*Updated May 24, 2021 (# 7-12 added)
May 16, 2021
On Friday afternoon, we received updated guidance from the Diocese of Harrisburg regarding the revised CDC masking guidelines. The CDC announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or keep social distancing in most settings. Details on the latest CDC guidance may be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html.
In continued alignment with local, state, and federal health guidelines, the latest changes are as follows:
1. Effective immediately, those fully vaccinated may attend Diocese of Harrisburg Masses without wearing a mask. If you are fully vaccinated and wish to continue wearing a mask, you are welcome to do so. **People are considered to be fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.**
2. Those who are not fully vaccinated: please continue to wear a mask. We must continue to each do our part to keep the unvaccinated as safe as we possibly can. Parishes will not be “carding” parishioners as they come to Mass.
3. We will be maintaining social distancing until Memorial Day weekend (May 29/30). Beginning at the 5:00pm Mass on May 29th, social distancing will no longer be required and we will be able to seat up to our normal full capacity.
4. The 7:30am Mass will resume on Sunday, May 30th. This will be possible because, starting Memorial Day weekend, we will no longer need to clean the church after each Mass, only after the 11am Mass on Sunday.
5. We will continue livestreaming the 9:00am Mass on our YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/c/sjbnf.
6. We will continue to distribute Holy Communion outside after the 11am Mass (from 12:00-12:30).
7. Saturday 9:00am Daily Masses will open again to the public on Saturday, June 5th.
8. Holy water will be added back into the fonts beginning May 29th/30th)
9. The Sign of Peace will be reinstated May 29/30. Please be mindful of anyone who may not wish to participate.
10. The collection basket will be passed again, beginning May 29/30.
11. Confessions will return to the regular confessionals, beginning May 29th.
12. We will have a section reserved for those who wish to remain socially distanced.
With these new changes, the responsibility is placed on each individual and family to decide the best way to keep yourself safe and healthy. Thank you for your continued cooperation, patience, consideration, and prayers as we navigate through this ever-changing time! God bless you!
April 15, 2021
Starting this weekend, we will be livestreaming the Sunday 9am Mass (and any other livestreamed Mass, lecture, etc. taking place in the Main Church) via our YouTube channel: youtube.com/c/sjbnf.
Livestream viewers will still be able to easily access the livestrem in multiple ways:
1. On our Facebook page, we will continue to post Sunday's "Good Morning" post which will include a direct link to the YouTube livestream along with all the usual information.
2. By visiting sjbnf.org/online. The livestream video will be embedded at the top of the page so you can watch Mass directly from our website.
3. By visiting youtube.com/c/sjbnf. You can watch Mass live or visit the page later to watch the recording.
When you visit our YouTube page, click "SUBSCRIBE" (red box on the right side) and you can be notified when St. John's begins a livestream.
Thank you and God bless!
February 4, 2021
I write to update you on the Bankruptcy Proceedings involving our Diocese and an independent action that all our Parishes have made in a most important effort to ensure legal protection to our Parishes once the Bankruptcy Case ends.
You may recall that on February 19, 2020, our Diocese announced that it was filing for Bankruptcy Protection, or “Reorganization” under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Our Bishop explained to us that he felt it necessary to do this to ensure the continued viability of our Diocese in light of the potential costs of litigation and judgments that could be entered against it as a result of the claims
of Sexual Abuse.
On March 11, 2020, at a meeting of our 10 Diocesan Deans, who are Pastors chosen to serve as leaders of groups of Parishes that comprise Deaneries, it was explained that the Order discharging all claims that would be issued at the conclusion of the Bankruptcy Proceeding would only apply to the Diocese, since the Diocese was the “Creditor” in the Bankruptcy Action. Therefore, even after the conclusion of the Bankruptcy Case, Parishes could still potentially be sued. The Deans voiced concern about this, which of course, is shared by me and all our Pastors, since any potential claim against our Parish, even if unfounded, could result in a catastrophic financial loss.
The Deans were advised of the possibility of their forming an “Ad-Hoc Committee of Non-Debtor Related Entities” for purposes of protecting our legal rights in the Bankruptcy Action, and in June, all of our Deans, along with representatives of our High Schools, Catholic Charities and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, created such a Committee of which all Parishes and Schools are a part. Its purpose is to ensure at the conclusion of the Bankruptcy that the same “bar” or “prohibition” of any future suit that could be brought against the Diocese would apply to our Parishes too.
In February of 2021, a Mediation Process in the Bankruptcy Action is scheduled to begin. It is possible that at this time a “settlement” will be proposed and the Ad Hoc Committee asked to contribute to that total settlement. In order to obtain legal protection to our Parish, we have been asked to “authorize” an amount not to exceed $25,700. It is hoped that our ultimate contribution will be half of that amount or even less, but after consultation with our Parish Council and Finance Committee, we have agreed to this “pledge”.
This amount has been calculated by a formula that was adopted by the Committee, which represents a pro-rata share of our Parish compared with all Parishes in our Diocese. Our share is 2.57% of the maximum $1,000,000 contribution by the Ad-Hoc Committee.
I want to make it clear that St. John the Baptist Parish has not filed for Bankruptcy, nor have any funds of our Sunday Collection been used to pay for any part of the Diocesan Action or their potential settlement payment, as our Bishop has repeatedly assured all of us. Rather, this procedure that our Committee is pursuing in the Bankruptcy Action is wholly independent of the action of our Diocese.
The amount that we are contributing to our Committee is a fair amount and is the only prudent way for our Parish to proceed so to obtain the legal protection that we need.
I am most grateful for the faith and generosity of all of you. This past year has been a most difficult one in so many ways, but with our unfailing trust in God, and in our communion with Christ in the Church, we will continue in the mission He has entrusted to us, to bring His love and His life to all.
I will keep all in our Parish informed as to the results of the upcoming Mediation and the final contribution that we have been asked to make. May God continue to bless us and guide us in this New Year to fill us always with His strength and His peace.
February 3, 2021
This is an update of the "One Step Up program we began for our Parish. You will see a shift in giving that has increased our Sunday collections by over $4,000 per month. I thank you for your response to help our Parish, especially with all the difficulties the Pandemic has placed on so many people. I wanted to share this with you and I will keep you updated throughout the year. May our Lord continue to bless you & your families.
December 22, 2020
CHRISTMAS and MEMORIAL ENVELOPES
Due to processing and shipping delays caused by the pandemic, the envelopes that were ordered back in October for the Christmas collection and Christmas Poinsettia Memorials have not arrived.
We ask that you please place your Christmas donation and Poinsettia Memorial Dedication (if applicable) each in a separate, plain envelope. Please mark each envelope well to make it clear what your donation is for. The Christmas Memorial form may be found here (or you can just write on the envelope or write on another piece of paper).
You may drop your envelopes in the collection basket or drop off/mail to the Parish Office.
Christmas donations may also be made through Faith Direct (Poinsettia Memorials cannot be made on Faith Direct).
As always, thank you for you generosity!
November 3, 2020
Bishop Gainer received clarification from the Apostolic Nuncio concerning Pope Francis’ remarks regarding civil unions in the film “Francesco.”
View the original letter here.
View the letter with translation of the Spanish quotes.
As your pastor and in solidarity with our finance and parish councils, who are your parish representatives that assist me in the financial, temporal and spiritual ministry of the church, I ask you to consider increasing your level of giving to St. John the Baptist Parish this new fiscal year by moving one step up.
The events of the last 2 ½ years have created new challenges to our financial viability that we did not have to face before. The Grand Jury investigation, the bankruptcy of the Diocese and the Covid 19 pandemic have caused a decrease in our parish income. The Sunday collections, which are the largest and most important source of our parish income, are down $ 6,000.00 - $ 7,000.00 per week. We have worked very hard to be financially responsible. In the last five years, seven positions of employment have been phased out, two consolidated and one changed from full-time to part-time. We have reduced our expenses and once again this year our total expenditures were under budget. We locked into contracts for natural gas and electricity at a reduced rate for the next 18 months. We are nearing the completion of the changeover to LED lights which has saved us a lot of money on our electricity bills. We eliminated Direct TV and bundled internet, television and telephone for a lower rate. We rebid contracts for lawn care, snow removal, school cleaning services, mechanical and maintenance services. We have worked hard to reduce expenditures in every department and we will continue to control expenses. Independent fundraising for the parish and school has increased because of all the great volunteers and the hard work to which they have committed themselves, however, the continuation of the Covid 19 restrictions will limit us in our fundraising efforts this year.
We have a magnificent campus and we want to be able to maintain it well. We have 2 churches, 2 social halls, 2 rectories (one now the convent), a school, a maintenance/ministry building, 2 playgrounds, a baseball field, 3 cemeteries and 30 acres of beautiful property. The growth of this parish is testimony to the faith and goodness of our parishioners.
Now we need to get our ordinary income back to previous levels. Our idea is to see if we can move one step up. The enclosed diagram shows the steps of current giving in our parish. The dollar values in each step represent the weekly average of a household and the other figure is the number of households in that category. Find your level of giving and see if you can move one step up to increase your weekly donation somewhere in the new range.
We realize that the Covid 19 pandemic has caused much economic instability. Businesses have closed, employees have been furloughed, work hours, pay and benefits have been reduced. We understand the hardships people face and do not expect anyone to add further burdens to an already stressed financial situation.
For those who have been blessed and have not experienced negative impacts from this pandemic or other life situations, we ask you to consider moving up one step in your contributions. You don’t need to commit to a certain level or sign a pledge card. You may just choose to advance where it is feasible for you.
I have thanked you before for your heroic faith and I will thank you again. The Lord has blessed our parish and you, the parishioners, are the greatest blessing. I pray each day for our protection from all danger and evil and for our increase in faith, hope and love. Thank you for your faith, your prayers and your generosity in supporting St. John the Baptist Parish.