The Feast of Pentecost was well-celebrated on May 28 in a truly multicultural way. Readings and prayers in various languages, banners and flags, music (and a bit of dance) from around the world. And the first post-pandemic potluck was scrumptious! The Holy Spirit is alive in the St. Charles community!
Prayer Walk for Climate Justice
On Saturday, May 20 nearly 100 people gathered at Khunamokwst Park in NE Portland for the Prayer Walk for Climate Justice organized by the Care For Creation teams from The Madeleine, St. Andrew, Holy Redeemer and St. Charles parishes. There were four stops along the short walk, each focused on a particular climate justice theme: indigenous people, nature/wildlife, youth, and climate refugees. See the photos posted here.
Our own Vina Thomas wrote a story of her family's experience of moving to the US from the island of Chuuk. The story was read, as part of the program, by Marianne Mauldin. See the video posted here.
Many thanks to all the people who helped decorate the church for Christmas: Linda Pashley and the Flower Committee, Confirmation Students and their parents, Lindy and Logan Gibbons, and so many others. A special thanks to Gloria Luna and Vicky Velarde for hanging lights on the tall trees! The church looks great. We are ready for the Christ child!
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Many thanks to the Multicultural Committee for a wonderful celebration on Sunday, December 11. The Aztec Dancers were spectacular, and the Mariachi was extraordinary. And special thanks to Rosa Barajas for her organizational efforts, and to Melecia Torres & family for making posole for to all to eat.
Responding to Gun Violence
A group of thirty parishioners gathered on September 11 to explore the important issue of gun violence in our culture today. In the session we sought to:
Posted here is the video recording of the session, along with the Powerpoint slides and handout packet.
Welcome Fr. Tony Galati
Fr. Tony has been assigned Administrator of St. Charles, effective July 1. You can reach him at the parish office at 503-281-6461 or by email at email@example.com. He grew up in Holy Redeemer Parish and is a graduate of Central Catholic High School and the University of Portland. He is a father (dad) of two and a grandfather. He was ordained priest in 2021 and comes to us after serving a year at Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton. We will have a special blessing a reception for Fr. Tony after masses on the weekend of July 9-10.
Church Heating System
Church Heating System. The Administrative Council and Leif want to apprise you of an issue with our church heating system. We learned last winter that two of the four furnace units that heat the church need to be replaced.
To address this problem, we have consulted with our longtime HVAC maintenance contractor and with the Property Management office of the Archdiocese. We obtained two competitive bids for the job, both were nearly identical in scope and price. The cost will be approximately $110,000.
We investigated the more environmentally friendly heat pump solution, but learned that it would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.
Along with the Pastoral Council, we have consulted with our former priest/administrator, Fr. Jerry, and with our current Administrator, Fr. Tony Galati. All recognize that this is a necessary project. We don't have a choice but to keep the heat on in the church.
So, we have signed a contract with Heinz Mechanical for the work. The contract has been fully vetted and approved by the Archdiocese, and the initial payment of $40,000 has been sent. Due to supply chain challenges, obtaining the necessary equipment may take up to 18 weeks, so actual work won't occur until early November. Of course, we will need to dip into our savings (approx $340,000) to pay for this project, but this is what our savings is for -- planned and unplanned expenses.
We welcome your comments and questions. Talk to Leif or anyone on the Admin Council: Sandy Bossom, Dave Pierce, Barbara Keepes, Barbara Schulze, Angie McKinney, Steve Moore.
On October 30, twenty-six parishioners* joined with Leif Kehrwald to spend the day charting a post-pandemic, post-construction course for the parish community. See pictures below!
The specific purpose of the day was stated thus: Since March 2020, St. Charles has been operating in "crisis" mode, dealing with COVID-19, managing construction chaos and welcoming De La Salle onto campus, and navigating the challenges of priest transition. While these issues are still with us, it's time to move out of "crisis" mode and into "mission" mode, from survival mindset to thrive mindset. It's time to look further ahead than just day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. Through prayer, conversation, input, sharing food (safely) and time together, let's set our sights on a new vision for St. Charles Parish.
Scripture, Prayer, Song
Throughout the day, we sang and prayed together, relying on these Scripture passages to guide and inspire us: Isaiah 62:1-2 and Luke 4:16-21. From the Breaking Bread hymnal we sang “Day of Peace”, “Open My Eyes”, and “City of God.”
Morning Question: What’s the heartbeat of our parish today.
Participants were asked to reflect on this question, engage in one-to-one conversations, and then bring their “headline” responses to the large group. After bountiful sharing and discussion, participants prioritized the “headlines” as such:
(8 stars) We need to practice personal invitation in all matters
(7 stars) We are struggling, but we are blessed and loaded with potential and endurance
(6 stars) We are dedicated to caring for and serving others
(5 stars) We are the people of God (Vat II parish)
(5 stars) It’s all about the people => in relationships with each other => leads to relationship with God
(4 stars) We are wounded and tender, and need healing
(4 stars) We are non-judgmental and accepting of all
(3 stars) We provide healthy enrichment
(2 stars) We are reawakening
(2 stars) Our heartbeat is healthy and full of energy
(2 stars) We need to diversify our core of leadership
(1 star) We need to recognize and reach out to inactive parishioners, particularly the elderly who feel undervalued
(1 star) We rely on our historical persistence in the midst of challenge
(1 star) We are always creative in response to crisis
(1 star) We are grateful for loving leadership
- We need to move from crisis mode to mission mode.
- We are grateful for the core leadership base of the parish.
Afternoon Question: What should our priorities be to chart our next course?
Participants were asked to reflect on this question, engage in small group discussion, and then bring their “headline” responses to the large group. After bountiful sharing and discussion, participants prioritized the “headlines” as such:
(12 stars) Gain a better understanding of how other cultures meet, work, and make decisions
(7 stars) Survey – listening process on what people want (in different languages)
(7 stars) Engage in relational conversations
(6 stars) Create opportunities for expanded relationships
(5 stars) Find ways to respect and support those not able to come to Mass (elderly)
(4 stars) Build informal multi-dimensional relationships
(4 stars) Put relationships before tasks
(3 stars) Have Name Tag Sunday regularly
(3 stars) Create faith mentoring relationships
(3 stars) Question current leadership structure
(3 stars) Personally ask specific questions about what works and what doesn’t – really listen!
(2 stars) Bless the new Commons as our place for Sunday Hospitality
(2 stars) Provide regular faith formation for youth of all grades
(2 stars) Do ‘with’ instead of do ‘for’
(2 stars) Reinstate Children’s Liturgy of the Word
(1 star) Engage in leadership development
(1 star) Expand our horizons
(1 star) Find common goals with De La Salle (DLSNC)
- Attend services with De La Salle (DLSNC)
- Bring back Welcoming Committee
- Market our new priest
- Flatten the leadership structure
- Reimagine . . . don’t have to do what we’ve always done
- Keep our identity (signage)
The day concluded with a promise from Leif to share the summary of the day with key leadership group and the parish as a whole. Pastoral Council, Admin Council, Liturgy Committee, Multicultural Committee, Care 4 Creation Team, along wit others, will all be involved in acting on the key “headlines.”
* Those who attended include:
Welcome Fr. Jerry
Fr. Jerry Graham, SJ will be our part-time priest through the end of the year, and perhaps through June 2022. He will serve as our Sacramental Minister: presiding and preaching at weekend masses, on holy days, and church feast days. He will provide the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Saturday afternoons, and will participate in liturgical planning with the Liturgy Committee. While collaborating closely with me on administrative matters, Fr. Jerry will be with us primarily on the weekends, and will not have regular office hours during the week. Fr. Jerry has been a Jesuit for 30+ years, has served as parish priest at St. Patrick's in Tacoma and St. Aloysius in Spokane. He has done mission work with Native Americans, and served as chaplain for the Gonzaga-in-Florence program in Italy. He is an accomplished poet.
New Directive on Lay Reflections
In August, it was announced at Mass that we had been directed by the Archdiocese to make a change in our liturgy on the Sundays when either Sr. Phyllis or Leif was scheduled to share the Reflection on the Word. We were told that on those days, the Reflection must be given just after Communion. Why? Liturgical law dictates that one must have preaching faculties to give the Homily at Mass, which is the message delivered immediately after the Gospel is proclaimed. Only an ordained priest has preaching faculties. Therefore, to avoid confusion, and to make it clear that what Sr. Phyllis or Leif offered was a Reflection on the Word, not a Homily, it was to be delivered just after Communion time.
However, on September 13, we received an updated directive from Archbishop Sample which makes it quite clear that any form of Lay Reflection on the Word at any time during Mass is not acceptable. Parish leadership (Pastoral Council, Admin Council, Liturgy Committee, and Staff) discussed the letter on September 15 and decided to make it available to all in the community. See the Archbishop's letter posted here. We will comply with the directive, and we are exploring options for lay reflections outside the celebration of Mass.
Your comments on this directive are welcome. Use the comment feature on this page, or write directly to Leif Kehrwald at firstname.lastname@example.org.