The Opening of the William A. Kelly Athletic Center
It is with great joy that I am finally able to announce the official opening of the new and greatly improved St. Paul’s Gymnasium. A Mass of Dedication was held for our school children, parents and special guests on Wednesday, November 28th. Next weekend, December 8th and 9th, the gym will be open after all the Masses for the parish to see what an amazing facility we now have for the use of the parish and the school for generations to come. There will also be an official blessing of the building, with Fr. Kelly present, after the 11:30 Mass.
Please know of my gratitude to Principal Krissy Thompson for all her planning and attention to detail; to Wayne Carlisle, Director of Facilities, for his expert supervision and coordination of the building process, from the day he first discovered the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma until now; to Deborah Taro for her help at the diocesan level with our insurance claims; to Ron Scalisi, the architect; and to the contractors, Auld and White. Thanks also to the entire parish and school for your patience and understanding during this immense rebuilding project. St. Paul’s has certainly triumphed in the face of adversity!
Yours in Christ, Fr. Michael Houle
STATEMENT FROM FR. HOULE IN RESPONSE TO CONCERNS ABOUT THE SAFE ENVIRONMENT AT ST. PAUL’S
Dear Parishioners of St. Paul’s,
I write to answer some concerns that have been addressed to me and to my leadership team about the safety and security of our young members of St. Paul’s Parish. With all that has been discussed in the media, I completely understand your need to know our policies and procedures.
All priests, deacons, and religious sisters who serve in the diocese have the same background checks that lay people do, along with safe environment training and on-going in-service. They are not allowed to be alone with young students at any time. The same restrictions apply for any visiting clergy – they must be cleared by the diocese along with clearance from their own diocese or religious communities.
Many of you have questioned why we have had so many parochial vicars (associate pastors) over the years. Typically assistant pastors are moved every three years in order to prepare them to become pastors. Also, those missionary priests who seek to become part of the Diocese usually have three different assignments as parochial vicars so their suitability and skillfulness can be observed and assessed by three different pastors.
There are definite regulations in place regarding guests in both of our rectories. Visitors must be approved by the pastor prior to their invitation to visit. Minors are only allowed in the rectory during business hours and must be accompanied by at least one parent. I have asked our priests to continue to be a visible presence in the school, at religious education programs and at parish events, as these are all open to teachers, catechists and parents as well.
To my knowledge, during my 40 years of priesthood, I am not aware of any circumstance like those that have been in the media occurring at St. Paul’s. When there is a credible claim, the diocese publishes this fact in whatever parish or institution the offender has served.
The priests of St. Paul’s hope to keep and restore your trust by holding ourselves accountable to being above reproach in every possible way. Please join us as we pray for God’s wisdom and strength for renewal as we follow St. Paul’s instruction: “Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Fr. Michael Houle