JULY 1, 2015 marked my first year anniversary as your pastor. So fast. So interesting.
It’s good to note that you have made “pillars of backbones” to help me achieve the completion and functionality of the Murphy Hall which we have been using now to hold our weekday masses, memorial masses, weddings and group meetings even. The hands, hearts and souls behind the successful rehabilitation of this 80 year-old church have now been etched in its enduring historicity.
Finding and being surrounded by the right people in pursuing unfinished business is a key to achieving positive results. I am lucky. So, thank you Dc. Steve DiMuzio, parish staff, parish council, ministries and EVERYONE for all the support. The repairs and upgrades of our various facilities, beautiful liturgical celebrations, increased financial support and hearty fellowships have been happening because of your involvement.
The St. Anthony Catholic School that was born to this parish in the past half century has always been an integral part of our identity, of who we are, as the only Catholic Church in town. The school is marked with lights and shadows. During hard times, we brace it up to keep it glowing as a beacon that shines on those families and children who firmly believe in the pivotal role of Catholic education in this fast changing and challenging world.
My gratitude goes towards school staff, parents, school board and PTO, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters of Charity, and other stakeholders that generously shared in the mission of the Catholic Schools in our society.
Unbeknownst to many of us, for the past 20 years, St. Anthony Catholic School Foundation (SACSF), a local endowment group composed of alumni and friends of St Anthony’s has been helping our school financially through its fundraisers and gives back to the school a huge amount of money every year for its operation and development. This year alone, SACSF gave $35,000.00 to help us pay the current improvement works at the school that is, creating more staff offices, school infirmary, better reception lobby and dry walling of our classrooms. The total cost of this project is more or less $85,000.00.
Let me take this opportunity to inform you that 12 classrooms will be offered for sponsorship. The idea is, every classroom will be named for one of the 12 Apostles, and a metal plate with the name of the donor or someone in memory of, shall be placed underneath it in recognition of your donation. And for 5 years, the names on those metal plates will be mentioned as special intentions at the Sunday monthly school mass. We will give a donation receipt so you may use it for tax purposes. The amount of classroom sponsorship is $5,000.00 each. So I invite you to please talk to me, Dc. Steve or Sr. Carol if you are interested.
Besides improving the physical make up of our school, we are also working so hard to offer a higher quality education that is affordable to all especially to our poor families. With the hard work of our Registrar, Grace Oakes, this year we are going to transport students from St. Helen of the Cross Parish in Eloy to our school. I appeal to you to please continue giving to CTSO so we are able to help more families in need.
God willing, we are also hoping to see these future projects happen in our Parish, namely, a brand new parking lot, a Parish Columbarium, Solar Energy and LED light system and a new Church sound system.
On the pastoral side, with Fr. Alan Valencia adding to the “work force”, in the coming years I would like to see a more vibrant, engaging Parish Youth group, increased “snowbirds” participation, more pastorally inspired Hispanic community and cohesive English and Spanish ministries, for we are a diverse yet collegially and mystically unified St. Anthony of Padua Parish.
As someone put it: “Our time is brief, and it will pass no matter what we do. So let us have purpose in spending it. Let us spend it so that our time matters to each of us, and matters to all those whose lives we touch.”
Fr. Ariel Lustan, Pastor