-site, we were welcomed with snow and a fierce wind. Undaunted by the weather, everyone kicked into gear to begin the task of unloading panels from the container storage onto the foundations of the tiny homes not yet built.

The rest of the week was warmer yet windy, and work was paused during high-wind afternoons. We visited Camp Marrowbone, the YMCA camp about 45 minutes from Dupree, and then off to the Four Bands Community Council, where Alysa and Lakota explained how infrastructure works on the Reservation. They both went away to college and came back to the reservation to help their community. Alysa has an MSW, and Lakota has an MBA, and they help people obtain mortgages to build or buy homes on the Reservation.

Before dinner one evening, we had a visit from Dana Dupris, a Lakota elder. Dana is the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Cultural Preservation Officer, and he shared his story with us.

Dana persevered through difficult years of acculturation by the U.S. government and church-run schools by the grace of his deep spirituality and his resilient core that propelled him to stay centered and not become an angry man. The Lakota are resilient. There is no room to be angry; that is not productive in their eyes. Their culture and spirituality remain alive and well.

Volunteers from St. Ignatius look back on their experiences on the Reservation. Regan Orillac reflected, “The leadership of the YMCA of the Seven Councils and this National Service Project were so passionate and dedicated. The people we were introduced to on the reservation were incredibly inspirational, from a Lakota Elder laying bare the historical challenges of growing up Lakota, to a group of young women working to bring economic opportunities to the native population. And, lastly, the people who joined us as volunteers for the week were some of the most interesting, generous, and kind people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken this trip. I found it incredible that Dana did not retain anger over his boarding school years. In fact, his sense of humor and his gentle way of speaking quieted the room and drew us to him,” said Maureen Haley.

Rick Scott added, “I came away with a new perspective on a few things: the vastness of South Dakota plains, the incredible work the YMCA does, and the challenges faced by the Lakota people. I felt embarrassment and shame for the behavior of our forbearers as it relates to the Native Americans. But in seeing the work of Andy and his staff, along with the women at Four Bands, I found reasons to be hopeful that life in Dupree will improve. And I came away proud of the work we did. It was quality work for a good cause. “

Xiomara Larios reflected on the trip’s highlights, “There were many, but the brightest highlight for me was the presentation at the Four Bands Council. Those two young, intelligent, eloquent women left me with tremendous hope for the people of the Cheyenne River reservation. It happened to follow a truly sad conversation with Sasha, whose struggles and pain are a product of the harsh life and limited opportunity for the young people of Dupree. Crazy Horse was both a learning and heartbreaking experience. Seeing that awe-inspiring memorial and the portraits of all those fearless dignified warriors was powerful. It gave context to all that Dana had shared with us about the Lakota people’s values. It shamed and humbled me.”

The young adult in our group, Dylan Freeman, said, “I learned a lot about Lakota culture and spirituality while also learning how to put up walls in the construction of a Tiny Home. The best memory of the trip was seeing that last wall panel slide into place, solidifying our trip as a success and a great starting point for future service trips to the Cheyenne River Reservation.”

Philip Anderson had a profound experience on this service trip and shares his longer reflection with us. “My father was a dedicated volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, so when I heard about the National Y service trip to South Dakota to help build tiny homes, it did not take me long to decide to go. This seemed like a way to pay tribute to him. Even though my mother has often said, ‘Philip doesn’t know one end of the hammer from the other.’ I did not let that stop me. And, on this trip, I learned how to use a nail gun!”

When I was 12 years old, South Dakota was the most memorable stop on a cross-country camping trip. This time, I wanted to learn about the Native Americans who live there, the Lakota. We met several Native Americans in Dupree and Eagle Butte who are working to help keep their culture and language alive and helping their people survive and hopefully thrive.

A tribal elder named Dana spoke to us at length about his personal experience of being taken from his family when he was a young boy. He was sent to a boarding school where the teachers tried to strip the children of their culture and language in an effort to make them “American.” Yet, he seemed to hold no particular feeling of anger or remorse. We were all struck by that fact. When asked why he is not angry, he simply said, “What is the point of being angry?”

It was inspiring to work with people aged 17 to 77 and realize that we can work together and get along with each other. There were some hardships, of course, but I will remember the benefits and cherish these memories for many years. Helping others, making new friends, seeing a new place, and learning about another culture and way of life will remain a highlight in my life journey.”

If you would like to donate to the Y National Tiny Home Service Project, visit https://national-service-project.constantcontactsites.com/giving.

— Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate

Ignatian Social Justice: Refugee Prayer Service

On a chilly November evening, around 40 people braved the weather to attend the Refugee Prayer Service in the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. This prayer service was a collaborative effort by Ignatian Social Justice, St. Vincent de Paul, and Interfaith Ministries to ask neighboring clergy, faith leaders, and community leaders to come together in story and prayer.

The pastor, Rev. Dennis Yesalonia, S.J., welcomed all to the church for an evening of prayer and reflection. Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate for Ignatian Social Justice, offered opening remarks and a prayer by Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Melina Gonzalez, Community Engagement Manager/Immigration Services, Little Sisters of the Assumption, East Harlem, began with her own story as an immigrant from Mexico. Melina’s story and prayer in her native tongue of Spanish were heartwarming and inspirational. Meditative music inspired and improvised from each speaker’s talk was played on piano by Bobby Reuter, Associate Director of Music and Technical & Logistics Coordinator at St. Ignatius Loyola.

Then, Kaji Dousa, Senior Pastor from Park Avenue Christian Church, gave a spirited and engaging theological reflection and prayer in a Baptist tradition. Venerable Chang-Hwa Shih, and a Buddhist sister from the Chan Meditation Center in Queens, performed a beautiful chanting prayer. Emre Celik, Executive Director of Peace Islands Institute, gave a reflection from the viewpoint of his religion, Islam. Our final speaker was Fr. Julian Jagudilla, OFM, St. Francis of Assisi, Director of Migrant Center, who offered his reflection through the lens of St. Francis of Assisi.

The speakers’ stories and prayers, along with the meditative music, transcended throughout this sacred space. And as Rev. Mark Hallinan, S.J., closed the eveningwith a prayer, we were left with a peaceful and hopeful outcome.

— Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate

Ignatian Social Justice: Viewing of “The Letter”

The premier New York City viewing of the film, The Letter, was shown in Wallace Hall on Sunday, November 13th. It was sponsored by Metro New York Catholic Climate Movement, hosted by St. Ignatius Loyola, and was an inspiring event for those who attended. Rev. Brian McWeeney—Director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of New York—offered the Invocation, and Rev. Mark Hallinan, S.J., Associate Pastor at St. Ignatius Loyola, offered the closing prayer.

In 2015, Pope Francis wrote about the environmental crisis to every single person in the world. Many people still have not “heard” about Care of Our Common Home, yet four voices that had gone unheard in global conversations were invited by letter to an unprecedented dialogue with the Pope. Hailing from Senegal, the Amazon, India, and Hawaii, they bring perspective and solutions from the poor, the indigenous, the youth, and wildlife into a conversation with Pope Francis himself and now to our wider global society.

After the film, participants dispersed into smaller round table discussions facilitated by Erin Lothes, Ph.D., an associate professor of theology at Saint Elizabeth University and senior manager with the Laudato Si Movement. Participants at each table discussed what was meaningful in the movie and what next steps we, as Catholics, can take to care for our common home.

If you missed our screening, you can view this film at home on YouTube by clicking here.

— Jean Santopatre, Pastoral Associate

November 6, 2022 Essay: One Family in One God

Any religious intolerance or prejudice is contrary to Christian belief. How tragic it is that we have to state what should be an obvious truth, but a rising tide of anti-Jewish rhetoric and incidents in the United States, along with continued animosity toward Muslims, requires that all Christians be reminded that religious prejudice is antithetical to their faith.

The Anti-Defamation League reports that antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States in 2021, with a total of 2,717 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism reported to them. This ought not to surprise us given the traffic in antisemitic tropes on social media sites and the willingness of certain politicians and public figures to use such tropes in social media and public events. In addition, we have seen a number of demonstrations in different parts of the country where persons have carried Nazi flags. All of these incidents must be considered in the context of the murder of 11 Jewish persons in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. Antisemitism is a reality in the United States. All persons of faith must be unequivocal in rejecting any form of antisemitic, anti-Jewish, rhetoric or action, and never downplay its significance. To remain silent is to be complicit. This is the lasting lesson we learned from the Holocaust.

All of our recent Popes, drawing upon the work of the Second Vatican Council, have encouraged inter-religious dialogue and affirmed the importance of the freedom of religious belief. In his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis writes: “One fundamental human right must not be forgotten in the journey toward fraternity and peace. It is religious freedom for believers of all religions. That freedom proclaims that we can ‘build harmony and understanding between different cultures and religions. It also testifies to the fact that, since the important things we share are so many, it is possible to find a means of serene, ordered, and peaceful coexistence, accepting our differences and rejoicing that, as children of one God, we are all brothers and sisters.’” [279]

Pope Francis has also addressed the need for continuing dialogue between Jews and Christians. “In our turbulent times, it is critical that Jews and Christians encounter one another more frequently and work together in an effort to counter certain negative trends found in our western societies: idolatry of self and money, extreme individualism and the culture of indifference…We are called to bear witness together to the God of mercy and justice, who loves and cares for all persons. We can do this by drawing upon the spiritual patrimony that we in part share…”

While Pope Francis has generated controversy for his willingness to sign interfaith statements with Muslim leaders, we should not forget the words of St. John Paul II, speaking to young Muslims in Morocco in 1985: “I believe that we, Christians and Muslims, must recognize with joy the religious values that we have in common, and give thanks to God for them. Both of us believe in one God, the only God, who is all justice and all mercy; we believe in the importance of prayer, of fasting, of almsgiving, of repentance and pardon; we believe that God will be a merciful judge to us all at the end of time…”

All of us need to prayerfully reflect on our attitudes toward Jews, Muslims, and all persons whose path to God is different from our own. Have we been open to them in love as our faith demands of us? Have we stood in solidarity with our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters when they have been the object of hateful rhetoric or violent action? The only path to peace is through mutual respect and dialogue between all peoples. Let us all follow that path faithfully.

— Fr. Mark Hallinan, S.J., Associate Pastor

Greeting Migrants Arrivals With Team TLC NYC

Picture this, if you will. You are part of a team of four volunteers, ready to welcome new migrants to NYC. You stand near a doorway in Port Authority, all set to offer hand sanitizers to new migrants who have just finished a 3-day bus trip from Texas. Another volunteer has a bag of small stuffed animals ready to give to the children. The last two volunteers have bottles of water for the weary, thirsty travelers. The first migrants walk through the door. We applaud them, cry out “Bienvenidos”, and smile. They look surprised, glad to feel welcomed, and smile at us.

On Tuesday, Nicole Niedringhaus, Christine Meyer, Rob & Katherine Huntington, and I did exactly that. We had signed up with Team TLC NYC, which joins the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) for the early morning greeting shift at Port Authority. On arrival, we sorted bags and bags of clothes and shoes into piles the migrants could look through and take. However, before we had finished sorting, MOIA called us back to the main area to welcome the new arrivals. We were honored to witness people, who desperately want to live with dignity, begin another leg in their long journey.

When they were all off the bus, we offered them donuts while MOIA had them fill out forms. There is nothing like sugar when you’re tired. Then the fun and the serious work began. MOIA called one family at a time over to the clothes. The families were wearing summer clothes, many with flip-flops. We had warm clothes and shoes. The children enjoyed the clothes and had a little fun. One little boy was so happy that he hugged me. After an hour, Rob saw that we were running out of men’s clothing and went home to get some.

When the 53 people had one or two items of warm clothes, MOIA moved them along. They waved goodbye to us, and we wished them well. There was time for the next shift of volunteers to prepare for the next busload of people. There weren’t a lot of clothes for the next three buses expected that day.

If you would like to donate clothing to Team TLC NYC, please visit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-2v9l6JFhd81Yd1VkEnEB6g7AeyXI77oOAtjTS_7Nt0/edit.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact Laura de Boisblanc at [email protected].

— Laura de Boisblanc

ISJ Essay: ISJ-LSA College Essay Mentoring Program

In mid-September, the ISJ-LSA College Essay Mentoring Program held its first quarterly meeting. Melina Gonzalez, Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) Community Engagement Manager, kicked off the meeting on an upbeat note. She plans a celebration in late May 2023 once the students have been accepted to college!

The students and parents expressed gratitude to LSA and ISJ for helping them with the college process. It is daunting. The mentors spoke about how much they enjoyed working with the students. In addition to college guidance, some mentors took their students to the Whitney, the Met, and the Guggenheim. Laura Silvius, mentor, took her student and her family to a performance of Macbeth. Another mentor, Christine Meyer, bought her student an SAT review book and always tells her not to stress out. One mom mentioned that her daughter was lukewarm about going to college, but now that she’s been working with Dolores Troy-Quinn and Terry Quinn, the student is looking forward to it. Nick Naccari and Fran Magenheimer’s student said that they helped her grow. Nick admires her for her perseverance, her joy for learning, taking the initiative, planning ahead, and reviewing what she has done. He also loved meeting her family.

Melina focused the students on their college timeline and gave them a list of tasks due within the week. After telling the students to ask their teachers for recommendations now, ISJ mentor and college professor, Terry Quinn emphasized making it easy for the teacher. Ask them early and write a draft of your assets. It’s always good to get specific direction from a teacher!

Melina advised parents about finances. File their 2022 taxes in January, allowing them to enter tax information into FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as early as possible. Melina also warned them that colleges increase tuition each year. To get an idea of the actual cost of college, ask them for the tuition cost for each of the last four years and interpolate. Laura de Boisblanc told students to prepare a portfolio of their accomplishments. If the college’s financial aid package isn’t where they want it to be, use their performance to negotiate with the college. This is good practice for when they are in the work world.

Because this is a new program, we discussed how it is going. Everyone is happy with the direction we are taking. There are a few areas to tweak. Communication with students is sometimes an issue. Over the summer, the number of mentor/student sessions varied from 2 times for one pair to 16 times for another. The student who could only meet twice has significant family and academic responsibilities. She even skipped a class at Hunter to come to this meeting. Bobbi and Herb Gestalder and Melina are working together to provide the extra support that this student needs.

At the end of the meeting, Melina gave each student a backpack and an Amazon gift card for school supplies.

Questions or comments, contact Laura de Boisblanc [email protected].

September 24, 2022 Essay: The Mystical Experience

What is mysticism? What constitutes a mystic or a mystical experience? I have been trying to understand this better as I prepare for the Ignatian Interfaith event on October 6th. I certainly am no expert—so I have “Googled it”, read a little, and even asked a few friends and family. My husband, Kevin, says we need look no further than our mysteriously overcrowded bedroom closet for a perfect example, because “we literally don’t know what’s really in there!”

While this lack of knowledge is certainly true, entering our closet is most definitely NOT a mystical experience. It seems there are two sorts of mysticism: one that appears to be esoteric and shrouded in mystery. Looking at mysticism from this lens, there is a good deal of emphasis on “secret knowledge” that supposedly can be uncovered through things like astrology, crystals, and tarot cards. I have never been drawn to this world—it seems too close to the Biblical exhortation against “divination.” On the other hand, mysticism also can be interpreted as the search for and experience of union with the Divine. Christianity, Judaism and Islam, in fact all major world religions, have their mystical practitioners. Some Catholic mystics have had ecstatic experiences and while others’ are quieter. This experience is a gift and cannot be created or conjured. It is also beyond knowing—a bit like a miracle—hard to explain but you know it when you have had one. It is not something you can prove or easily explain, but once you try to describe it, odds are that others will smile and share their own inexplicable experience. These incidents, however, give you a sense that you know, beyond all knowing that God is here, and you are deeply loved by God. It is a little glimpse into the joy of being united with God—a sort of view of Heaven on earth.

Fr. Yesalonia’s September 11th bulletin essay, Merely a Puddle or Something More?, touched on this as he watched a child’s joy at a puddle. These glimpses come in grand moments—like when we hear our fabulous Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola sing at the Solemn Mass, or the joy of singing gospel music with the Wallace Hall Choir. But it can also be in quiet moments—watching a sunset or going to sacred spaces, like the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the timeless peace of Assisi at dusk or the crisp air and beautiful foliage on a Fall New England day.

The mystical can also breakthrough in the presence of others—that family gathering where there is so much joy at being together or maybe even a smile or word or two from a stranger on the subway. Something just “clicks”, and you think—wait, what just happened here? I like to think of these mystical experiences as being mini miracles. Since God is the God of All, we are not alone in experiencing them as Catholic Christians. I hope you will join me in learning more about the mystics in our Catholic and the Muslim faith traditions on Thursday, October 6th in Wallace Hall. We will be welcoming Fr. Boniface Endorf, OP, Pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, and Dr. Zuleyha Colak, Lecturer and the Coordinator of the Turkish program at Columbia University to help us demystify the mystics. Please RSVP to [email protected]. In the meantime, be on the lookout for the mystical experiences in your own life!

— Simone McKeever, Chair, Ignatian Interfaith Ministry

September 18, 2022: From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

We live in a very exciting time as the universal Church prepares for the convening in Rome of the “Synod on Synodality: Communion, Participation, Mission” in October 2023. The bishops of the world, along with lay colleagues, will meet to discuss the nature of the church as a collaborative body and how we walk together – bishops, priests, religious, and laypeople – united in our desire to care for the Catholic Church and those whom the church serves. More than an issue of governance in the church, the invitation of Pope Francis is to discern who we are as a church and how best we can accomplish the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ in the context of today’s world.

The discernment process in preparation for the Synod was begun on the diocesan level. Each diocese was invited to submit to the Vatican a report of what it learned through listening to the voices of those who participated in the process. Those reports will become the foci of deliberations in next year’s General Assembly in Rome.

While not a constitutive part of the discernment process for the Synod, we undertook a similar journey in 2019 that resulted in the drafting of a Vision Statement that was published and distributed to all parishioners in February of this year. Similar to what was happening at the diocesan level, listening sessions were held in the Spring, providing everyone the opportunity to offer their reflections on the Vision Statement. Following those sessions, I was delighted to report that a significant majority of parishioners endorsed the Vision Statement and its corresponding recommendations for its implementation.

At the beginning of the summer, I wrote in a letter published in the parish bulletin and e-newsletter asking for your prayers as we continue our planning process and that you consider participating in one of four working groups to draft action plans that would set the course for the implementation of the Vision Statement. To refresh your memory, the four strategic elements of the Vision Statement are: 1. We Welcome All. 2. We Worship With Joy. 3. We Walk Together With Those In Need. 4. We Reverence God In The Wonder of Creation. For the full text of the Vision Statement and its corresponding recommendations, refer to the parish website ignatius.nyc/vision-statement.

 Now it is time to get to work and bring our strategic planning process to fruition so we may begin to live what we profess to be, as members of this parish. Please contact me by email, [email protected], or telephone at 212-288-3588 to discuss with me your willingness to serve on one of the four implementation committees.

May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us as we work together as a parish to build the kingdom of God in our corner of the world, and may all that we do now and in the future redound to the greater glory of God.

Sincerely in the Lord,

Fr. Yesalonia

September 18, 2022 Essay: “Do whatever he tells you”: Reflections on Meeting Christ in Prayer

Upon entering the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, we see a stained-glass depiction of St. Ignatius. He holds a book with the inscription Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, “For the Greater Glory of God.” This is Ignatius’ bedrock advice on how we should live our lives as Christians. But how do we grasp the mission that God intends for each of us individually? How do we figure out our unique personal skills to accomplish our mission?

Recently, I came across a Brazilian devotion to Our Lady of Cana. In John’s Gospel, Jesus begins his public ministry at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1–11). Knowing that her son can resolve the dilemma of not having wine for the guests, Mary turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever he tells you.” The servants listen and follow Jesus’s instructions, sharing with all the guests a plentiful quantity of wine that is miraculously drawn from the water jugs. Reflecting on Mary’s place in the story, she is the one who recognizes the nature of Jesus most profoundly. Indeed, she nurtured him and brought him to maturity as one fully human. To hear her command is to realize that in Jesus we encounter a loving God who understands our humanity. We can trust God to reveal a plan for our lives. The challenge for disciples in today’s world is to find the voice of Jesus as it speaks to each one of us.

In Ignatius, we have a mystical instructor who teaches us to hear God’s voice. He shows us a Jesus who is at once a relatable human person and a loving God always available to us. Ignatius gives us a roadmap for this task in his Spiritual Exercises. Meeting Christ in Prayer is an abbreviated form of the Exercises for contemporary Christians living out their lives in the world and confronting its challenges. It aims to foster an encounter with God through scriptural contemplation and prayer.

The discernment that the Exercises facilitate—the quest to hear God’s voice speaking to each one individually—relies on Ignatian spiritual techniques. Using the Church’s ancient prayer method of Lectio Divina, holy reading, we read a scriptural passage and then pause and reflect. What is this reading saying on its face? We read again and pause and reflect. What is God saying to me personally in this reading? A third time. What do I want to say to God?

Ignatius was a promoter of imaginative prayer, picturing ourselves in a scriptural scene. If I quietly reflect on the wedding at Cana, which character in the story would I be? Would I be an observer or play an active role? What would I say or do? Would I speak directly to Jesus, and would he address me? Do I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me in the way this imagining unfolds? Do I hear God’s voice in this?

A prayer unique to Ignatian spirituality is the Examen. Similar to the reflections before confession, we ask ourselves at the end of the day, what did I do today that was good? Did I hear God? How might I have failed to listen to God? Did I find God in other people? Did I advance God’s glory?

Meeting Christ in Prayer meets as a small, trusting group and participants share experiences and inspirations with each other. Many times, I have been profoundly moved by the reflections of others, hearing spiritual insights that I would never have uncovered alone. I recall the passage, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20). I believe I have heard the Holy Spirit speaking to me through other retreatants.

If you are interested in participating in Meeting Christ in Prayer, consider tasting the wine of God’s abundant banquet.

For further information and to register for the retreat starting September 28th, please email [email protected].

— Andy Richards, Parishioner & Meeting Christ in Prayer Participant

September 11, 2022 | From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Now that the Labor Day weekend is behind us, the pulse of parish life is beginning to pick up. We will be at full throttle in no time.

It is wonderful to experience once again the enthusiasm, vitality, and commitment that each of us brings to the parish as we worship and pray together, care for one another and those who are less advantaged, and work side by side to make a difference in our community and the world so that the glory of God is made manifest by living what we profess in faith. To everyone who had the opportunity to leave the City for the summer months, welcome back! To those who remained to enjoy all that the City offers on both sultry and more temperate days, I hope you found time for revelry and relaxation. And to our Saint Ignatius Loyola School students, we look forward to your return to classes and the exuberance and energy that you bring with you.

Now let me bring you up to date with news of what occurred at the parish during the summer months. For the most part it was a beehive of activity involving renovations, repairs, transitions of parish staff, and planning for our upcoming calendar of events for the remainder of the calendar year and the first six months of 2023. Also, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the very hard-working priests of the parish who throughout the summer presided at weekday and weekend Masses, weddings, baptisms, and funerals, heard confessions, and attended to the pastoral care of parishioners. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for their good deeds done, dedication, and commitment to their priestly ministry.

At long last we were able to get the appropriate scaffolding inside the church to restore power to one of the two amplifiers and to change the flickering high intensity light bulbs that illuminate the pilasters of the upper section of the nave. At the Parish House, the receptionist’s office on the ground floor was gutted and remodeled. In the next several weeks an awning will be constructed over the front door, and the front door itself will be replaced, bringing more natural lighting into the interior entryway.

In Wallace Hall, an additional amplifier was installed that will fill in the “dead spaces.” Also, there are now acoustical fixtures suspended from the ceiling that will ameliorate the echo effect that was problematic during the livestreaming of events. The new livestreaming system is now fully operational and is complemented by two large portable screens that will project clearer and larger images.

At the Upper Campus of the grammar school, a handicap access ramp was constructed at the entrance to the school. At the Lower Campus, there was an extensive upgrade to the kitchen that for the first time in the history of the use of that building will allow for the preparation of meals on-site. There were also IT upgrades at both campuses.

In regard to the grammar school, a feasibility study will be conducted during the Fall to review both the cost and the financing options, including a limited fundraising campaign, for the replacement of the elevator at the Lower Campus and the refurbishment or replacement of building’s roof of the Upper Campus. This study will be reviewed with the Parish Finance Committee to determine the course of action to be taken.

Finally, there were several transitions during the summer. After 30 years’ at the parish, most recently as principal Cantor, Philip Anderson retired. Also after 30 years of service, most recently as Director of the Children’s Choir, Maureen Haley retired. Replacing her as Director of the Children’s Choir is Elizabeth van Os. We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth to the team. After one year of ministry at the parish, Father Danny Gustafson left us in July to return to graduate studies at Boston College. We are grateful for the short time he was with us and wish him well. Last month we welcomed Father Jim Casciotti, S.J. who will be in residence at the Parish House. You will periodically be seeing him as a presider at Mass. Closer to home in the Pastor’s office, after 17 years as Assistant to the Pastor, Diane Boyle retired. She had the stamina and patience to work with 3 Pastors and 1 Acting Pastor. All of us owe her a great debt of gratitude for helping to keep the trains running on time and in an orderly fashion. Diane will be greatly missed. Replacing her as Assistant to the Pastor is Rebecca Brucas whom you may know from her former responsibilities as the Parish Receptionist. That role is now in the very capable and gracious hands of Pat Reeves. As an aside to these transitions, I was appointed to another 6-year term as Pastor that became effective on June 1st.

Please stay tuned for next week’s bulletin. A letter from me will be published that will explain the next and final step of the planning process that began in 2019. We are on the threshold of a new chapter in the history of the parish. Working together we will build upon the strong foundation of this parish and honor the legacy of those who preceded us in their love and commitment to the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. May all that we do be for the greater glory of God!

Welcome back! Welcome home!

Sincerely in the Lord,
Fr. Yesalonia