St. Jude Church, West side church entrance:  From time to time, since our church remodel, I hear through others that some are asking why we don’t replace the handicap access provisions at the church’s West door.  The answer is quite simple; it would be prohibitively expensive to put in a ramp (of concrete) that would meet today’s code, and, with the AC units now near that entrance, there really is no room to put still another handicap access to the church.  We currently have two easy-access ways for those in wheel chairs or with walkers to enter church.  The new drive-up (under cover from the rain) is right next to the wheel chair ramp, and immediately near a door that is handicap access (push button to open).  This was a huge improvement over what used to be at the West door before the remodel.  There is a second option for people—all flat walkway, on the south side of the building, with parking spaces reserved as near the south doors as we could possibly put them.  John Henry just repainted the signage on the black top so it is clear these are reserved for those (most in need) of that short walk to the doors.  In either case (East or South entrances) there is also the easy access to the elevator that can take one to either lower level or church level.  This addition, VERY much needed and VERY much used by so many now that we have it, was an expensive addition to the remodel project. 

To think that we could either afford or even have a need for still a third handicap access is a bit of a leap in thought.  One may like that West side entrance so they could sit up front, but the reason (the architect) suggested the rear entrances to the church for handicap had to do with where we could put an elevator that would be MOST useful (West side would not have worked) and how near a bathroom—often needed for older people during an hour Mass or other church event. 

To sit up front would be nice, but if in a wheel chair (which we even provide) one can be taken to the front easily.  Also, if seated in the back, and unable to make the movement forward for Communion, if one simply lets an usher know before Mass of the need, an Extraordinary Minister will bring Holy Communion back to the individual seated in back of church.  I trust this will answer this question for any asking about it (though no one has mentioned it to me directly).                     
- Fr. John
St. Jude Usher’s Room/Communication Room: Some may notice that (in the next couple of weeks) there will be some new cabinets in the Usher’s room.  Did we spend money we don’t have, some may ask?  Nope!  We are finally using what remained of the kitchen cabinets from the old rectory kitchen, thanks to the efforts of Bob Swick & Joe Molnar, and any others they may have asked to help them in this endeavor. 

The cabinets were not that old when the new rectory was built, so some were repurposed into the lower level of the new rectory, a few in the garage, and now the balance being used in this room that serves the church and school.  As they used to say, “waste not, want not.” They were good cabinets that looked very nice and they have not gone by the wayside. Just wanted people to know.

Thanks to the crew of great guys who are on Bob’s team doing this work!

Sacred Heart/St. Jude: Between Fran (who does scheduling) and I, we are making a concerted effort to make sure I make it to Sacred Heart at least every four weeks (exceptions, plus or minus, as necessary) which means I will try to be there the first weekend of each month, and Fr. Julius at St. Jude.  I wish I could bi-locate as I very much enjoy being at Sacred Heart every bit as much as I do St. Jude.  Both are filled with great people who are fun to visit with before and after Mass, or just to see on a weekly basis.  Lots of warm, friendly, and kind people; true of every parish I’ve ever served!

Sacred Heart/St. Jude: It is after the Baptism of Our Lord (this weekend) that all the lovely Christmas decorations come down and we return to Ordinary Time until Lent is upon us—which will come soon enough.  This is a good time to say “thanks” to those responsible for the Christmas decorations at both churches.  We are blessed to have enjoyed true professionals when it comes to church decor, regardless of the season.  Each year has its little differences, and it is always a joy to see it on Christmas Eve and after.

Birthdays:  Since so close to the weekend, if you see Fran, her birthday was Thursday, and Abraham’s is Saturday!  Abe laughed and said he “is now old enough to rent a car without an extra fee!”  [I’m thinking to myself that I am getting close to being old enough that they won’t even rent a car to me when in EU!  I think they stop at 75.  I’ll be 70 this year!  Yikes!].