Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, March 30

Last weekend we held our annual Pledge Renewal Commitment Sunday. It was a great success. Many thanks to our witness speakers and to all who filled out a commitment card! If you have not already done so then I encourage you to please fill out a commitment card. They are located in the blue folders in the pews. THANK YOU!

This weekend at St. Ausitin is the Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) retreat for the ladies of the parish. Over two dozen women will be participating in this as retreatants, and at least as many again in putting on this intensive spiritual experience. It is a great blessing for all the ladies involved, both giving and receiving.

Next weekend is a crucial one for our parish school, as it is GRAND TOUR on Saturday. This is the largest fund raiser of the year for the school, when students ride their bikes on the Velloway. Family and friends pledge a certain amount for every mile ridden, and the event raises over $90,000!

And then we are into Holy Week and all the wonderful activities that brings! With all the activity around here you might not notice that our attendance has not quite kept up with previous years. It seems from the figures we have been tracking that attendance at Masses and activities such the Lenten Stations of the Cross and Soup Suppers, the Advent and Lenten Communal Penance Services, and just in general, is down almost 10%. Religious Education attendance, however, is up!

Since Austin is growing, one would normally assume that we, as a parish, should be growing too. Perhaps the continuing increase of traffic and downtown disruptions (races, events, etc.) has something to do with our diminished attendance. Perhaps people are just not going to church as much as they used to. Perhaps we are not doing something right. The parish staff and parish council will be studying the figures to see if we can notice some sort of trend or pattern. If you have ideas or suggestions, you can pass them on to one of the staff or the parish council members. I believe we have something very good and special here in St. Austin’s parish community. I encourage you to not keep this to yourself, but invite others to join us as well. As we saw in the witness talks last weekend, many good things happen here. But we need to reach out and let others know about it, and invite them to taste and see!

God bless!

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