January 15, 2012
To the parish family of Saint Brigid:
A few weeks ago, on the fourth Sunday of Advent, we remembered Msgr. Paul Reynolds, the beloved second Pastor of Saint Brigid, on the first anniversary of his death. We thanked the Lord God for the gift of Msgr. Reynolds, and we also remember the incredible funeral Mass held for Msgr. Reynolds at Saint Brigid.
It was the 23rd of December 2010. The parish was in shock at the news of his death. The clergy and staff and volunteer corps had to put aside their personal grief so that they could prepare the parish for the funeral Mass. On the 23rd of December, most of the priests of the Archdiocese and many of her deacons joined a grieving parish in celebrating holy Mass, as we said good-bye to our beloved friend. I was one of the many priests that attended the funeral. It was my first visit to the parish since the founding Pastor, “Father Joe”, and the young parish had celebrated Sunday Masses in the school. I left Saint Brigid that afternoon, not knowing that I would become connected to the parish and to the pastoral legacy of my friend, Msgr. Paul Reynolds.
As I am nearing the first anniversary of my appointment as the third Pastor of Saint Brigid, I write you to share with you how I hope to carry on the pastoral legacy of Msgr. Paul Reynolds. For one thing, it was Msgr. Paul Reynolds that brought Christ Renews His Parish to our parish and prayed for a renewal of mind and heart at Saint Brigid. “Chirp” … Christ Renews His Parish continues and is thriving!
Msgr. Reynolds also hoped for the vibrant renewal of our parish through an expanding commitment to our pastoral ministries. To carry on this vision, we have some work to do. There is no doubt in my mind, that if Msgr. Reynolds was still your Pastor, he would be discussing this same need with you; today, I am asking you to think with me how we might work together to bring about the needed renewal of the physical plant of Saint Brigid.
Our parish is in desperate need of additional space, to be used for ministry, for meetings, for fellowship, for ongoing formation in the life of faith and for the coordinating pastoral services that assist and nurture our parish family. Msgr. Reynolds knew of this dire need for more space; he asked the members of the Finance Council and several members of the Parish Council to join together in a study of this critical need for additional meeting space. That study, entitled Field of Dreams, was completed during the period of time when Msgr. Reynolds was very ill and away from the office. He had no chance to act on it. Please know that with the strong support of our clergy and the members of our Finance Council, and with the advice and counsel of our staff and key lay-leaders of the parish, I have begun to lay the the groundwork for any future expansion we might undertake.
The initial stage: The parish has a contract to purchase a plot of land on Brumbelow Road. The plot lies between the parish rectory and the Bank of America. We have applied to the Johns Creek zoning commission for the parish’s special use needs of the land (parish activity). Many of you have supported this initial step, with your e-mails to the government of Johns Creek, voicing support of our re-zoning initiative. In addition, we are in talks with the owners of the large plot of land on Old Alabama Road that lies between the parish and the Bank of America. If the parish’s requests for special zoning permissions for these two properties are approved by Johns Creek (as we hope), the parish will purchase both properties as the initial groundwork for any future expansion of our parish’s physical plant. The monies that will be used to purchase these two properties will come from your past generous financial support (the same support that allowed for the purchase of our new speakers!). Through prudent planning, we have been able to designate funds for these types of opportunities. Your past generosity has allowed us to take this initial step, thinking the purchase of these two properties a prudent investment.
What happens next: Though most of the parish’s ordained and lay-leadership have told me of their enthusiastic support of a building project that would create additional meeting space for the parish’s life and ministry, most everyone reading this letter has not offered an opinion…because…you have not been asked about your opinion. What happens next…is a survey of our parishioners. I need to know your opinion on a variety of issues. The survey questions will include my sense of our need…to do all that is necessary to build additional space for the pastoral life of our parish community. I want to learn where you are, where we are…as a community…and where the Lord might be leading us. If we are called to raise the funds necessary to build additional meeting room space for the pastoral life of the parish (as I believe we are being called to do), we will need the support and the prayer and the sacrificial financial gift of every parishioner. We will offer an on-line survey sometime in February. More details about the on-line survey will follow. If you do not use e-mail, don’t worry. Please give me a call so that we can offer you the survey here at the office. I want every adult parishioner to assist me by taking this survey.
The initial, prudent steps have been taken. What happens next depends on you and me together. Please share your truthful and heart-felt sense of the parish by completing the survey; and pray with me, that we may continue to seek first the Kingdom.
I am yours,