The rainy season has returned in earnest. This past week, we were treated to a very tropical air mass that fed continual showers and thunderstorms from the Gulf of Mexico onshore. As of this past Wednesday, we had received several inches of much needed rainfall. We have a long way to go before water restrictions are removed, but this is a good start. Our lake at the front of the campus is actually beginning to resemble a lake rather than the pond that we have had for the past month. The grass parking areas have also regenerated and look better than they have in well over a year. With the enhancements we have made to our irrigation system, we should now be able to keep the grass parking areas looking good even in the dry season. Of course we still need a lake full of water from which to irrigate so continue to pray for rain.
I find it hard to believe that children in Lee County have already begun their school year. Although Collier County schools do not commence until the 22nd, the beginning of the school year is a sure sign that summer is coming to a close. Is summer really over? As a non practicing meteorologist, I am well aware that summer does not truly end until September 23rd of this year with the arrival of the autumnal equinox. Years ago I used to cherish the summer months when activity slowed dramatically and July, August and September could be used to catch up on projects put on the back burner or simply to catch your breath. These days, I fear the summer months mainly due to the financial implications of our depleted cash flow. Even with the many budgetary adjustments made this past fiscal year, it is still quite a challenge to manage the parish finances during the summer with greatly reduced offertory collections that equivocate to greatly reduced operating revenue. This summer was certainly a challenge with numerous projects taking place on campus. It won’t be long until we are seeing car carriers dropping off the vehicles of our seasonal residents. For those of you reading this online at your northern residences, we hope you had a great summer and look forward to seeing you in the next couple of months.
What do you think of the new format for our weekly bulletin? Kathy Sims (bulletin editor) has been working tirelessly to create something more than a bulletin and more like a magazine format. The idea is to have more stories and less bits and pieces of information. We also plan to have more articles on the different ministries so parishioners can become enlightened as to what goes on in these ministries We have re-named our weekly publication The Evangelist. Considering that The Evangelist is our main source of communication with the parish, it seems only fitting that it is the best that it can be. I feel it safe to say that we have the finest bulletin that I have ever seen. When I think back to the black and white bulletins of years past, I am extremely proud of what we now distribute to our parishioners. Thank you to Kathy for creating a beautiful, informative and easy to read weekly publication.
Our website also continues to improve on a weekly basis. Sam Kojiro has done a fine job of updating and redesigning many of the pages to create a much more user-friendly site. We truly hope you enjoy visiting our site. We will continue to improve the site, adding more interactive features and videos.
St. Francis of Assisi has arrived and is now in place atop the magnificent water feature in the Paniccia Prayer Garden. The water seems to flow from under the feet of St. Francis and then cascades down a beautiful stream. The landscaping surrounding the fountain was partially installed as of this past week creating a truly breathtaking focal point in the garden. Immediately upon entering the gazebo entrance into the garden you will be met with a massive fountain (donated by our very own Men’s Club), which sets the tone for entry into the garden proper. After passing through the gazebo you are immediately drawn to the water feature which is prominently placed in the middle of the garden. Basically, all the infrastructure for the prayer garden is now in place and we are only waiting for the granite benches and bases for the Stations of the Cross to arrive. We are actually ahead of schedule on this project, which is something that I rarely say when it comes to special projects taking place on campus. I would like to once again recognize Mark Stahlman for his efforts in coordinating and managing the Prayer Garden project and Marty Gauthier for his gifts of time and talent in designing the Stations of the Cross. Marty is fabricating the housing for each Station by hand. Every Station will feature a “roof” with a copper top and lighting to illuminate the statues after dark.
Many of our male parishioners are familiar with Faith & Ale, which is a monthly gathering of Catholic men hosted right here in the ballroom of the Parish Life Center. Soon, we will be hosting Faith & Wine. Faith & Wine is a similar gathering of Catholic women, which will also be hosted right here at St. John the Evangelist. Please see upcoming bulletins for further information on Faith & Wine, beginning this fall.
We are currently approximately $165,000.00 shy of reaching our Catholic Faith Appeal (CFA) goal for the 2011 calendar year. We do have time on our side in that we have nearly five months remaining to accomplish this massive task. It is incredibly difficult to address the CFA issue during the month of August when our cash flow is at its worst. Hopefully, some of our seasonal residents are indeed returning to Naples and will be able to assist us in our efforts. If you are a visitor or returning seasonal resident, please make your check payable to the CFA with St. John the Evangelist in the memo line.
In His work together,
Scott Schlossberg, MBA