…and the livin’ is easy. Well, maybe in the long ago Charleston world of Porgy and Bess that’s the way it was, but for most of us in the here and now, the summer isn’t a whole lot different from the other seasons of the year. Easy? Not really. The job, if we’re lucky enough to have one, goes on the whole year, and it’s mostly the same from month to month. Family responsibilities don’t drop off a lot in the summer; and they may actually increase if the family has school-age children who are now in their long summer vacation and around the house a lot more than they are the rest of the year. And if we have lawns or gardens… Maybe the livin’ isn’t so easy.
Here at St. James, the summer of 2015 has more than the usual stuff going on. Starting with the hard stuff, the bricks and the mortar, we are quite obviously not finished with the Hall renovation project. Architect, contractor, and archdiocesan construction manager are all still saying that an August 1 completion date is still doable, and it is to be devoutly hoped that they are right. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away it was decided that the Hall, once it has been renovated, will be formally named “Presentation Hall” in honor of Sr. Barbara Rastatter, a member of the Presentation order who served in social care and elder care here at St. James for so many years. This will be done, and once we have a solid work completion date, we will be inviting Archbishop Cupich to come and preside over the dedication, or rededication. This may not be for a while – the August 1 completion date is not a sure one, and the Archbishop’s schedule will govern when he can visit St. James – but when it comes to the Hall, we have gotten used to waiting for things to happen.
In addition to that, there will be some major work done on the school buildings in July. The original exterior window sills were made of slate, a material (I am told) that ought never to be used for such a purpose. They are deteriorating badly and must be replaced. The bulk of this expense will be picked up by Ada McKinley, but the parish will be kicking in several thousand dollars. As we all know, the income from the rental of the school buildings is absolutely essential for the survival of St. James. We are a very small parish, and this past year the income from the Sunday and Holy Day collections, which is all most parishes have to live on, has been trending down, not up. The year-end report that we will have a few weeks after the end of the fiscal year on June 30 will tell us a great deal about where we are and what we can do, but the main lines are already clear, and the continuance of the school income is crucial.
Also in July, we will be welcoming Deacon Alfred Coleman II and his wife, Avis, to St. James. As announced a couple of weeks ago, Deacon Coleman has just been assigned to minister here, and we are very fortunate in this assignment. His and his wife’s background and experience make them a very good fit here at St. James, and we are all hoping that this summer will mark the beginning of their long and fruitful work here in the parish.
And then there is St. James Day (July 26), a day to celebrate and a day to be grateful. It’s a full summer, indeed. Enjoy.
Fr. Bob Sprott, O.F.M.