Peace be with you as we again enter the time of year when we give thanks for everything and celebrate the birth of our Lord!
The readings for Advent this year come from the Gospel of Mark. Mark’s Gospel does not actually tell the story of Jesus’ birth, and by the end of the first chapter, Jesus is already preaching, healing, and living out His ministry. The Gospel of Mark emphasizes discipleship right from the beginning. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus states in Mark 1:17.
We live out discipleship in so many ways: by attending Mass, by daily prayer, by reading the Bible, by giving. When we hosted a Church Anniversary Celebration this year, I offered prayers not only for current and former members of Holy Rosary-St. John, but for all the donors as well who allow us to live out our ministry on South Ohio Avenue.
Our year-end mailing is an important part of our outreach to donors within the church and throughout the Diocese, and raises over 14% of our yearly budget. It is very important to our continued existence, and we want to thank all those who make supporting our parish a part of their yearly giving.
Our ministry at Holy Rosary-St. John is a daily ministry. We have activities every day at Holy Rosary-St. John that not only feed people spiritually, but that assist people in their daily struggles. Last year, the St. John Food Pantry served over 7,500 persons, providing over 65,000 meals. We have community gardens that grow produce for individuals and for the social service programs on site.
We also made the St. John Learning Center, our adult education ministry, a part of the church again. For some years, the St. John Learning Center operated as a separate nonprofit, but this year, to save on administrative costs and keep the focus on the programs themselves, we brought the Learning Center back under church control.
Of course, we reach out to the surrounding community with Mass and our Gospel Choir, but we also sponsor activities for children and youth, such as our Parish School of Religion, Youth Group, School Supplies Giveaway and Christmas Programs. We have a Young Adult Group and senior activities. So, we serve all ages.
We also operate the St. John Community Center, a former school that is now a community center and houses a variety of social services. This year, in addition to the food pantry, Learning Center and Community Kitchen, the Order of Malta opened a health clinic twice per month in the St. John Community Center. Over the course of the year, we have over 100,000 visitors come through the St. John Community Center to access one or more services or programs there.
We draw on a variety of sources of support in order to achieve all of this, and we are grateful for all of that support. But, we also continue to struggle, partially because our Diocesan support has been cut as the Diocese works to keep its costs under control.
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the donations we receive from this year-end mailing. Without it, we would end most years significantly “in the red.” It is of vital importance and I beg of you not to overlook it. We cannot do the work we do without your assistance.
You may give to Holy Rosary-St. John Church by check or online:
To donate by check, simply send a check made out to “Holy Rosary-St. John” to: Holy Rosary-St. John Church, P.O. Box 83572, Columbus, OH 43203-0572 (you may notice that our mailing address has changed - we have not moved, but are simply using a P. O. Box to make sure our donations are safely received);
To donate online, go to hrsjchurch.org/donate for information about how to donate through our secure online donation service or through PayPal.
We also have a “related organization” that grew out of the church and is now a separate nonprofit, the Community Kitchen. You may also donate to the Community Kitchen by making your check payable to “Community Kitchen, Inc.” and returning it in the enclosed envelope.
If you are on social media, we hope you will follow us at the following sites:
Thank you for all you do. Your support makes such a difference. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (614) 252-5926, ext. 7.
In John 20:21, Jesus says to his disciples: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” I began the letter with that greeting and I share it with you again in closing. We are the ones sent by Jesus to do the work of the church in this world. Thank you for helping us to do that work, and please consider giving generously to help us continue that work for another year here on the south side of Columbus.