Pastor’s Letter, November 5, Fr. Longenecker

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Every year in October the folks at the Diocese require us to take attendance at all the masses. This is a good opportunity to gather statistics to see how we’re doing. This year’s October Mass count included the new weekend Mass at 8 am.

The average number of people attending the Saturday vigil Mass was 193. On Sunday at 8:00 the average attendance was 170. At 10:30, an average of 438 attended Mass and at 5:00 on Sunday the average number was 271. This indicates a total average weekly attendance of 1,071 which is an increase of 156 per week.

One takeaway from these numbers is that there is still plenty of room at the 8 o’clock Mass and the two evening Masses. If you feel crowded out at 10:30, maybe adjust your weekend schedule!

Our Lady of the Rosary parish continues to grow. Part of the growth can be attributed to the general growth of Upstate South Carolina; however, it is also clear in talking to new parishioners, that folks choose Our Lady of the Rosary for some definite strengths. Families are attracted to the strong family emphasis in our parish and school. Folks are also grateful for traditional Catholic culture and liturgy which is also accessible. They also appreciate our emphasis on Catholic education, evangelization, our Pro-Life emphasis, and outreach to the needy.

As pastor I can witness to the fact that these strengths are provided not so much by the clergy, but by our terrific parish and school staff and by you—our faithful and joyful people. Thank you for your support, your prayers, and your joy in the Catholic faith!

Also, during October, we have usually had a three-week Stewardship Campaign. We suspended the campaign this year to give everyone a break, but I should remind you that as the parish continues to grow the financial needs of the parish also continue to grow. 

You may notice a substantial increase in our weekly financial need that will be announced soon in an upcoming bulletin. This is due primarily to a large increase in our insurance premiums; a sizable increase in the Diocesan assessment; the addition of new staff members; an increase in the priests’ health and medical benefits; modest staff pay increases; and unavoidable small increases in church operating expenses.

I realize with inflation times are hard for many families, but please at least maintain your level of giving, and if you can make an increase, it helps keep us afloat. Also remember to use online giving if possible.

Last year we stepped out in faith to acquire the vacant five-acre lot across Frontage Road from our campus. We will close that transaction before the end of the year. At that point I will publish a survey asking your opinions and ideas about the eventual use of that property. Some ideas have already surfaced, but once we gather all the ideas, we can discuss together what the long term plans might look like.

October has also been a month of consultation about the new building project. We have had a good bit of excellent feedback and based on that; we are working with the architects on some exciting revisions to the plans which I think will be satisfying to everyone.

Please continue to keep our parish in your prayers as we move forward into the end of the year and an exciting new year.

Your Pastor,

Fr. Longenecker