Reflecting on: Phase I Shortfall Elimination
By Marilyn Fullmer
As we embark on the Phase II projects at St. Pius X, I find myself reflection upon and considering what my late husband, Ernie, would like me to say to our parish.
Ernie was a businessman and understandably knew the benefits of eliminating debt. In our case, as a parish, we’re working toward eliminating debt from Phase I. Ernie passed away in 2010, but had been a parishioner since 1973. One of his (many!) favorite sayings was, “Spread your bread on the water and it will come back to you.” His life was a testament to that.
When Ernie’s first wife, Albina, died, his family donated pews in “the new church” in her memory. Ernie and I were married in “the old church” in 1980; and, I believe ours was the last wedding there before the new church was dedicated that year.
Many of us older parishioners have watched our members step up to the plate over the years as we witness our beautiful parish campus expand to accommodate our growing needs.
Among these needs is the top priority of eliminating our debt.
We have much to be proud of and much to look forward to at this time in our parish history. Please join me in celebrating the official kick-off of our Through Him, With Him, In Him capital campaign.
Reflecting on: Church Sanctuary Improvements
By John Brewer
One of the few fortunate aspects of business travel is the opportunity to experience the Mass in a wide range of churches throughout the world. On a trip to Paris 15 years ago I attended 9 a.m. Mass at the Church of the Madeleine near the Tuileries Garden, instead of trekking with the tourist masses to Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur. To this day I have vivid memories of that Sunday morning. Behind the altar, the white marble sculpture of Mary Magdalene being lifted by angels was illuminated by sunlight streaming down through the half-dome over the sanctuary. In a church adorned with beautiful frescoes rich in color, the glowing white image of Mary Magdalene radiated warmth, creating a sense of intimacy while seizing my attention from the frescoes. The sanctuary dominated an otherwise visually stunning church.
Pope Paul VI once called the Mass “the perfect form of prayer.” The environment of St. Pius X Church is a critical piece of creating the perfection of our worship each time we participate in the Mass. There is no better example of this at St. Pius X than the Easter Vigil Mass. As the congregation processes into the church behind the new Paschal Candle, the sanctuary glows as the lighting over the pews is dimmed. It’s impossible to not focus on the sanctuary as we enter the church. It’s impossible not to be absorbed by the intimacy created by the warmth radiating from the sanctuary on that special night.
Then central theme of refurbishing the church as part of the Through Him, With Him, In Him capital campaign is to remake the sanctuary so that we are absorbed in the intimacy of its warm glow for each Mass the way we are at the Easter Vigil. By painting the wall behind the sanctuary white, the sanctuary glows with sunlight streaming from above. Combined with our current altar and new white stone flooring, the sanctuary becomes the dominating visual focus of our church. Relocating the tabernacle in the sanctuary behind the altar repositions appropriately in the center of our focus. While the physical presence of the current sanctuary is hard to deny, its dark coloring diminishes the glowing warmth that should be felt by all as we come together to “pray perfectly” as a parish.
Refurbishing the wall behind the sanctuary also enables an exciting new option for the crucifix. Our current artistic crucifix presents a significant challenge each Easter Triduum. Removing the rather large crucifix on Holy Friday is a relatively difficult and awkward task, risking damage to the crucifix as well as the altar when it is removed or once again suspended. The updated sanctuary features a stationary cross on the center panel of the sanctuary wall. During most of the year the corpus hangs on the cross. However, during the Easter Season we have the option of placing the Resurrection Jesus on the cross as a dramatic reminder of Christ’s triumph over death.
Carol and I have been members of St. Pius X for nearly 24 years. We’ve raised our family in our current church, our three children receiving multiple sacraments as well as graduating from elementary school there. We’ve celebrated the lives of friends and parishioners in our current church. Change is never easy; sometimes one wonders whether change is worth the effort and expense. But my memories of that special Sunday at the Church of the Madeleine convince me that, in this case, redesigning the sanctuary can bring great value to our celebration of the “perfect prayer” that is the Mass. God invites us into the warmth and intimacy of His Presence during the Mass. Wouldn’t it be great to physically experience that energy every time we enter St. Pius X Church?
Reflecting on: Education Center East Wing Addition
By Andrea Laidlaw and Pat Lautenbach
When our son was ready to start kindergarten five years ago, the school had no room. However, the planned education center expansion by those before us made room for him and many other children. We have been blessed to find a home in this amazing Catholic community because of the love and generosity of those who have come before us and those who were committed to the education center expansion.
We are active members of St. Pius X. Andrea serves as a catechist teaching sacramental preparation, and Pat is a Cub Scout leader and St. Pius X School volunteer. The parish community is a large part of our family’s life.
In Matthew 28:19-20 we are commissioned to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” As we embark on the Through Him, With Him, In Him capital campaign, we find ourselves with the opportunity to live this commandment in a bold way. The third campaign goal focuses on the expansion of the education center, giving us the necessary space to follow through with this commandment and offer a Catholic education to our ever-growing enrollment. Another wonderful byproduct of the expansion is a much needed space for the more than 450 preschool through fifth-grade Faith Formation students.
When we prayed and discussed our campaign gift as a family, we realized our initial three-year pledge was not the most we could give.
An expansion to our education center will benefit our family and hundreds of families who will follow.
The project is bigger than a new classroom or a fresh coat of paint. It’s about answering a call to provide a space to teach others about the love Jesus has for us all. We are truly blessed to need more space.
We pray that you will join us in making a pledge to our campaign.
Reflection on: Youth Center Improvements
By Melanie Kerger
Three years ago as a freshman in high school, I went through the process of confirmation and started attending youth nights regularly. The environment was welcoming and the people were friendly. I decided to attend the NW Steubenville Youth Conference that summer and it was there that I discovered my personal relationship with God.
Since this experience, I have grown in my faith and become very involved in youth ministry. I have been on the leadership team for three years and interned for Kristin Mombert, our high school youth minister, for two years. If it were not for the youth ministry program at St. Pius X, I would have never found my passion for helping others to deepen their relationship with God.
I believe renovations to the youth center are necessary in continuing to grow our youth ministry program. It is here that we give teens the tools to go out into the world and spread God’s word, as well as maintain their faith throughout college and into adulthood. If we could make the space even more inviting, we will be able to provide a safe, comfortable place for teenagers to hang out and learn about Jesus.
We have accomplished so much as a community and I am extremely proud to call St. Pius X my second home. Please help us to further expand our parish through this campaign and to grow in our faith lives, as well.