Here is some news from a parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in Maryland.
Christ the King Church in Towson is to launch a capital campaign in October (on the Christ the King Feast Day).
By fall 2018, they intend to build a new parish hall plus rebuild/expand an educational center.
Their original mortgage for the church building has been largely paid off since 2003, so they will be able to finance the project.
As Fr. Meeks has explained to parishioners on September 24, CTK is a relatively small Catholic parish (110 households) unable to offer a number of things available in large ones, so it is the hospitality and community life which can make the difference and attract new people.
In addition, it is a young parish with 25% of parishioners less than 18 (and 7 babies to be born within a few months), so it is of crucial importance to offer Catholic ‘program’ for children and youth.
I went over to the parish website and found some lovely articles about and by Fr. Ed and this one by Jan Meeks, that began with their experience as young parents of two, fostering babies for a Catholic charity.
When Katie was four months old, this same close friend gave us a teaching tape by an Irish Catholic nun, Sr. Briege McKenna, who had (and still does have), a healing ministry within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Sister’s message was simple: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. She spoke of the necessity of committing ourselves totally to Him. She also said that we needn’t be afraid to ask God for anything, that we should never compare our needs and desires with those of others, and that the fulfillment of our needs could never deplete God’s storehouse of blessings for them. She gave the example of pregnant mother who wanted to pray for a healthy baby, but who was hindered by the fact that her next door neighbor had five children who were all born with special needs. She thought, “How could I ask for such a blessing when my dear neighbor has had to suffer so much?” Sister Briege said that God is not limited in any capacity to bless everyone.
When the tape was over, my heart was bursting. Most importantly, what had been missing in my life was Jesus! How had I not seen Him before? He was there in the liturgy and the scriptures at Mass, in the Eucharist, in all of the sacraments, in my own soul, and yet I had failed to respond personally to Him, and thus had failed to really know Him.
I had been like the blind man in the Gospel who, after Jesus placed spit on his eyes, saw men, but they looked like trees walking. And now, through the words of Sister Briege, Jesus touched my eyes a second time, and I could see everything clearly. In addition, her teaching made me realize that God’s storehouse of babies could extend to both our family and the other family that was waiting to adopt a child.
That night I did respond to Jesus, I made a total commitment of my life to Him, and then I prayed for us to be able to adopt Katie.
There are some who might call what happened to me, and subsequently to Ed, a “born again” experience, but having already been born again by Baptism, we refer to it as a personal conversion. It was that powerful, and our lives have never been the same since. It was for various administrative reasons that Katie’s stay with us was extended many months beyond the norm. The mutual bond between our family and Katie was immeasurable. As far as we were concerned, she was our daughter, and as far as she was concerned, we were the only parents she had ever known. After much prayer and waiting, we approached Catholic Charities and made a formal petition to adopt Katie who was then about seven months old.
During the months we were waiting for the decision concerning Katie’s adoption, we learned of an unwed teenage girl who needed a place to live after she gave birth to her baby. The case worker from Catholic Charities told us that she was planning on parenting her baby, but could not go back to her parents’ home.
Ed and I prayed and felt God calling us to bring this young girl and her baby into our home as well. She and her baby lived with us for two years during which time she completed her high school education, and then, having been reconciled to her family, the two of them returned home.
Not long after they came to live with us, however, we received the decision from Catholic Charities concerning Katie’s adoption. Based on the many months that she had been in our care and her attachment to our family, her adoption was granted to us.
We continued to bring pregnant unmarried teenagers into our home one at a time. We provided a place for them where they could be cared for, counseled, and have the space away from outside pressures to make an informed decision between parenting and adoption.
I wish them all the best in their capital campaign!