Happy New Year. It is my hope and prayer that this year, 2021, will be a time of peace, joy and good health for you and your family.
I have just completed my first six months as the pastor of St. Damien and I offer a word of gratitude to all of you for your welcome and goodness to me. I know that I have made some changes that not everyone has been able to embrace and I am sorry if I have hurt or offended any of you. None of us is perfect or gets it right all of the time and, as I have said many times, I am always willing to meet with you to discuss any of your concerns so that I get it right more than I get it wrong. I want you to know that I love living at the shore, that I am blessed to be the pastor of St. Damien, that I am fully committed to my ministry in Ocean City, and that I will work hard to be a good leader.
It is my primary goal to continue to make St. Damien Parish a welcoming community to everyone on the spiritual journey. Please invite family members, young and old, to join our parish community, and to celebrate their significant life events, such as weddings, baptisms, Confirmations, anniversaries, family funerals, and other important life milestones, with us.
I am proud of the staff additions that we have made:
- Patrick Gardner as our full-time Pastoral Associate for Worship and Music. I believe in a parish of our size, with three worship sites, up to twelve Masses each weekend during the summer and many weddings and funerals, that it is essential to have a full-time person in this position that can be an integral part of our staff and work each day in the office.
- Joe Sosnowsky as our Pastoral Associate for Lifelong Faith Formation and Director of Adult Faith Formation. For a number of years Joe has been involved in Adult Faith Formation at St. Damien and I am pleased that he accepted my offer to lead our Faith Formation department. Joe is educated, dedicated, and fully committed to creating a plan at St. Damien for faith formation throughout the entirety of a person’s life. Joe has an office in our parish center and is available to any of you to discuss faith formation ministries. I am also grateful to Sister Joelle and Katie Waldow for taking on new roles and new responsibilities and working closely with Joe in our faith formation ministries.
- Mark Trautman as our Director of Maintenance. In a parish with so many properties and so many buildings that are showing their age, I am grateful for Mark’s dedication and commitment to keeping everything in good and working order. Mark works with the other members of our maintenance staff and all of our contractors to provide the best service at the most reasonable costs. Mark has a work space in the parish center and is always willing to respond to the needs and the concerns of the parish staff. I am so appreciative of the work that Walt Adelmann has done for our parish community for many years and I wish him good health and happiness in his retirement.
I am grateful to the members of our newly-constituted Pastoral Council for agreeing to serve our parish in this important ministry:
- Tom McIntyre, Mary Ann McIntyre, Maria Mozzani, Bill Flanders, Kathy Mercurio, Barb O’Brien, Chris Devaney, Mary Terese Karanik, Ed Simonson, Erika Lezama, and Michael Mercurio. I look forward to working with the members of the Pastoral Council in the months and years ahead.
I am also grateful to the members of the newly-constituted Finance Council for agreeing to serve our parish in this important ministry:
- Carl DeBarbrie (chairperson), Eugenio (Henny) Martinez, John McCann, Barbara Shotwell (parish civil trustee) and Harry Wahl (parish civil trustee). The members of the Finance Council will play an important role in the corporate and financial affairs of the parish.
I am committed to pastoral and financial transparency of all of our parish affairs. As a step in this process, we will begin to publish our weekly ordinary offertory income each week as well as our year to date totals. We will also publish last year’s weekly number and year to date total. This will help our parishioners and friends to be more aware of the financial condition of the parish. In the fall of each year we will publish a yearly financial report of our income and expenses.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for your commitment and stewardship of time, talent and treasure to St. Damien Parish. In these difficult times I thank you, especially, for your weekly or monthly financial contributions. May I make two requests: if your financial means allow, a consideration of increasing your weekly offering to the parish and a consideration of signing up for Electronic Giving through Parish Giving.
is a new opportunity here at St. Damien to make regular contributions to our parish by either direct withdrawal/deposit or credit card. It is only because of your financial contributions on a regular basis that we can continue to provide and expand our parish ministries.
Thank you for all you do for our parish.
Fr. Tom Newton