As the calendar year 2022 comes to a conclusion, we have much to be thankful for at St. Joseph. Among the highlights:
- Our new Family Faith Formation model is likewise reaching the end of its inaugural year, and it appears to be well-received by families. Numbers are comparable with past years.
- Parishioners continue to participate in our many contemplative offerings. Our Contemplative Elder project has begun, and a group of parishioners are preparing for a silent retreat at a Trappist monastery in Virginia during Lent 2023.
- Our NeXt Level team experienced a variety of spiritually enriching activity this year, highlighted by representatives of our group flying to California to make a presentation at the National Catholic Youth Conference in November.
- Parishioners enthusiastically embrace our many special liturgies during the year, whether it is the monthly spring-summer outdoor Masses, the blessing of animals, the many country-of-origin feasts we have, or the fellowship and food that go with these liturgies.
- An amazing core group of leaders emerged in the fall to spearhead weekend food fundraisers at the parish, netting more than $10,000 in restricted funds for St. Joseph.
- Our grounds received a makeover, mostly through the generous hands of parishioners and staff. Of particular admiration is the new sensory garden, which is fronted by commemorative pavers.
We continue to be grateful for the talented pastoral team that serves us seven days a week, in particular: Ana Valencia, Jacek Malik and Kathy Champignon. During the past year, we lost two longtime parish stalwarts: office manager Mary Ellen Kirchman, music director Maritza Alvarez and parish accountant Ralph Riccio, who all stepped away for more time with their families. We continue to thank them and wish them well.
Our financial struggles persist, but we now we are both burdened and blessed with two properties (rectory, Annex building) that can best be served in other ways. Toward year’s end an Orthodox Church community approached the diocese about using the Annex as their worship site. We eagerly await resolution of their interest.
Our annual November Mass headcount showed that we average slightly under 500 people in attendance each weekend at our four Masses. If we look at Bound Brook’s roughly 12,000 population, then that means only about 4% of the town attends Mass at the parish established for the community (St. Mary’s Polish-centric congregation aside). That low number is reminiscent of a “Bible Belt” community in the South, and hopefully is motivation for more evangelical-like initiatives from individuals and groups in our parish to up those attendance numbers.
We are grateful to God for those who persevere in their participation in the daily, weekly, ministerial, spiritual and/or temporal work of St. Joseph Catholic Community. If you’ve been blessed personally and would like to help the parish, we would be grateful if you could make an additional year-end gift.
Wishing all a Spirit-filled Christmas and new year 2023.