Heart of a Shepherd


I would like to dedicate my Fr. Ron’s Corner this week to a Diocesan initiative titled: Heart of the Shepherd!

The Heart of a Shepherd campaign opened in the fall of 2019 with 10 pilot parishes. We were invited to be one of those pilot parishes, but because of our own need for a campaign (75th Anniversary Operations and Capital Campaign, which began in January 2020), we did not participate. The campaign was postponed during the COVID crisis and has recently been re-initiated throughout the Diocese. To date, about 75% of the 175 parishes in the Diocese have completed the campaign. Now, it is our turn.

I want to make sure that I begin by acknowledging your incredible generosity. There is no expectation on my part that you take part in this campaign, but I want to make sure that you are invited and could support the seminary and its campaign goals as seen below.

One of our challenges, which I voiced to the Catholic Community Foundation, is that while I support the campaign components to:
“(1) renovate and modernize the residential areas of the Seminary Buildings, (2) fund the continuing retirement and pension of all our diocesan parish priests, and (3) establish an endowment fund to help tuition and student debt reduction for the newly ordained priests serving in the Diocese of Cleveland”

we also had needs for our own Parish. As I have pointed out, our “new” church is 20 years old, and along with it, maintenance was needed for the parking lot, church lighting system, Social Hall carpet and phone system. It is also important to have a rainy-day fund for ongoing funding of Parish and School needs.

Bishop Malesic has recognized the need to support parishes as part of the Heart of the Shepherd Campaign and has established a plan that there is no “penalty” if a parish community does not reach its goal, as well as the fact that 65% of what is raised comes back to our Parish. I am grateful to the bishop to let us conclude the pledges of our own campaign which are 75% completed.

I also want to continue to support a culture of vocations here at St. Joseph Parish. We are blessed to be a Parish that offers “field education” for seminarians and have had recent vocations of Fr. John Schneider and Fr. Scott Goodfellow. We are blessed through the ministry of Fr. Al Laubenthal and Fr. Andy Turner, both associated with seminary formation and the need to update the seminary facilities, including their own living quarters.

Here is our plan: for every $1 collected, we keep $.65, and the Heart of the Shepherd campaign receives $.35. Our goal is $630,000. $407,000 will remain with the Parish and $220,000 will go to the campaign. What we have planned at St. Joseph Parish and School with the $422,500 is to install a second organ console for the downstairs music area ($40,000), to eliminate the need for choir members to climb steps, and an outdoor shrine dedicated to the Holy Family, positioned outside by the Tabernacle window, on the occasion of our 75th Anniversary ($60,000). The remainder ($322,500) would be used to reduce the mortgage on the Parish Center. I would like to retire the mortgage by the end of 75th anniversary – April 2025.
You will begin to receive additional information in the weeks ahead. While the campaign and our pledges will end by Christmas 2021, payments would not begin until sometime in Spring of 2022. To assist this, the annual Catholic Charities Appeal has been moved from February to May of 2022. Please begin to pray about what the Lord may be calling you to do to help the Heart of a Shepherd in our beloved Diocese of Cleveland and St. Joseph Parish.

May you and those you love know God’s blessing.
I love being your pastor.
Fr. Ron

SJAL_Parish Insert Template

St. Joseph Avon Lake, Reception Invite 10-25-2021