Friday, September 14, 2007
Summer, Staff, School and Scope
Summer & Staff
It's been a full summer here at the parish. We had a blast during our Summer Vacation Bible School, a.k.a. Summer G.I.F.T. We've just concluded our annual Rummage Sale which was a huge success. We also concluded the search for a new Coordinator of Youth Ministry (CYM) and a Coordinator of Faith Formation (CFF). Deborah Francisco, our new CYM, and Jen Forsman, our new CFF, both are recent Gonzaga University graduates. Their vitality and eagerness has been infectious. Also new to our office is our seminarian intern, Robert Wolf. While not a staff member, he will be involved in a broad range of ministries while he continues to learn and discern his calling to the priesthood. That makes three new folks on our team at St. Anthony's! It has been said that whenever a new member comes to a staff, you have a new staff. Well, three people makes it even more exciting. Please take a moment to welcome these three new ministers to St. Anthony's.
With the end of Summer Vacation comes the wind up of our annual ministries. In order for our ministries to flourish, we need the volunteers to harvest the field. That means you! Please send to prayer how God is calling you to be involved in the parish and how your talents can be used for God's glory. Contact any one of our staff members who can help you find where you might fit. Remember it takes a Church to raise a child. But don't forget that it also takes a Church to encourage and build up the the faith of us all. Let this year be the year you get involved.
School Closure Update
As you may already know, the Oak Tree School, tenants in our school building for some twenty years, abruptly closed their doors this past month. We are sad to see them go. Unfortunately, their unexpected closure also puts us in a financial bind to a tune of some $30,000. That is nothing to sneeze at for sure. You can read my letter in our Aug. 19th bulletin whereby I outlined three steps we are currently undertaking in response to this new situation. In that letter, I encouraged you to consider making a special gift to bridge this gap of funding. Again, I ask you to make a one time donation to help us withstand this financial issue. Please let us know if you know of any organizations that may be suitable tenants. In the absence of any potential renters, we have also been pondering on taking over full use for ourselves for the potential of new ministries that may additionally generate funds for our operating budget. It is too early to say exactly how this will all pan out. So, I urge you to pray for me, the Administrative and Pastoral Councils, and our staff. Pray that we will have the wisdom to hear God's plan amidst this situation. I believe that it is the beginning of something new, but such dreams can only happen if we as a parish ban together in prayer. Please take some time each day this month and ask God to resolve this situation. As I stated inmy letter previously mentioned, this is not a "glass half-empty" situation, but one which is "half-full." What new opportunities are being made possible by this new situation? How is God calling us to flourish? How is St. Anthony's parish family going to grow because of this? I don't know the answer to these questions at this time, but by praying together, we will find out. In the meantime, let us all do what we can. Thank you all for your generosity and prayers.
Alvan Clark Telescope on eBay
On a totally different subject, let me tell you about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I have been given. For those of you who are not astronomy fans, this may not be all that interesting. However, for those who are at least curious about antiques and their history, this may interest you.
For well over a year now I have been given charge by Mount Angel Abbey to sell three of their four telescopes. I rebuilt one of them when I was a seminarian and so asked to have it. They agreed. So far, with the help of Ed Vandyke, we have been able to sell two of the telescopes to enthusiasts via eBay. The last scope is very rare and build by the preimanant American telescope maker in the 19th century, Alvan Clark & Sons. They are known for making the big scopes foind in older observatories. This one is more portable than that.
The scope was built somewhere in the 1930's and was eventually given to Fr. Mathias, O.S.B. of Mount Angel Abbey. It is unknown how often he used it. In my entire time at the seminary studying, I was never able to even peek at it let alone use it. After Fr. Matthias Burger's death in 2001, the entire set of scopes was stored in an attic in one of the Abbey's warehouses. Fr. Alex Plasker, O.S.B. asked me if I could sell them. I agreed. Thus I have come to this place where we have decided to sell this very rare Clark scope. With Ed's help, we have posted the scope on his eBay account. If you would like to follow its progress, then click on the link below. All the proceeds will go to the Abbey.
Unfortunately, Clark scopes have become targets for scammers who take the photos from other people's sales and republish them for a fake sale of their own. In order to thwart this, I am putting watermarks on all the photos so that they cannot be used after the sale. You can see an example above. Sometimes, my geekiness comes in handy. Yes! Fr. Bill, the Geek Priest!
If you wish to follow this exciting auction online, you can go to to eBay's item entitled 5" Alvan Clark Refreactor & Accessories.
I hope it goes to a worthy person who will truly appreciate it's value. That's the least I can do for The Abbey and Fr. Matthias.
Fr. William Holtzinger