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    REGISTERING IN THE PARISH...WHY?:  Many people who regularly attend a given parish for Mass do not register as parishioners.  There are many reasons for this. Single people might feel that they are not settled yet, and so, see no need to make this form of "commitment."  Others come from countries where this is not the practice.  Still others fear receiving junk mail, or are concerned that others might be privy to their weekly contributions and judged on this information.
    BENEFITS: There are, however, some important benefits to registration.  First, when someone is asked to be a godparent for someone to be baptized, or a sponsor for someone to be confirmed, registration gives the parish an immediate record that the potential godparent is an active Catholic who at least regularly practices their Sunday obligation of worshipping with the community.  Second, for those who wish to receive the sacrament of matrimony or apply for holy orders (priesthood), being registered is one of the ways that demonstrate one's commitment to the faith.  Third, sometimes an organization requires letters of recommendation from one's house of worship, and registration helps the parish to be able to write this letter with more confidence. Fourth, from an economic view, registration and making offertory contributions using envelopes enables the parish to keep a record of contributions which one can then claim as a deduction on their taxes.
    "FATHER SHOULD RECOGNIZE ME BECAUSE I'M HERE EVERY SUNDAY" and "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY":  These are two arguments that are sometimes raised.  While it is true that the priests might recognize your face, particularly if you see them after Mass every Sunday, they might not know your full name.  And if you never greet the priests, but leave instead by other exits, the priests might not recognize you at all.  So registration helps the priests to learn parishioners' names, and in the event of emergencies, such as a sick call, the priests can attend to your needs more readily.
    With regard to the money, the parish does OK financially, so we are not concerned about the amount of every person's offertory giving.  On the contrary, our parishioners are fully aware that the running of the parish and the maintenance of the school require funding, and thankfully, your weekly contributions reflect this.  So on the parish level, our motivation is not financial.  Instead, we would like to know who our parishioners are, and in doing so, learn how best to serve your needs. 
    So if you have not done so, please consider registering in the parish at your earliest convenience.

    "I WAS BAPTIZED IN THE PARISH AND RECEIVED ALL MY SACRAMENTS THERE, AND I GO THERE WHENEVER I AM IN TOWN":  Our office often receives requests from people who desire or who have been asked to be godparents or confirmation sponsors.  Below are the requirements as outlined in canon law:
    • Must be at least 16 years of age.
    • Must be a baptized Catholic who has completed the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
    • May not be the parent of the child being baptized.
    • If married, must be married in the Catholic Church, regularly attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, and living their faith.
    • The two godparents do not have to be married to one another.
    • A baptized non-Catholic may not be a godparent but may serve as a witness along with a Catholic godparent.
    • Non-baptized persons may not serve as witnesses or godparent.
    So those of you who might choose a godparent or sponsor, or become one in the future, the Church asks you to make the person's faith life the main criterion.
    WHY ALL THE RULES?  It seems like a lot of requirements for someone to fulfill, but for those of us who regularly practice our faith, they really are our normal practice.  If this is the case, then why do we specify these requirements?
    On the one hand, the Church takes seriously both the relationship of the person with God and, in the case of children, the parents' desire that their child should be raised according to the faith that they themselves want to share with their child.  For us as people of faith, there is no greater gift that one can receive than to become a child of God and a member of the Body of Christ, which is what happens in baptism.  We want to ensure, therefore, that the person has the best means possible for developing this relationship, including the godparent chosen for them.  Therefore, the godparent should be one who takes the faith as seriously as they and the parents do. 
    On the other hand, the godparent also represents the Church to both the child and their parents as a sign of Christian faith, and helps to concretize the relationship between the family and the Church. 
    Sometimes, we get requests for letters of recommendation for sponsorship from people who are the relatives of the parents and are chosen as godparents because they believe that the role of the godparent is to take over parental responsibility of the child should the parents become incapable of carrying out their duties.  These people might have been received all of their sacraments here and attended the elementary school; however, they have not attended Church in years, or only participate in the community worship occasionally.  Of course, they are always welcome to be part of the Eucharist, but it is clear that their relationship to the faith is tenuous, and therefore, would not be able to fulfill the duties required of Christian godparents.
    THE CHALLENGE FOR US: Understanding this to be the case, we can appreciate, therefore, that our weekly participation in the Eucharist is not just for ourselves.  As members of the Body of Christ, we have the blessing of participating in a faith that is so deep and profound that there is always something new to discover and learn.  We pray for those entering the Church, those struggling in or indifferent to their faith, and their families.  And we prepare ourselves in case God might call us to help these families by becoming godparents and sponsors.
    ANOINTING OF THE SICK:  One of the most undervalued sacraments is that of anointing of the sick.  This sacrament has its origins in the letter of James, wherein the apostle advises the sick to see the priest.  We offer this sacrament for all those who will undergo serious health tests, or become seriously ill, or have a serious change in their health status.  Please see the priests at any time after Mass or during office hours in order to receive this sacrament. 
    COMMUNION TO THE SICK:  Having done the funerals of various parishioners, it has come to my attention that these parishioners were unable to attend Mass on Sunday for years because of their health issues, and yet, never asked to have an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion bring them the Eucharist on a regular basis.  This is one of the EMHC's duties.  So if you or someone you know will be unable to attend Sunday Mass for some extended period and are homebound, but would like to receive communion, please contact the office and leave your contact information.  Lois Duggan, head of the EMHCs, will contact you and arrange for the Eucharist to be brought to you once a week for the duration of your illness.
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