October 2016 

Dear Members of Saint Sebastian Parish Community, 

Saint Sebastian Parish is alive and you, as a parishioner, are part of the life force in a community that began over 100 years ago. The stories created within this parish could fill a book. Whether your family is new to our parish or you count baptisms, weddings and funerals in generations, you are important to the vitality of our faith community. 

As a vital player in the midst of this historic Washington Heights neighborhood, the parish carries a legacy of dedication, hard work and friendships. The life of our parish is a journey, in many ways similar to our own lives. We grow, mature, struggle, thrive, but more than anything, we gather and celebrate together. In 2015, we had:

   3,470      Parish members     1,313      Households                37      Baptisms

    44      1st  Communions        14      1st  Reconciliations          7      Confirmations

    15      Marriages                   16      Funerals 

When you think about all the history and what makes up this parish, it is an honor to be responsible not only for the excellent buildings, but for all the memories of lives that have been touched through the generations. Now it is ours to care for and pass it on to the next generation. A responsibility we take on willingly and even passionately. We have much to be grateful for:

  • A faith-filled and dynamic new principal.
  • Faith formation programs meeting the needs of children, youth and adults.
  • Exquisite worship services bringing all parishioners the joy of the Gospel.
  • Community-building activities in both the school and the parish, like the Auction, the Holiday Boutique, the plays, as well as all the weekly clubs and sports. 

General maintenance and repairs for our aging campus are vital to provide a beacon for our west-side community. Recently, work has been done to create a more welcoming environment. The school entrance was renovated and the prayer garden was installed. We have many plans for improvements, including more efficient lighting throughout the campus. However, the purpose of the Love without Limits campaign is to not just pay for the cost of operating the parish, but for the honor to serve this neighborhood.  

The past few years have seen our offertory giving drift downward, even as our parish membership stays about the same. In the current fiscal year, we are within our budget, but we need to build our reserves and strengthen our building maintenance plan. Stewardship is a part of our Catholic spirituality. The support that comes through a stewardship mindset requires prayerful reflection, an acceptance of responsibilities and generous hearts. Tithing should not be undertaken in a ‘what will I get out of it?’ mental attitude. 

We have an abundance of gifts. Reflect on your place in the generations who have laid our foundation, and consider how valuable we are to future generations who grace our parish. Experience the joy of making a difference as you take your place in the proud legacy of Saint Sebastian Parish. Please take time to prayerfully reflect on your openness to our Love without Limits campaign, which depends on you doing your part to provide a sustainable future. 

With that I am asking that each of you take the time to prayerfully reflect on your level of sacrificial giving to the parish and respond with some commitment for the next year and the years beyond.  As always, I keep all of you and your families in my prayers. Again, I am very thankful for each of you and all that you do and for your continued support. 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Larry Chapman

Pastor

 

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