Look around outside. Everywhere, especially because of the record-setting rains, we see new beginnings. Trees that have struggled over years of dryness are springing with new growth. Plants are growing, and, unfortunately, allergy sufferers are suffering.
Newness is what this Easter Season is about. Our Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia! His glorious new life is our new life too through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Listening to the Sunday readings during this Easter Season, we hear about the new life of the early Christians and we are inspired to imitate their courage and faith as they proclaimed Jesus, risen in power, risen in glory, and the new life given to the Church by the Holy Spirit.
Newness is what we are celebrating here at St. Raymond Parish and School, too. Thanks to the generosity of 600 plus parish families in our 2015 capital campaign, we have brought a beautiful new preschool facility and program for our children, a new school office and ministry room to our campus and a new plaza and prayer garden dedicated to our Blessed Mother surrounding our church. This summer we will be moving inside our church to bring some needed improvements there too.
Here is a summary of the improvements we are looking to bring into the church this summer. Firstly, the flooring of the church will be redone. We were thrilled to find a very close match for the stone on the floor in our foyer and our sanctuary. This stone will connect the foyer and the sanctuary down the main aisle. New carpet will be installed on the rest of the interior floor. At the sanctuary under the arch will be a beautiful new mosaic that will cover surface under the statue of Jesus. Below him will be a custom-built reredos, which is a Spanish name for a furnishing made for church sanctuary. The reredos will hold a new, larger tabernacle, will be made of wood with lovely gold-leaf plated carved decorations. It is going to be a lovely center point for our worship space and a fitting home for reserving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The walls of the foyer and church will receive a fresh coat of paint. There will be lighting improvements in the foyer, and in the church each station of the cross will receive its own spotlight. The effect will be a kind of halo of light around the perimeter of the church interior, lighting up the stations, the images of Jesus’ Divine Mercy, Our Lady of Guadalupe and the tabernacle. We will be installing speakers halfway down the church so the people in the back can hear better. All of these improvements we think will compliment what was done previously in the church to make our worship space even more beautiful and prayerful. When the church needs to be closed for these renovations, we will offer Mass in our parish hall.
Other new beginnings have come to our parish bulletin and website. We have a new parish logo on the front of our bulletin which you can see. It has something like a moon encircling the open Word of God and a cross, the sign of our Christian faith. The color is verdant green, like the color of our hills in spring and a reflection of the Irish heritage of our city. The logo also honors our patron saint by identifying him as St. Raymond Penefort – a 13th century Dominican priest who was a confessor to the pope and the first to compile a book of Catholic Church law. He also has the distinction of living to be 100 years old!
Check out our newly renovated parish website. It’s now mobile-friendly! On a computer it comes up fresh and informative. On a smart phone it reformats itself so that you see the information you want without having to manipulate a website formatted for a large screen. We’re working to keep it up-to-date with continual new information about our offerings and parish activities.
Many thanks to you for your support and generosity. Without your support we could not afford to do what we do for you. Many thanks goes also to our dedicated and talented staff, our Pastoral Council, our Facilities Committee and our Finance Council for their part in helping us bring these improvements to St. Raymond. God bless you all!
As always, be assured of my prayers for you.
Fr. Lawrence D’Anjou