Next Monday, May 20th, is Deacon Pat Berigan’s 30th Ordination Anniversary. While we don’t celebrate the 30th anniversary of ordination for priests (just 25th, 40th, 50th & 60th), we do remember the 30th anniversary for Deacons. So we will have a Mass of Thanksgiving next Sunday, May 19th at our 11am Mass. Following Mass, we invite you to join us for refreshments (sandwiches, pizza, cake!) in the school cafeteria. I don’t have to tell you (but I will) how much Deacon Pat & his wife Joan have contributed to our parish of St. Leo’s in the one year they have been active here. Of course you see Deacon Pat assisting the priest at Mass and preaching, but you probably don’t see the many other ways that he and his wife minister here: baptism preparation (& baptizing), visiting the sick & homebound, planning funeral liturgies with family members, meeting with those interested in Catholicism, and so much more. They have been a real help to me as the only priest here and I’m very blessed to have them on our Pastoral Staff. May God bless them in their ministry & continue to bless us through them.
I wanted to let you know in advance of next weekend that we will be having our Catholic Charities Follow-Up Appeal next Saturday & Sunday. In addition to the Catholic Charities Appeal that we had in February which went to several different organizations and ministries which help a wide variety of people, the follow-up appeal is earmarked specifically for a special need in the Diocese at this time. Last year, the Diocese was able to raise over $700,000 from more than 7,000 parishioners in this follow-up appeal, which allowed us to fight the opioid epidemic that has hit Cleveland as it has all over the country. Because of that appeal, Catholic Charities opened a Recovery Center at St. John the Baptist parish in Akron. The funds raised this year will be invested in camper- ships, cabin renovation and adaptive programs to enhance the camp experience of campers with disabilities. Once again we are able to have a $100,000 challenge which doubles any new, increased or additional gifts which support this follow-up appeal. I share this information with you now so that you may prayerfully reflect on if you can help with this appeal next weekend. As always, your continued generosity is appreciated and will not go unrewarded by God for “whatever you do for the least of my brothers or sisters, you do that to me.”
We have received a preliminary design for adding a couple of pillars to our baptismal font to make it a bit more focused as a symbol of the importance of baptism. It will have flowing water which the scriptures speak of frequently to remind us of the ever-flowing grace of God in our lives. It will be simple but an enhanced version of what we presently have. We are also waiting for a design which will convert our unused confessionals in the back of the church into shrines for St. Leo the Great & St. Vincent de Paul. If you’d like to con- tribute (any amount) to these projects, please let me know. It’s a way for us to celebrate this 50th anniversary of our church building.