A NEW MESSAGE FROM FR TOM RANZINO SEPT 28,2016
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St Jean Vianney:
Its interesting to me how small things can make a big difference. The small thing I refer to is that the huge trash pile in front of the Rectory was mostly picked up this week. :) Not all of it was taken but a good bit so Mount Tom's House is now Hill Tom's House. I wonder too how the decision was made on what to pick up and what to leave. Everything on the left side of the driveway was picked up. Everything on the right side was mostly left. Perhaps the man was left handed?? I am not complaining because I am so grateful to see the piles go. Too much of a daily reminder!
All in all, the recovery progress is moving along. The Parish Flood Recovery Committee met this past Monday and here are the results. The Elementary School classrooms and Library are being occupied by lots of little kidos, who are somewhat oblivious to the work going on around them on campus. New cabinets will be installed in the K classrooms and the Library awaits some new shelving. Very soon the Library Books will be returning to the shelves with a caravan of kids carting books back to the Library. The School has established a Library Book Fund, so if you are interested in giving a book, please go to the School website, www.stjeanvianneyschool . Some of the new furniture for the Preschool arrived today. Its a weird feeling doing this dance twice, since we brought in the new furniture for the Preschool just a few months ago.
The Wood Flooring in the Gymnasium is now being installed. This last week the gym floor has looked like a puzzle with thousands of pieces of wood at all angles. The wood apparently liked the temperature and humidity and stayed put so its going down piece by piece. It should take about a month to finish in the Gym. The Parish Hall is sporting new bathrooms much to the approval of everyone. The Hall is being used for many meetings over the last few days.
The Rectory [where I live] was one of the worst damaged buildings. However, it is moving forward. The painting of the walls has begun and the cabinets have arrived and are waiting to be installed. After the painting, the flooring ,cabinetry and surface coverings will be installed. New windows are being installed in the Rectory as some of the old windows were falling in. Another strong wind and I might have been blown to Denham Springs.
This coming Tuesday evening from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm in Church, Mr Daryl Ducote and two other therapists will offer insights and coping strategies regarding moving from Flooding to Flourishing: Moving from Post Traumatic Stress to Post Traumatic Transformation. This is free and open to all. I think it will be a really fine way to take some time and reflect on what these last weeks have meant and what the future could hold. Also, the Parish is offering MARRIAGE COUNSELING for any couples whose marriages have been stressed by the recent floods. The parish can make this happen and little to no cost, so if you need, please ask me.
Its important to remember that if you are really anxious about the things that have happened or the things that might happen, remember that all things pass. This does not mean that what you are anxious about is not real or not important. It just means that our worrying will not change the reality, and that nothing remains frozen. You will not always feel the way you do. All things change. The second part of that statement is : God is faithful. God does not change, and God will be your companion in good times and in bad. Pray for your desires and tell God what you need. Trust.
I hope you will be having a good evening ahead. Peace and Love, Fr. TOM
A NEW MESSAGE FROM FR TOM RANZINO SEPT 21, 2016
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St Jean Vianney:
During the past days our work on the campus has produced good fruit. The Parish Hall passed the State Health Inspection and so we can now serve hot food in the Hall, which doubles as the School Cafeteria during the week. The new bathrooms have received rave reviews. Some one supposed took a picture of parishioners packing the bathrooms on Sunday so I am hoping I get a copy to post. Also, the two Kindergarten classrooms reopened with the K kids and teachers happy to be back in familiar places.
The installation of the Gym Floor is underway. It will take one month for the floor to be installed. I am hoping that we will be able to use the Gym meeting rooms soon as the painting in those rooms is completed. The Rectory Sheet rock is now up, and painting will begin shortly. As many of you already know Mr. Carl Anderson, who is the Supreme Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus in Hartford Connecticut visited our parish last Saturday afternoon. He and Bishop Muench spent the day visiting various flood site, parishioners and parishes. Mr. Anderson viewed the progress we've made on the two Schools and the Gym. As he left he gave the parish a check for $25,000 for reconstruction. I am most grateful to the Knights of Columbus, who through Mr. Anderson have been so supportive our parish efforts to rise from the floods.
In truth, it’s hard to describe to people who have not flooded what the experience has been like. I received the following letter from Fr. John Tutone, pastor of Sacred Hearts Church in Island Park, New York, He writes:
"Dear Fr. Tom and the Parishioners of St Jean Vianney
On the night of Oct 29, 2012, super-storm Sandy devastated our barrier island community: 90% of homes and cars were damaged, five weeks without electricity, stores, cell phones, three feet of water in the parish center, a foot and a half in Church, sacramental records soaked in sea water, every file, or piece of paper gone--even the check books! Four years after the face we have lost 20% of parishioners; houses still shuttered everywhere and many literally thirteen feet in the air being raised according to insurance regulations.
We are not actually at the stage where we don't like to talk about it with outsiders for fear of boring them. We talk among ourselves, share stories and agree that with grace from the eternally good God we are bonded in a way that would never have been possible before.
Sacred Heart parish has something of an "Italian flavor" in origin, and especially in the St Gennaro street festival we celebrate [check out the parish web site]. Five hundred parish volunteers cooking and serving some eight thousand visitors. This year we were blessed with a most successful feast and, keenly aware of your pain and predicament, wish to share some of it with you. As I said, if you haven't lived through this yourself it’s just a story of someone else’s' experience.
Enclosed please find a check for a thither of our earnings. Two strings attached: First, spend it on something absolutely inglorious like bathroom fixtures or floor tiles [only another pastor can understand my reasoning!]; secondly please say one Mass for the good people of Sacred Heart parish who gave so generously of their time and sweat to make our feast such a success.
Might I pass along a bit of a homily I gave on the Sunday after Sandy: "We lost all our "stuff" That's all, just stud, don't worry, we will get new stuff. Show concern for each other and be sure to help each other and we will gain wonderful new stuff-called Grace. "
I found this to be a wonderful letter and from a person who understands what we have been going through. I can say something which I believe most all would agree: since this experience my awareness has heightened for other parishes in the country that have gone through floods, fires, hurricanes, natural and human made disasters. We will need to pay forward the many graces we have received.
Two persons of note we want to remember:
Msgr Gerald Lefebvre, a retired priest who served here helping me for the last 10 years, and 6 years before that at St George, died this past Sunday. His funeral will be at St Jean Vianney this Friday, with a wake from 9:00-11:00 am. The funeral Mass will begin at 11:00 am with Bishop Muench presiding. Gerald was a good man, a faithful pastor, and a shepherd to many over his 85 years.
Sr. Mary John Hotard, CSJ is celebrating 70 years of religious life this Saturday at 11:00 am at Sacred Heart Church. Mary John was my associate for many years at Holy Rosary in St Amant, and she brought Christ Renews His Parish Retreats to St Jean Vianney. Congratulations Mary John!!!! :)
I know many in the parish are worried about insurance and flood zone regulations. Know that I am praying for your peace of mind, God's consolation in your worries.
God will be faithful. Ask the Lord to be close to you so that whatever it is you are dealing with you know that you are not alone.
Blessings and peace to you.
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