Pastor's Message Archives

Looking back at the weekly messages of Father Paul Counce, first published in The Carpenter, our weekly Parish Bulletin

Back to Work and Pastoral Planning

Published: August 13, 2017

My dear Parishioners and Friends,

            Thanks to everyone who last week welcomed me back from my brief vacation – I hope this is an in­di­cation that you missed me! It was just a lazy getaway for a priest friend and me: we rented a cottage just north of Asheville, North Carolina, and spent a bit more than a week there. The weather was lovely, the woods quiet, and the food wonderful – whether we were enjoying one of the many restaurants in the area, or cooking for ourselves. We did some read­ing, enjoyed much conversation, went to a couple of movies, napped whenever we wanted to, and just in general took it easy. We both agreed was the kind of vacation we both needed!

Now I’ve returned to the Parish and things will swiftly become busy, I’m sure! Construction workers will be replacing ceilings in the two side chapels of the Cathedral over the next few weeks. We’ve got a holy day of obligation coming up on Tuesday, August 15 (the Solem­nity of the Assumption of Our Lady). A fun bus trip to the WWII Museum in New Orleans will take up all day next Saturday, the 19th. And so forth. We’ll also be ramping up our Parish School of Religion and our RCIA, for catechetical and formation programs are always at the heart of the Church’s work.

On this note, if you are a lay minister of Holy Communion here at the Cathedral, be on the lookout for a message from me: Bishop Muench asks that all Eucharistic ministers undergo periodic re-training, so we will be scheduling this for you within the next few weeks. The diocesan Office of Worship has prepared a DVD to guide us in this, so we will gather to review and discuss its content soon. Oh, and if you are not a minister of Holy Communion but would like to explore the possibility of this ministry here, please telephone or email the Parish Office soon: this will be the perfect time for you to be trained and begin!

Later this month all of the priests of the diocese will be gathering for a daylong update on our ongoing Pastoral Planning activities. As you know, over the past few years a special diocesan Task Force has been guiding efforts to streamline Mass schedules, eliminate duplicate services, provide for better institutional administration, and even reduce the number of territorial parishes for which our priests are responsible. Much has been accomplished, especially in the past year or so, so we expect to hear a comprehensive report on this. We also anticipate that the next steps in the process will be outlined, at least in preliminary form. All of this got started as a result of the well-known “priest shortage,” but one of the most heartening things has been the eagerness of all of our good Catholic people to embrace the changes – even the inconvenient ones! These are necessitated by changing demo­graphics and challenging financial situations, as well as by fewer priests. Please continue to be supportive, especially by sharing your ideas as well as your prayers. Father Trey Nelson, chair of the Pas­toral Plan­ning Task Force, welcomes any and all suggestions: just email him at

                                                Sincerely in the Lord,


                                                 Father Paul


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