From the Desk of Fr. Kevin Waymel
Brothers and Sisters,
Well, summer seems to be coming to a conclusion, and with it a few changes here in the offices. As you may or may not have been aware, our former Youth Minister, Dean Gontis, has moved on and is entering graduate school this fall. We wish him well and are happy to welcome the new Youth Minister, Brianda Tzintzun. Brianda comes to us with a lot of experience from her former parish in Washington state and yes, she likes the rain.
In addition to a new Youth Minister, we have also added a Campus Minister to the team. St. Albert did not begin as a parish, but as a Newman Center and to understand the difference between those two is to understand the complexities inherent in our parish community. A Newman Center is not a parish, but more like a missionary outpost at secular universities. These centers (they exist all over the US) provide pastoral services and ministries to the Catholic student population. Some centers include residential living space or houses for students, while others just have a building where the students can gather for talks and to celebrate Mass. Normally, a priest assigned to a Newman Center doesn’t have a parish. He is able to dedicate himself ‘full-time’ to campus outreach and working with students, there is no CCD, no sacramental prep, no sacramental record keeping, and no bulletin (that’s my dream). St. Albert began in this way, many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
At some point (and I need to brush up on my Albertine history), the St. Albert Newman Center was established as St. Albert Newman Parish. And so, we became a parish, but as you might expect, we are not a “normal’ parish. Almost every parish is territorial, meaning it’s defined by a certain set of boundaries. Historically this let the priest know those he was responsible for ministering to. People didn’t have the option of shopping around if they didn’t like a priest as the next parish could be a few hours walk. You were stuck. But I digress. St. Albert was established, not as a territorial parish, but as a personal parish. Personal parishes are established to serve a specific community of people. On the East Coast you find them often associated with a certain nationality. So, for example, if you had a lot of Italians move into an area, the bishop might build a church within another parish’s territory and establish it as a personal parish for the Italians (etc. etc. etc, you get the point). So yes, you are attending a parish that has a bit of an identity crisis. Welcome home. Even the parish doesn’t understand the meaning of its existence: Newman Center and Personal Parish.
I think I began to write this to let you know that we have a new Campus Minister, Clara Roberts to assist Fr. Trinidad and myself in our outreach to the university and college students. It is an important mission as university and college living is no joke. There are a thousand and one ways life can go sideways, and fast. We are there to help them, provide a healthy place of faith and companionship to support them and bring them closer to Christ during these years. And as I’m almost at the bottom of the page, I’ll end here. You may not see me for a week or two, I am trying to get away, far away, far, far away (like 4 plane rides away) for a little bit. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I’d like to test that theory out (just kidding). Treat the short priest well while I’m away (but not too well).