Stewarding the Mission
5/25-26: Let’s talk about “Holy Water.” Why do we use Holy Water? Why do we do a “sprinkling rite” with Holy Water only during Easter? (Part 2 of 2)
The symbolic importance of water and the liturgical foundations concerning Holy Water are quite ancient. Its ritual use can be found in the Old Testament, where it was used for purifying rites privately and liturgically. It is a sign of God’s creative power (Genesis 1:2). It is a metaphor for Jehovah as the source of life spiritually (Isaiah 55:1-2). It is used as an agent of healing (2 King’s 5:10). There are many Old Testament references to the significance of water. Pharaoh’s army signifies sin which is “drowned” in the sea, which represents the waters of baptism, Exodus 14:28).
In the New Testament, water takes on even greater significance. It has a connection with Christ. He identifies himself with the Living Water (John 7:37-39). Baptism in water is also declared as necessary for our salvation. Jesus himself said, “Unless a man be born of water and the Holy Ghost” he cannot be saved (John 3:5).
There is much activity that occurs around the Parish of St. Monica in support of the Parish Mission. I would like to begin to update you all on what some of those activities are. I shall complete the report next week.
Concrete / Blacktop: We noticed that many of the curbs and sidewalks around the campus were in need of repair. Several curbs posed a potential trip hazard. On the other hand, some of the concrete areas are in very good shape. We are currently entertaining several bids to have the concrete work done this summer. In addition, it has been five years since the parking lot has bee resurfaced. We are also asking contractors to submit bids to resurface the blacktop areas of the campus.
HVAC: Our HVAC company Haller recently inspected our air conditioning and boiler units. All systems passed inspection (even the oil unit in the old school). New and additional electronic control units will be installed for temperature control in the church building. This will allow us to better – and remotely- monitor and control the temperature remotely. Two areas of potential concern are the twelve air conditioning units on top of the new school and the AC unit servicing the gym. The school Air Conditioners are beginning to age. A few units were replaced. The Finance Council budgeted to replace two new school units each year over the next few years until all units are replaced. Fortunately, the other units seem to be functioning well for now. The gym unit is a large unit that possesses excess capacity for the area it is called upon to cool.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working to decrease the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment. In 2020, U.S. regulations will begin banning the production of a common air conditioning refrigerant (Freon). Soon Freon will no longer be made and it will begin to be phased out of use completely, although limited amounts will be available. The gym AC unit is also beginning to show aging. Thus a decision about the gym AC is on the horizon. We are beginning to have discussions about what options are available as well as cost/benefit analyses of the various approaches.
Critters and Varmints: We’re actually just talking about ants. 2018 was an unusually wet year. 2019 has decent snowfall as well as a relatively wet spring. The groundwater table is high and the ground remains relatively saturated. Thus ants are looking for higher and drier ground. This has presented an issue in the church sacristy, the new school and Parish Center. Our exterminator was consulted and an exterior treatment was applied in April. The situation seems to have been addressed but we will continue to monitor.
Cemetery: Soft ground, normal aging, and some apparent vandalism had caused a good number of gravestones and monuments to sink, tilt or fall. A company was contracted to reset many of the gravestones and monuments. General cleaning and trimming of the grounds were also performed.
Technology: Performance issues with our internet service were addressed. Response times seem to be faster in the church, rectory, parish center, and new school. A number of people and organizations have been utilizing the technology in the Hagenbach Room and the two newly renovated rooms on the second floor. Reports have been positive. The quality of the technology, its availability, ease of use and internet response time have made the experience enjoyable. A new, large presentation “whiteboard” was also installed in the Hagenbach Room. The Parish Office server was relocated from the first floor to the basement. New server cabinets were purchased so that the server, and thus the parish data, will be more secure and easier to service in the future.