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Posted on: April 6, 2019

Continuing Our Lenten Journey

As we continue our Lenten  jour- ney, I want to encourage everyone to look forward to the Easter sacraments. It is true that every Sunday is a "mini- Easter." However, once a year at the end of our preparation period-Lent, we celebrate the Paschal Mystery, the suffering, dying, and resurrection of Christ over a three-day period. The Triduum is the holiest time of the church year.   

Entering fully into these three days isa spiritual experience. But we can only discover this if we place ourselves totally into the continuous liturgy. I would encourage you this year to set your mind and heart on these three days. Sitting with Jesus at the Last Supper, praying with him in  the garden of Gethsemane, walking with him to Calvary,  and feeling the emptiness of Holy Saturday as he lay in the tomb can only  make  your Easter  joy  more intense.  You will feel it spiritually and physically. But oh! What a joy it will be! Your Easter may be the best ever if you commit to this journey.

Direct your thoughts, your heart, and your time to the Triduum celebration in church. Walk the journey and do everything with the Lord in those days. I tell you this, you will feel the Resurrection in your life.  I pray for you and  ask your prayers for me as we walk these days of Lent together. 

On a more mundane note, I want to thank  everyone who supported our Jazz Nite this weekend. Due to the schedule, we had to have it during Lent.  But in the end, it   is all for the good of our parish that we may continue to be a Beacon of Light and a Sign of Hope at St.Matthew's. 

Posted on: March 9, 2019

First Sunday of Lent

With the First Sunday of Lent, many of us will choose to give something up for Lent. This is certainly a good and admirable practice with a long history and tradition in the Church. Oftentimes I fear, though, it can be like a New Year’s Eve resolution. After a couple of weeks, it goes by-the-by.

One way in which we can be encouraged to keep up our Lenten practice is to see it as a discipline. The word discipline often has a negative connotation to it. For example, I am being disciplined for doing something bad. However, in the best sense of the word, a discipline, according to Webster, is a field of study and a training that corrects, molds, or perfects; especially, a moral character. This very positive understanding can help us “discipline our lives” so as to become better people.

Now, because our lives are physical, psychological, and spiritual, any discipline we do for ourselves should also have spiritual effects. Therefore, the disciplining of our body and mind can open our souls to the presence of God. Developing a spiritual discipline can lead to a better prayer life, a deeper awareness of God, and a greater sensitivity to the needs of others. In short, Lent is a great discipline of body, mind, and soul for the greater glory of God.

But, one thing is important lest our Lenten discipline becomes a New Year’s Eve resolution; KEEP IT SIMPLE. Trying to do it all may just frustrate us. For starters, try the 1-1-1 Plan; one sin, one add-in, one give-up.

1) Concentrate or focus on one sin or fault that is your stumbling block.
2) Add on a positive activity; like focusing on your morning or evening prayer.
3) Deny yourself one thing that you really like or are attracted to.

Certainly there are many ways to observe this season of repentance. But, if you are having a hard time, remember; KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Good luck, God bless, and keeping thinking of Easter joy!
Father Duane

Posted on: January 26, 2019

Closing of St. Philomena Parish

I feel as if I am still basking in the joy of the Christmas season. Even though Ordinary Time is upon us, the feeling and joy of the Christmas
liturgies seem to carry forth. What a blessing from God! I am reminded of the generosity of so many people that helped to make the season bright, as they say. From the volunteers who helped with the Christmas set-up and take-down (see the list of volunteers included), to those who fulfilled their liturgical ministries, to the choir and musicians, to all those
good people who made our Christmas Gift to the Parish successful ($17,450 for the collection), to our St. Vincent de Paul Conference volunteers who made a better Christmas for the needy in our area, and to all the visitors and guests that swelled our attendance.

I am most edified, too, by the families that have joined us in these past few weeks from St. Philomena Parish. Having had their parish close in November, they were most welcome to join us at St. Matthew’s for Christmas and beyond. It was a pleasure to greet as many as I could identify and hope that they will join us making for a stronger St. Matthew community and a spiritual home for them as well.

At the time St. Philomena Parish closed and the public announcement was being disseminated, I was undergoing my shoulder surgery and immediate recovery. Hence the announcement to our parish regarding the distribution of the parish territory is a couple of weeks behind. But I do want to share this information with you. St. Philomena Parish’s territory, with its cessation as of November 26, 2018, will be divided among St. Clare of Montefalco, receiving 45%, St. Paul on the Lake receiving 30%, and St. Matthew receiving 25% of the territory. Therefore, our new boundaries have extended on the northeastern side of St. Matthew Parish. The new boundaries are as follows:

“N: Outer Drive East at Chalmers Street east southeast to Nottingham Road, Nottingham Road northeast to Moross Road, Moross Road southeast to Mack Avenue.

E: Mack Avenue south to Warren Avenue east 

S: Warren Avenue East west southwest to Cadieux Road, Cadieux Road southeast to Waveney Street, Waveney Street southwest to Chalmers Street

W: Chalmers Street northwest to Outer Drive East 

If anyone is interested in reviewing the Decrees of Suppression of the parish of St. Philomena or the Decree of Closure of the church, please call the rectory to make arrangements.

At this time, we are grateful to God for all the good work, ministry, and community development the late Msgr. Pete Lentine gave to the community of St. Philomena. As we experienced before with the closing of Guardian Angels and St. Brendan, that I was involved with as administrator in 2016 and we as a parish were affected by, new life can certainly spring forth. As with the parishioners of Guardian Angels and St. Brendan that came to us and continue to thrive in their new spiritual home, it is my hope that the good people of St. Philomena will join us as well. Please be welcoming to them. Know that they grieve the loss of their parish as well as the loss of their beloved pastor, Msgr. Lentine, and that it takes time to set new anchors and have a new vision on the practice of their faith.

I reach out to any former St. Philomena parishioners to discuss your thoughts or feelings; and, we as a community of St. Matthew will certainly, in the near future when you are ready, welcome you home, recognize you, and incorporate you into the life of St. Matthew Parish. I pray for your spiritual growth, your happiness, and your healing.

On another matter, remember to save the date for our spring Jazz Night, Saturday, April 6th. This year will provide an exciting look at “20th Century Detroit.” Plans are emerging, and it looks to be very interesting and a lot of fun. It also is a big part of our fundraising efforts, so whatever you can do would be helpful. More on this in the weeks to come. Again, know that I pray for you and our community daily. We have so much to offer and so much to receive from the Lord.

God bless all of you, Father Duane

Posted on: December 29, 2018

Reflections on Last Sunday of Advent

On this last Sunday of Advent as we approach the Christmas Season, I wish everyone a joyous Christmas Day. As pastor, I want to share the joy with as many as possible, but I will need your help.

I ask you to please reach out to friends, neighbors, and family and invite them to our Christmas liturgies. I’m sure that with the beauty of our church and the warmth of our community, our guests will not be disappointed.

Many people often times speak of how crowded their parishes are at Christmas. Let them know that there is room for them here at St. Matthew’s. It would be great for us to fill our church this season. It is truly a great way for us to become missionary in our work and celebrate a missionary Christmas.

I know that if you continue to extend a warm welcome to visitors and guests, we will continue to develop a reputation as a welcoming community; not only during Christmas, but also throughout the year.

Many visitors and guests have told me we are a very friendly community.

I also want to say thank you to the parishioners who have extended themselves to the St. Philomena parishioners who are looking for a spiritual home. I hope that with your encouragement and warmth, they will join us in our mission of being a beacon of light and a sign of hope.

Due to my surgery, I have not been able to speak or to write to you about our involvement in the realignment of St. Philomena parish; however, after the first of the year, the new parish boundaries will be published and what that will mean for us. Again, be welcoming, inviting, and friendly, and above all give praise to God for the gift of St. Matthew Parish. We can be a real Christmas gift to all! On a separate note, a word of thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes you have been sending to me.

I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness, and I continue to pray to God that I will be restored to full health.

God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Father Duane

Posted on: October 27, 2018

Church Abuse Update

In recent months, there has been a great deal of news regarding the Catholic church, sexual abuse, and the mishandling of incidents by bishops. I, too, have spoken about it during the announcements at Mass having read open letters from Archbishop Vigneron, the Holy Father, Judge Talbot of the Review Board of the AoD, and a verbal history of how diocesan policy developed over the years from 1987 through the present, especially touching on the years of the crisis and the formation of the Dallas Charter (protocols set in place to deal with child sexual abuse by clergy) in 2002. Although much has been accomplished to eradicate this sin from the Church, there was still the question of its proper reporting in some dioceses of the United States, particularly in Pennsylvania.

As this story broke in the news, Attorneys General throughout the country began to look at their own states. In Michigan, Attorney General Bill Schuette acted upon this concern and issued an investigation of all seven dioceses in the Province of Michigan. In 2002, the Archdiocese of Detroit in particular gave full cooperation and transparency to prosecutors to the six counties of our diocese turning over all creditable allegations to civil law enforcement and promising that, if in the future an incident should be reported, they would turn it over to civil authorities.

Nonetheless, on October 3, 2018, investigators from the department of the Attorney General and the Michigan State Police executed a search warrant on the seven dioceses obtaining relevant documents for this investigation going back to January of 1950. All seven diocese pledged their cooperation.

To this end, the Attorney General has asked all parishes in the state to publish the contact phone number and e-mail address to his department. We are publishing this weekend the contact information to the Attorney General’s office and the AoD, if you feel there is reason to report an incident of sexual abuse past or present. Please see the inset in The Pulse today. I also ask you to join me in prayer for victim survivors in our diocese, throughout our state and country. Pray for their healing and well-being and pray for the Church that this sin will soon pass us by.

On another issue, the Archdiocese is conducting an Unleash the Gospel weekend, November 3 and 4. I want to invite you to bring your SmartPhone (flip phones will not work) to Mass next weekend. This almost sounds counter-intuitive even as I ask you to do this. However, there is an app that the diocese wants us to connect to. It will be explained by AoD volunteers who will walk us through the process. But I want to make it quite clear, phones are only used in church after the homily that weekend and not at other times or other weekends.

In this day of “social media,” the AoD wishes to communicate the essence of Unleashing the Gospel through the use of social media.


Reporting Abuse in the Church

The Archdiocese of Detroit encourages individuals to report clergy sexual abuse of minors and others — no matter when the abuse occurred. Individuals may contact local law enforcement authorities and/or they may report to the Archdiocese of Detroit by calling the Victim Assistance Coordinator at 866-343-8055 or by e-mailing vac@aod.org.

Additionally, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office can be contacted at its toll-free reporting hotline at 844-324-3374, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, or by e-mail at aginvestigations@michigan.gov.

More information about the Archdiocese’s efforts to address abuse may be found at protect.aod.org.

Posted on: August 18, 2018

Michigan Catholic Discontinuation

As indicated last week, I want to let you know about The Michigan Catholic newspaper. It will be ceasing publication with its last issue on August 24, 2018. It seems that print news is falling on hard times, and the circulation of the paper was diminishing. Michigan Catholic subscribers will receive two Catholic publications free of charge: Our Sunday Visitor Weekly for three months and The Word Among Us, Catholic Mass edition magazine, for six months in order to fulfill your subscription. Since last week, the Archbishop has written an article regarding this matter. I would like to share it with everyone as he speaks about the transition of how Catholic news will be presented to us. Please see the accompanying insert in today’s paper.

On another matter regarding our “vigil lights.” As you know, the lighting of candles is a long standing tradition in the Church. The lighting of a candle is typically accompanied by a personal prayer intention for an individual, one who is sick, or for a personal favor. The practice is carried on here at St. Matthew; and in so doing, we provide the candles for your spiritual convenience. The cost of the candles has been $2 each, and we have been losing money on them each year. Root Candle, our distributor, tells me the going rate at most parishes for our sized candle is $5. However, I think that would be a big increase. So, I would like to raise the cost modestly to $3. We will evaluate this after a year; and hopefully, we will at least break even. Thank you for your understanding. It seems the price of everything is going up!

Again, I want to thank everyone who has pledged or who is still thinking of pledging to the CSA drive. It would be so good to raise the participation side of our goal. Even though we have reached it monetarily, participation at whatever level you can help is appreciated. We will continue our active effort until Labor Day.

Have a good week and may God’s love be with you,

Father Duane

Posted on: August 11, 2018

Important Updates from Fr. Duane

Important Updates from Fr. Duane

Farewell

As students begin returning to school, one of our staff, John Godoshian, our Sunday receptionist in the rectory will be leaving, too. Headed for Indiana University, he begins his first year after graduating from Grosse Pointe North this past June. John has been with us for three years and has managed the front office on Sunday with grace and dignity. I, for one, will miss his presence.

But from working with him, I know he will do well in school, and an exciting life lies before him. We are fortunate to have his replacement, Charles (Charlie) Ramsdell also from Grosse Pointe North and a member of St. Paul Parish along with his family. He will be on the front desk on Sundays from now on, and I’m sure you will get to meet him. To John, I and the parish wish you good luck and thanks for the time you served St. Matthew Parish.

CSA

I am so pleased with the success of our “double down” campaign for CSA. We not only made our self-imposed goal of $30,000 but exceeded it by $3,690, and the effort is still on going. Our CSA Committee has reached out to a number of non-participants so that we could reach our goal of CSA pledge givers. As of this writing, we have 106 who responded, and others are still considering. If you can encourage anyone to help us out, our success will be more than appreciated as we continue our sustainability. Again, I want to personally thank all who participated. Some gave very generously; all who gave did so sacrificially. And all are appreciated. God bless you for responding to our effort of “doubling down.”

School Supplies

Last week, Sean O’Connell, from the Boy Scouts of America made a presentation to the parish on his Eagle Scout project. Back in January, he approached me with an idea for the project to collect school supplies for kids throughout the area. He partnered with our St. Vincent de Paul volunteers so that the project would reach a wider area and be more robust than what we could do on our own. Sean is reaching out to other parishes, organizations, and schools to collect the needed supplies. And with the help and direction of our SVdP, he will be able to assist students in our entire east district. Sean is a very capable young man. We wish him good luck in his efforts and his goal of receiving his Eagle Scout award. Not many reach that high honor. So I ask you to support him in his effort and keep him in your prayers.

Holy Day

Remember this Wednesday is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed  Virgin Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. Make sure you set time aside for Mass. In the midst of our busy routine, stop, reflect, and pray through Mary’s intercession for the gift God gave us in her bearing the Savior of the world. Remember the Assumption celebrates the fact that Mary was taken up to heaven without her body seeing corruption. Where she has gone, we hope to follow.

Michigan Catholic

As of the end of August, the Michigan Catholic newspaper will cease to be published. As is the case with print media, digital communication seems to be undermining it, and the paper is no longer able to survive. This will definitely have an impact upon older parishioners and people who do not receive their news electronically (myself included). Adjustments will have to be made; and next week, I will write about this more extensively.

God bless you and have a good week!

Posted on: May 27, 2018

Reflections on Memorial Day and Trinity Sunday

Last week’s Pentecost celebration was just marvelous! Of course, celebrating the sacred liturgy and with the testimonies of faith and declarations of ministries by the Neophytes, brought a great sign of hope  for the Church. With the commissioning of our Parish Council President, John Dunstone, and our new head of Evangelization, Mike Dulapa, that hope and spirit enlivened our parish. I continue to pray for our parish and its people that we will be able to grow our parish as we grow in Christ. Please, everyone invite others to St. Matthew’s, especially during these summer months. The summer is a great time to grow closer to the Lord for we have fewer distractions.

This weekend as we celebrate Trinity Sunday, we also remember on Memorial Day those who fought and died for the sake of our nation. However, we are also recognizing one of our own, Chuck Schuster who served in World War II and was recently recognized by the French government for the role he played in freeing their country, France, from Nazi occupation. We congratulate Mr. Schuster as we honor him for his reception of the French Legion of Honor Medal.

I also want to remind you that if you receive a CSA letter from the parish this week, please respond as generously as you can. This “double down” effort is important to our sustainability. May God bless you this week and keep you safe.

Father Duane

Posted on: May 4, 2018

CSA Double Down

Last week we heard about the important work of the Catholic Services Appeal; i.e., ministry to catholic education, marriage tribunal, community outreach programs, Black Catholic ministries, and programs such as “Unleash the Gospel.” On this CSA hospitality weekend, we are going to “double down” on CSA.

I want to make the meaning of this campaign title very clear. As I said last weekend, our CSA target for this year is $15,800. This amount must be raised by the parish and submitted to the Archdiocese for all the good ministerial work the AoD does. Any amount raised over and above the stated target stays in our parish. It is not assessed, meaning taxed by the Archdiocese, and does not effect our target for next year.

This seems like an opportune moment to raise much needed funds for our budget. As you know, we subsidize our budget yearly from our savings and until our school buildings are sold, it is nearly impossible to have a balanced budget. In addition, we had to draw down $20,000 extra last year over and above the $150,000 to deal with essential maintenance issues; i.e., the drains in the church towers, repair of asphalt in the driveway, and replacing 23 tubes in our school boiler so that we could meet the city inspection and fire-up the boiler for last winter. All of this approved by the Parish Council.

The Parish Council has now initiated a means by which we can replenish our savings especially the money we needed last year for maintenance. That is where the title of “double down” originated. We would like to “double down” on the AoD target of approximately $15,000, and internally give ourselves a target of $30,000. In effect having a pledge drive for ourselves to raise $15,000 to help offset our maintenance expenditure.

However, we are not just “doubling down” on the money. We would like to “double down” on participation. Last year, only 99 givers pledged $26,000, 104 parishioners did not participate. With a concerted effort to reach out to nongivers in the CSA and with their support, we could easily reach $30,000. If those who gave last year pledged the same and those who did not participate gave something toward it, we could reach our goal and maybe go beyond.

To that end, a CSA Committee has been formed to reach out to the 104 parishioners to encourage their participation. Through a letter, phone call, or personal invitation, perhaps our need can be expressed more clearly so that participation increases.

This request is not for anything extravagant or for anything superfluous, it is for the basic needs of our parish so that we can continue to maintain ourselves. We want to remain at the corner of Harper and Whitter as a Beacon of Light and a Sign of Hope to our neighborhood and for a Catholic presence on the east side of Detroit.

So I’m asking everyone, please “double down.” Help us to meet our internal (self-imposed) target of $30,000 through the CSA pledge drive. Over the next twelve months, you can surely do something to help us out so we can remain a viable presence as a Catholic Community.

 

God bless you,

Father Duane