SAINT IGNATIUS PARISH ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2019
Presented 30th June 2019
Fr. Suresh Rajaian, SAC
The Peace and Love of Christ be with you!
As you are aware, my appointment as Pastor of St. Ignatius officially comes to an end on June 30, 2019. I will return to the Archdiocese of Detroit to take up a new pastorate at St. Pius X Parish as well as a new appointment as Vicar Forane for the Down River Vicariate with effect from July 1, 2019.
The past year six years ending June 30, 2019 as Pastor of St. Ignatius has been a fulfilling and eventful one; a time of grace and blessings for me as I had the privilege of serving this wonderful, faith-filled Catholic community of these Islands. While the challenges of fulfilling the role and responsibilities as Pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, with charge over three Churches, as well as Head of School, were demanding, yet, I leave with a sense of accomplishment that the goals and objectives that were set at the beginning of my tenure, were for the most part realized. These included to continue to build on the solid foundation laid down by my predecessors, to identify and fulfill the spiritual and other needs and demands of the people of our parish and school community, to strengthen our financial position and to outline goals and targets for the sustained growth and development of our parish. However, while I leave with other projects in the pipeline that are at various stages of development, such as the proposed columbarium, the extension of the Church Office facility and the development of the recently acquired land adjacent to Christ the Redeemer Church, just to name a few, I have no doubt these projects will come to fruition in due course.
The year ending June 30, 2019, has been a very busy but exciting one. The most notable event of the year was the launch of the Multi-Purpose Sports Hall 2020 Capital Campaign, “Building and Growing Together for Our Future”. The 2-storey Sports Hall facility will provide the much-needed additional space for sports, academics and other activities as the demand for the use of Loyola Hall has far exceeded its capacity. The new facility will benefit both the School and the Parish. Funding for this project is well underway through donations and pledges from individuals, families and corporations. Following the approval by the Government’s Planning Department, the ground-breaking ceremony was held on June 21, 2019, with a blessing by Rt. Rev. Arturo Cepeda, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit and remarks by other dignitaries. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by September 2020 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Catholic School in the Cayman Islands.
The acquisition of an additional 52,000 square feet of land next to the parking area at Christ the Redeemer Church to mark the Church’s 25th anniversary was finalized in October last year. Funding for this project included the generous donations and pledges by parishioners, the second monthly collections as well as the proceeds from the popular International Food Festival. The additional land space has now been filled and levelled, and currently, provides for the much-needed additional parking space. It will also provide for any future expansion of the Church in West Bay.
There continues to be a keen interest in our Faith Formation Programmes. In addition to our regular RCIA and Sunday School Programmes, other Catholic faith-based programmes were offered throughout the year. With the resounding success of the ALPHA programme last year, another 11-week ALPHA Adult programme was held with over 130 attendees. In addition, in response to the interest of our youth, the Youth ALPHA programme was also offered with some 80 teens in attendance. At the end of both programmes, an ALPHA Reunion and Potluck Supper was held for attendees of all three the ALPHA programmes. It was an enjoyable opportunity for all to fellowship and share their ongoing faith experiences.
The popular offshoot of the ALPHA programme, the monthly IGNITE prayer experience continued to be well attended, with parishioners afforded an opportunity for a deeper encounter with Our Eucharistic Lord and for some parishioners to share their faith journey.
The Adult 8-week Bible Study Programme, “Wisdom: God’s Vision for Life” proved to be successful with the 96 participants who were encouraged to learn to live with greater wisdom, through drawing from a variety of themes from the wisdom literature of Scripture including decision-making, finances, relationships, peace of mind, and relationships. The Children’s Liturgy of the Word for the First Communicants was introduced at the 11:30am Sunday Youth Mass at St. Ignatius. This was an opportunity for the First Communicants to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Liturgy of the Word at Mass as a part of their sacramental preparation. From the enthusiasm of the children and the interest of their parents, the programme has been well received.
The Annual Lenten Parish Mission was led by the Missionary Fathers of Mercy, Frs. Joseph Aytona, Jewel Aytona and Ricardo Pineda, Jr. The main focus of the mission was on Eucharistic Adoration. Other special liturgical celebrations included the Encounter Healing Service led by Fr. Mathias Thelen and Patrick Reiss, the St. Francis Xavier Eucharistic celebration in Konkani by Fr. Manuel Zuzarte, SAC, and the Simbang Gabi Masses in Tagalog celebrated by Fr. Henry Lozano, MOP. The annual Lenten Stations of the Cross, Via Lucis, Pentecost Praisefest, Global Rosary Relay for Priests, Priesthood Sunday, May Crowning, the World Marriage Encounter Weekend are just a few of the other liturgical activities that took place.
A large contingent of teens and adults from our Parish attended the Steubenville Youth Conference 2018 in Orlando, Florida in July. The Conference Theme was “REVEALED”. From the positive and enthusiastic feedback, our youth found the Conference to be inspirational; their faith deepened through a heart-changing encounter with Our Lord. The Annual Vacation Bible School also held in July was an amazing week, with 130 children registered, led by 85 enthusiastic teens and adults. The year’s theme was “Shipwrecked… Rescued by Jesus”, and featured attending Mass, Ship Wreck Games, Tropical Treats, KidVid Cinema, Bible Discovery, Castaway Sing and Play. The “Little Flowers” Girls Club and the “Blue Knights” Boys Club for our children continued to meet weekly as they earn badges and develop friendships in a faith and fun-filled environment. The catechetical programmes and the children clubs benefitted from the proceeds of a special performance, “A Holy Christmas Concert”, on December 8 by our parishioner, the talented Opera Singer, Georgina Gatto Deosaran.
In April, we bade farewell to Fr. Edwin Lawrence, our second Associate Pastor, faithfully served our Parish Community for almost 2 years. Fr. Edwin returned to India to take up a new assignment as Pastor.
Other activities of note were the Blood Donation and the CRS Rice Bowl Drives during Lent, the Earth Day Clean- Up programme, the Annual Parish Picnic & BBQ, the Spring Tea Party, Couples date Night, the Garage Sale & Car Boot Sale, Friday Fish Frys, Golf Scramble, the Annual Christmas Candlelight Service, and the All Saints Party and Easter Egg Hunt for children.
Below is a summary of the various activities as it relates to the stewardship of our Parish:
RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults): 8
No. of Students: 661
Graduates Yr 11: 45 - Yr 13: 29
Baptisms & Professions of Faith: 50
First Holy Communion: 47
Faith Formation: 294
ALPHA Adult: 131 -- Youth: 80
Bible Study: 96
Steubenville Youth Conference: 33
* VBS Registered: 131
* VBS – Vacation Bible School: 81
Evangelization Fund Raising (CI$)
Christmas: $ 34, 084
Golf Scramble: $ 5,017
Fish Fry (6): $ 4,497
Spring Tea Party: $11,168
Ash Wednesday Collection: $6,884
Garage Sale: $ 4,486
CRS Rice Bowl: $7,183
Caring and Sharing ….
The St. Ignatius Food Pantry continued to provide assistance to many families including those within the wider community. Through the ongoing generous donations by parishioners and fund-raising efforts such as the Garage Sale & Car Boot Sale as well as the Ash Wednesday Collection, the Food Pantry has assisted over 128 families with a total of 360 family members, since its launch in 2017.
Donations from the Poor Box, United Goan and Living Hope donations were used to assist members of our community who have sought assistance through the Parish Office.
The Church’s outreach ministries included the annual Advent Appeal Giving Tree for our local community as well as a special col-lection to assist the Very Rev. Fr. Devon Nash’s Parish community of Sacred Heart in St. Catherine, Jamaica, the annual Holy Land, Peter’s Pence and World Mission Sunday collections.
In February 2019, eight Parishioners travelled on a mission trip to Jamaica to work with Missionaries of the Poor (MOP). They joined the MOP Priests and Brothers in their various daily activities including ministering to the poor and destitute, the sick and disabled, the homeless and elderly.
Over the past 22 years, the St. Ignatius/Dorothy Rice Memorial Scholarship Fund Programme has assisted families who were not able to afford the full tuition at St. Ignatius School. To date, almost 180 children from over 120 families have received financial assistance.
In keeping with our commitment to assist the needy, plans are underway to re-establish the Society of St. Vincent De Paul and to launch the St. Pio Foundation.
Overseas Visitors …
We welcomed the Most Rev. Allen Vigneron, Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit; Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Harris of Trinidad and Tobago; the Rt. Rev. Arturo Cepeda, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit; Fr. Manuel Zuzarte, SAC; Fr. Michael Scherry, CC; the Fathers of Mercy - Fr. Joseph Aytona,CPM, Fr. Jewel Aytona, CPM, Fr. Ricardo Pineda, Jr, CPM; Fr. Henry Lozano, MOP; and Fr. Mathias Thelen and Mr. Patrick Reiss of Encounter Ministries as well as Deacon Mike Houghton and his wife, Anita; and Tom and Ann Graves of the Archdiocese of Detroit. We also welcomed home Fr. Joseph Kirkconnell, Fr. Tristan Abbott, SOLT, Sr. Maria Stella Maris, SOLT, whenever they were on Island for vacation.
New Assignment & Thank You …
At the end of May, Archbishop Allen Vigneron announced that, with the concurrence of the Provincial Superior, Rev. Pedro Camilo Simones, SAC, I had been assigned to a new pastorate in the Archdiocese of Detroit with effect from July 1, 2019.
My tenure at St. Ignatius is now at an end. With the support of our committed parish and school staff and the many dedicated volunteers that serve on the various commissions and committees, much has been achieved during my tenure as Pastor to ensure the sustained growth and development of our Parish and School. There was nothing that we could not accomplish as we worked together as a team with all hands-on deck.
To everyone, I extend my heartfelt thanks and heartfelt appreciation, especially to my Associate Pastor, Fr. Naveen D’Souza; Deacon Joseph Biggs; Director of Religious Education, Mr. O’Neil Miller; Liaison Co-ordinator, Mr. Jeremy Rice; Parish Secretary, Ms. May Ursua; Facilities Manager, Mr. Sambasivan (Sekar) Dhanasekar and Maintenance Staff, Mr. Jerry Garcia. I also wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the Parish Pastoral Council, the Parish Finance Council, members of the various Commissions, Committees, ministries, groups as well as all the volunteers, donors and parishioners who generously gave of their time, talent and treasure.
I am thankful to Our Lord for this welcoming and faith-filled parish community and pray, that through the intercession of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Vincent Pallotti, the Parish will keep striving to grow in holiness and charity, in love and service.
Fr. Suresh Rajaian, SAC