Saturday, August 20, 2016


Just got this from the chancery office regarding the state of affairs of the eparchy (diocese) and it is not a good situation as I see it from my perch high above the fray since I took an early retirement due to health reasons. Rather that respond at the end of this report sent to all the priests by the bishop, I thought I would interject my thoughts throughout the letter. As a prelude to my comments in red, let me just say that after being in private business for almost 20 years running my own company with seven employees and an annual six figure payroll, I speak with some knowledge of how a business should be run. Like many businessmen I have had banner years and when the market collapsed, like many, I not only lost my shirt but my underwear! Yet, there was one principle which all businesses adhere to and that is: "If you're not growing you're dying."  It's all marketing. It's selling plain and simple. 
August 9, 2016
Rev. and dear Father,
               Our Economos Deacon Robert Shalhoub has asked me to write to you to explain some imminent changes in billing.  If you read the last financial statement in the Eastern Catholic Life, you may have noticed the Eparchy has been subsidizing insurance in the amount of several hundred thousand dollars each year.  As you are also aware, fixed income investments are paying almost nothing now, i.e., interest rates are very low.  That means that the Eparchy has been spending its own savings just to maintain ongoing expenses of the clergy and parishes.  On the other hand, Deacon Shalhoub found enormous waste in these payments, so the changes won’t be as big as you might think from this opening paragraph.
Since the eparchy, which is a Non profit New Jersey Corporation "owns" all of the parish properties it carries the burden of insuring them.  This is unsustainable since most parishes can hardly pay the priest's salary which is then subsidized by the eparchy. As in my case, I took no salary for many months during my 17 years in Fort Pierce, and the eparchy who owns the parish claims it is the responsibility of the parish to compensate me for past due salary when in fact, as a corporation owning the parish properties, it ultimately has the responsibility of paying the priests's salary when a parish cannot meet its financial obligation. Regarding insurance of buildings, perhaps parishes could get a better rate depending in the state in which they are, and the condition of their buildings.
Many parishes should sell buildings which are seldom used as well. 
Where is this "enormous waste" that the bishop speaks about? Who wasted it and on what was it wasted? 
If the eparchy is depending on interest from government bonds, etc., then it will lose money. Perhaps investing in the stock market or municipal entities might bring higher dividends.
Have they even employed a financial manager to explore this? 
Right now, with medical, auto, pension, and salary, it costs about $4,500 each month to have a priest in a parish, $5,800 for a married priest.  (To be honest, I was surprised when I did the calculation.  I thought it was $4,000 per month.)  I believe it is essential for our future that the lay people are aware of what it costs to have a priest and a parish.  We are not doing the people a favor by withholding from them the actual cost of running their parish.  Many (or most) of them are not aware of how much it costs to maintain a full time priest and a plant with several large buildings for a handful of parishioners.
The monthly salary to my knowledge for a priest us $2100.00 per month which the parish is obligated to pay. The parish also pays a priest's auto insurance (though I paid for my own auto insurance). Again, most parishes cannot pay the salary on a monthly basis let alone monthly auto insurance premiums. For example in my former parish of about 30 families, our total monthly costs to sun the parish which included all bills (salary, electric, bishop's assessments, etc) came to roughly $5000.00 per month. Our monthly income most months was half that amount. Guess who suffered? I did for many months. The other parishes especially in Florida are in the same boat except maybe for one parish who was left money in a parishioner's will something that rarely if ever happens. And another parish is subsidized by a school who uses its facilities and pays rent. Were it not for that income, none of the Southern parishes could support themselves and few out of the 6 parishes in Florida do.   
As far as the medical insurance is concerned, there are a number of people receiving medical insurance who are not working, and so the Bishop has to pay for their medical insurance and will continue to do so.  The cost of our medical insurance has been coming down (while the rest of the country’s went up), but even so, our medical insurance cost per priest is more than we are currently billing the parishes.  This letter is not about changing the medical insurance. 
The minute a priest reaches the age for Medicare they're put on it faster than you can say God bless you.  Not only that, but the priests who reach retirement age are then relieved of the pastoral duties to save the bishop money being demoted to pastor emeritus which means pastor who got screwed after years of service getting a reduced retirement salary while living in the rectory. At least they're not moved to a shelter. The bishop says the parishes don't pay their "fair share" (sounds like Hillary Clinton or Obama" but does he reprimand the parishes? Does he write articles on stewardship in the church newspaper? Does he preach about it when he visits parishes? Does he threaten to close parishes that cannot support their priest? NO to all of those queries. Of course he doesn't have the stomach to do it. He doesn't want to look bad. He just wants to parade around have his hand kissed and soak up the adulation of the crowds. No he doesn't have the guts to do what he needs to do as he sees his churches empty out, donations shrinking, priests getting more disgusted discouraged and despondent. He could care less. He leaves the dirty work to his priests like me. When I would preach about good stewardship and state frankly that you need to double your weekly donation or more, I would get castigated and berated. Members would threaten to leave the parish, or worse start a campaign of hate for their priest as happened to me in Fort Pierce.  
The Eparchy has been subsidizing the property/liability/automobile insurance for several hundred thousand dollars each year.  In the past, each parish has been paying a rather arbitrary amount for property/liability/automobile insurance.  Some parishes pay more than their share, while more than one parish with over a million dollars in the bank paid almost nothing.  In the next month, each parish will be billed for the actual cost, that is, the actual amount set by the insurance company.  If you can’t pay that amount, talk to Deacon Shalhoub about it.  
So the bishop complains that some parishes have millions in the bank yet don't pay, once again, their fair share. I don't know if you know this but as a corporation, the diocese OWNS all church properties, and the bishop as the president of the corporation can do whatever he wants with all the monies of the parishes. So it is disingenuous for him to complain about what he himself is in charge of. I never had a parish that had money. Everyone I was sent to was dirt poor with not a penny in the bank while other priests got parishes flush with money and spent it like drunken sailors on a weekend binge building icon screens and other things in churches that lost half or more members, and were mostly empty on Sundays except for a handful of people and whose futures to this day remain bleak.  
At the present, all of our buildings are insured for “replacement” value.  It may be that some of our buildings should not be insured for that amount.  Perhaps some are not worth replacing.  In any case, your parishioners should know what their insurance actually costs.  Some pastors will actually have a lower bill since they won’t be subsidizing the other churches. 
Since the time of Bishop Dudick, most building built during his tenure could easily be sold since most were built as all purpose buildings where you would be able to close off the altar with a folding partition and hold bingo games. Maybe some can be turned into Dollar General stores! As for the other more traditional edifaces, they can be turned into restaurants, or dance clubs, or even lilke they did down here in Orlando, turned an old church into condos. Or just raze them and put up a parking lot or park with a nice plaque that reads:  "here stood a church that died a natural death." 
Next, let’s talk about the pension plan.  I am happy to tell you that the Eparchy has not been subsidizing the pension plan (so no big surprises here), and furthermore I am told that our pension plan is actuarially “fully funded”.  A recent article in the New York Times says that out of the 500 largest American companies, only 38 have a “fully funded” plan.  However, at the present, our contributions are incredibly low.  Deacon Shalhoub says that every Melkite parish is billed $600 every month for priest pension!  In addition, there is also inequity between our parishes.  Some of our parishes pay half of what other parishes pay.  The inequity came about in the past based on clergy distribution, but has never been updated.  So expect a small increase for pension payments for the parishes paying full amount, and a somewhat larger increase for the parishes making half a payment.  I hope to increase the payment over a year or two to $200 per parish.
Sure the pension plan is self funding for the following reasons. First, most priests die before they can enjoy retirement and so the funds remain. Second, the bishop due to the lack of priests won't allow priests to retire at 70 and so the funds remain. Third, he won't pay priests who because of health reasons take early retirement. Case in point, my situation. I would have been eligible in four years but because I was forced to resign my position in the parish due to health reasons, I have been denied my pension after being ordained 37 years. The bishop's other loop hole is that he claims that since priests do not put money into the pension fund,  we are not entitled to receive it automatically instead only if he decrees we are worthy of it. My question is this, if a priest is in a parish and the parish pays towards the pension plan for whom are they paying? Again, the bishop asks for more money from the parishes while he denys pensions for the reasons already mentioned. 
You may well ask, if the plan is “fully funded”, why do we need to increase our contributions?  Part of the answer is that past calculations were based on income from safe fixed-income investments.  In fact, the reason major corporations are no longer fully funded is because they also calculated that they would receive reasonable return on their safe investments.  For several years now, our government has been “printing money” and loaning it out at almost 0% interest.  Right now, treasury bills pay less than half a percent for a one year note, and 10 and 20 year notes pay less than 2 percent.  So our pension plan cannot rely on income generated from savings to pay your pension in the future.  Increasing the pension payments makes your pension more secure in the future.
And whose fault is that? Again the bishop must feel good when he bitches to his priests about having no money. Does he take responsibility for anything? Does this guy have a business manager wort their salt?  
To summarize:
Point One – It costs about $4,500 each month to have a celibate priest, at least $5,800 each month for a married priest.  Your parishioners should know that.
Point Two – We are billing less than our medical insurance costs, but we are not changing that now.
Point Three – The biggest change will be in liability insurance billing.  Both the Eparchy and some parishes have been subsidizing other parishes.
Point Four – The pension payments will be gradually increased, but not a great deal.
I believe that these changes are good for the future health of our Church at every level.  Thank you for all your hard work!!
To summarize:  
Point One: He talks about priests like commodities, and once again, when has he ever said these things to the people?  He takes on married priests and sends them to parishes (like recently to my old parish in Fort Pierce Fl, who owes me thousands in unpaid salary which the bishop says the parish owes me not him. Yet they cheer married priests as if that's the answer to the church dying. When will he realize and face the fact that he needs to combine parishes like the Roman Catholics have been doing for years now? There are cities in Pennsylvania that have two parishes when one parish not only for that one city but for the entire region would suffice. When will he deal with the fact that ethnic churches like this one will not survive.
Point two, three, and four......You'd think that the bishop would see the writing on the wall. This particular church is dying. It's on life support and mostly in a coma. Like some of my past members said to my face, they only hope the church survives so they can be buried in it. I guess after their demise they could care less about its future.  Candidly speaking most old timers have the same point of view. The rest of the bishop's whining can be summed up this way. He doesn't have a pulse of the people, the parishes, nor the priests, especially the priests. 
Instead of fixating on the financial health of the parishes, how about he spent a few minutes dealing with the spiritual health of them. Shouldn't he realize that as the president of the corporation, both the financial and spiritual health of the parishes is dire. Why doesn't he put out a chart not on finances, but show the people how many converts they have had each year, how many baptisms in each individual parish, , how many new families have joined each parish, how many weddings, how many children in each parish?  If you think the financial state of the churches is dire, knowing these other statistics would sound the death knell. Why? Because if you're not growing, you're dying plain and simple! Oh, and him thanking his priests for their hard work is like Pilate thanking the servant that brought to him the water to wash his hand with. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


You think it's easy to run a church? At SS Cyril & Methodius in Fort Pierce FL they did. They thought I would do everything since I did it so good. But when I decided to procure someone for the job of Head Sacristan I created this handbook. Probably after reading it no one came forward!

Head Sacristan
The Head Sacristan is an honorable position in the parish, since he is responsible for maintaining the proper liturgical atmosphere throughout the year based upon the
Liturgical Schedule.
He is to be a person of high moral regard by the members of the parish, as well as well organized, and meticulous in keeping all liturgical vestments, sacred vessels, and all other items used in the celebration of the Divine Services clean and in proper order.

General Responsibilities:

1. Opening the church prior to all services, and closing the church.
2. Setting the lights for Dropcam viewing.
3. Maintaining all proper Liturgical colors for Feast Days.
4. Setting out the proper vestments.
5. Changing incense as per the Holy Day
6. Having the proper Icons for all Holy Days
7. Setting up for special occasions (baptisms, funerals, weddings, etc.)
8. Organizing and maintaining proper storage areas for liturgical items in the church building or at the rectory/shed.
9. Cleaning and refilling all liquid containers.
10. Maintaining and cleaning all Liturgical vessels.
11. Setting up for all Divine Services in the Altar.
12. Taking inventory of all church supplies including votive candles, tapers, 3 and 6 day candle inserts, and requesting orders be placed as needed.
13. Requesting flowers to be ordered as well as other items as needed for major Holy Days.
14. Directing the placement of weekly flowers and special occasion floral arrangements as the feast may require.
15. Following the Liturgical Calendar notations regarding post and pre festive times for all Holy Days for the changing of the colors.
16. Acquiring knowledge of all liturgical services so as to be able to properly appoint the church for the services being celebrated.

Liturgical Vestment Colors:

Bright White: Easter
White/Gold  :
Sundays after Pentecost
Feast days of the Theotokos
Requiem Liturgies,
All Souls,
Exaltation of the Cross,
Weekdays in the Great Fast.
Requiem Liturgies celebrated during the week.
Green: Pentecost

Votive Glass Colors:
Sundays of Pentecost & Christmas
Milk Glass:
Feast days of the Theotokos
Requiem Liturgies, Funerals, All Souls, Exaltation of the Cross,  Great Fast.

I - Preparing the church:

1. Sundays throughout the year:
a. Wine and Water Cruets need to be filled.
b. Altar of Preparation needs to be readied by placing the chalice and chalice covers in their proper place.
c. The vesting table(on the right) needs to have the proper color vestments laid out in a specific way.
d. The priest’s books need to be placed on the Holy Table along with a copy of the handout of the Sunday.

2. Holy Days: (Depending on the day the Holy Day falls on, the church should be ready at least one day before. If Vespers is scheduled, then the church should be ready no later than the morning of the eve of the feast.)
a. Note: If “Litia” is being celebrated (usually for Major Feast Days) the Litia Tray needs to be cleaned and readied and placed just in front of the Tetrapod.
i. To ready the tray, the  shot glass is to be filled with wine and placed in the receptacle and all three (wheat, wine, and oil receptacles) need to be opened prior to the start of the service.
ii. The five small loaves of bread to be blessed, will be brought to church by Father for placement on the tray.
b. Proper color votive candle glass needs to be placed throughout the church. (With 2 hour candles for weekday holy days)
c. The lighting of the wall sconces are reserved for Major Holy Days, and special occasions such as Baptisms, Weddings, etc.

Lighting the church for various services:
1. Sundays:
a. Medium power all lights in Altar and church by 9:30AM. Full power in the church no later than 9:50AM for the Hours Service.
b. Festive rope lights to be on only for Holy Days.
2. Vespers:
a. Medium power all lights in the church until the singing of “O Joyful Light” in the Vesper Service. Then all lights to full power.
b. Half power in the church incl.chandelier (except the two can lights) when closing hymn is sung.
3. Evening Divine Liturgy/ Other Services/Funerals:
a. Half power 30 minutes before services.
b. Full power 15 minutes before services.
c. Half power in the church including chandelier (except the two can lights) when singing closing hymn (Except Funerals).

If you are first to arrive at the church and find the AC is not operational, you are to lower both thermostats to 74 degrees and press the  “HOLD” button.  After the services are completed you are to press the “RUN PROGRAM” button to reset the system to normal operation.

4. Funerals:
a. EVENING SERVICE AT THE FUNERAL HOME: To be readied for transport:
i. The people’s Parastas books.
ii. Red Dalmatics and cassocks for Altar Servers (2)
iii. Red Priest’s Felon and Stole
iv. Plastic Bin which contains mini-censer, charcoal, incense, hand cross, lighter, and container for soil.

i. The two floor candle stands need to be placed at the front of the altar area with candles lit.
ii. The Tetrapod is to be rolled to the left side of the church as the hearse arrives.
iii. Make sure:
(1) Funeral Liturgy Books are available
(2) double doors are opened just as hearse arrives.
i. Usually the priest will go alone to the cemetery if it is a distance from the church. The altar servers may also accompany the priest if the deceased is being locally interred. The following should readied:
(1) Plastic bin which contains mini-censer, charcoal, incense, hand cross, lighter.

(a) Make sure container is filled with soil from the church grounds to be used at the gravesite.
(2) Altar Servers should remain vested if they are going to the cemetery.
(3) the priest will un-vest, and attend the service at the cemetery with the red Stole only over his cassock.
(4) You as sacristan will not be obligated to attend the interment service.
(a) instead, once everyone vacates the church, you will return the church to the normal condition prior to the preparing for the funeral, relocating all items moved for the service, shut off all lights except those used for Dropcam, insuring the music is on as is the usual protocol.

(b) If you will not be remaining in the church until the priest returns from the interment, insure the priest knows that the church will be locked so that he knows to have keys to enter with the altar servers to un-vest.

Exposition of the Cross (Feast of Exaltation and Veneration of the Cross in Lent):
d. 100 Red carnations need to be ordered from, and Baby’s Breath purchased locally.
e. The special tray which holds the cross needs to be readied by attaching Floral Wet Foam to the tray with floral tape, then the eve of the feast carnations need to be placed around the cross, along with Baby’s Breath. The remainder of carnations need to be readied for distribution for the procession to the Great Cross at the end of the liturgy, by cutting the stems to about 6" in length, placed in two baskets and placed at the foot of the Icon of Christ at the Icon Screen.

5. Christmas:
a. Ordering Poinsettias from the church supplier.
b. Taking inventory of items needed for decorating the church, including lights, extension cords, garland, etc.
c. Scheduling a decorating crew for:
i. Exterior Church and Emmaus Hall decorating (usually two weeks before Christmas)
ii. Church decorating based upon the day on which Christmas falls.

d. Transporting  proper containers with church decorations from the storage shed at the rectory.
6. Theophany:
a. On Theophany eve, or whenever the Solemn Blessing of Water is to be celebrated, the Holy Water container in the church should be emptied outside of the church at the foundation including the dist at the entry, which is placed on the stand at the place of blessing.
b. Taking the roll out table from the ktchen, it needs to be covered with a white table cloth, and placed behind the Tetrapod (between the Tetrapod and the Solea).

c. There is a spare stainless steel container in the back room which needs to be cleaned along with the Holy Water container usually in church and both placed side by side on the table. They need to be filled to the brim with bottled water for blessing.

d. A three branched candle made up of three 7/8th inch candles bound together is to be near the table on a small stand, along with a metal hand cross, white towel (purificator) and holy water bucket for blessing. The proper Herb for blessing is Hyssop, however due to unavailability, dried Basil stalks can be substituted.
e. At the conclusion of the Pentecost Sunday Divine Liturgy all cut branches decorating the church are to be removed from the church and placed in the black “grass cuttings” receptacle near the garbage cans before the church is secured.
i. The exterior branches can remain however should be taken down once the branches dry out.

7. Great Fast/Easter Decorating:
a. Great Fast:
i. Ready all red altar cloths, icon draping, votive glass, candle glass, etc to be brought over from the storage shed at the rectory. completed for the first Friday Lenten Service.
b. Holy Week:
i. Bring processional items,  with church decorations from the storage shed at the rectory, including the Grave.
ii. Take inventory of processional candles to be used in the processions on Good Friday and Resurrection Matins.

c. Pascha
i. Coordinate ordering Easter flowers, and how they will be arranged at the grave.
ii. Choose a crew for setting up the Grave on Good Friday morning after morning services.
iii. Having helpers (ushers) to remove the grave just prior to Resurrection Matins according to the schedule.

8. Pentecost:
a. The green altar and icon cloths should be out the day before.
b. On Pentecost morning, tree branches will need to be cut down and placed throughout the church as well as outside the doors of the church and canopy posts.
i. It would be advisable to see where you will be cutting branches (preferably love oak varieties not palms) from. It is ok to cut them from your backyard, from the rectory trees or anywhere else you would be allowed to obtain them from.

9. Major Cleaning

1. Twice yearly before Christmas and Pascha, you are to arrange for the polishing of all brass, including:
a. Hanging Icon Lamps
b. All Candelabra,
c. Taper Stands (which should be taken apart for through cleaning)
d. dusting of Chandeliers damp wiping bulbs
e. Wiping icons on the Iconostasis with a damp cloth to remove smoke, as well as the side icons and crosses.

2. General Cleaning as needed of:
a. Fans in the altar area
b. Votive glass once blackened by candle smoke
c. Sanctuary lamp chain
d. All linens, altar coverings
e. Dry clean all soiled cotton albs as needed medium starch.
f. Soiled Sticharion (Rayon/Silk colored albs) dry cleaning only-no starch.
g. Used purificators in the hamper by the water cooler should be given to the person assigned to clean them properly every two months, or check to see if hamper is full more often. If you wish to take on this responsibility you must follow the cleaning protocol:
h. Purificator cleaning protocol:
i. Used purificators are to be soaked in warm water in a large glass bowl then squeeze the excess water from them into the bowl.
ii. Then the bowl of water should be taken and poured into the ground or flower bed, never dumped down the drain. Cloths are to be hand washed with simple soap and water, air dried, then ironed and folded appropriately:
(1) Once ironed take the rectangular cloth and fold both of the long ends to meet in the middle. Then fold to make a crease in the middle. The purificator should then be folded in half long end to long end to create an elongated folded cloth.
Just as the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament had those who were assigned to be sacristans of the Temple in their own right, you too are to have the same sense of wonder and awe at the
beauty of God’s Dwelling Place on Earth.”
Nothing should ever be “good enough” for God’s House. If you observe items that either are worn, need repair, refurbishing, or replacement, you are to see Father to see what can be done to address our concerns. Remember, the priest will never short change God, and if items need to be addressed in the church proper, they will.
It is your vocation and ministry to maintain the beauty of the House if the Lord so that those who enter it are uplifted and inspired. There may be larger even more beautiful churches in our Eparchy, but that should only want us to maintain, improve, and beautify what we have even more. God will smile upon all of us for how we keep His House of Worship.

“O Lord, sanctify those who love the beauty of Your House!”

Some cleaning tips:
1.  To have Honor Guard candles shine, wipe with alcohol.
2.  Use WD40 to shine processional crosses, fans, as well as fans and cross behind the Holy Table.
3.  Use lighter fluid to remove black scuff marks on the floor.
4.  Votive glass can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
5.  Use the hand held kitchen scraper to remove wax drippings from floor.
6. If wax is difficult to remove from votive glass, place glass in hot tap water for a few minutes and pry out with screw driver.
7.  Never place a new votive candle into a cup which still has the old wick holder still at the bottom. The heat generated by the old and new metal piece may crack the glass which is not tempered glass.
8.  To remove the small metal wick holder from votive glasses, simply push on one end of the holder, which has small dots on the bottom to allow pushing to one side to remove.
9. Metal wick holders placed in uncleaned votive glass will be more difficult to pop up due to built up wax at the bottom of the glass, use a lighter to heat the metal at the bottom of the glass for easy removal.
10.  To remove built up wax from candle followers, use a designated pot filled with water and bring to a boil on the stove. With tongs simple place brass follower in the hot water for a few moments then use paper towels to wipe excess wax off.


They wanted a parish.
They got one.
They wanted a full time priest, they got one.
Then like a dog chasing a car and catching it what.....Most members asked the same question.
Something I guess they never bargained for....I was fed up with the lack of stewardship of the parish this was composed in December 2013 to remind members saying hey you caught the car....not do your job!
It was met with a big yawn!


A compendium of the day to day responsibilities of having a parish.

Mt. 9-37
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Back to basics:

The role of the priest...abridged from the Code of the Canons of Eastern Churches:
1. Canon 288 - The pastor acquires the care of souls.

2. Canon 289 - §1. In carrying out the function of teaching, the pastor is bound by the obligation of preaching the word of God to all of the Christian faithful so that they may grow in faith, hope and charity rooted in Christ and that the Christian community may render that witness of love which the Lord commanded;

3. The pastor is also to lead the Christian faithful to full knowledge of the mysteries of salvation by catechetical formation accommodated to the age of each one; for giving this formation he is to seek the cooperation of the laity.

4. The pastor is to take care that the celebration of the Divine Liturgy is the center and culmination of the whole life of the Christian community; and also to labor that the Christian faithful are fed with spiritual food through devout and frequent reception of the sacraments and through conscious and active participation in the divine praises;

5. He is also to be attentive especially to confer the sacrament of penance to foster the Christian life; for which reason he is to make himself readily available to administer this sacrament.

6. In fulfilling the function of governing, the pastor is first of all to know his flock; since he is the minister of all the sheep, he is to foster growth in the Christian life both in individual members of the Christian faithful

7. therefore he is to visit the homes and schools insofar as the pastoral function requires it;  

8. to look out zealously for adolescents and children; to exercise paternal love for the poor and sick. Finally he is to have a special care for laborers and strive that the Christian faithful offer assistance in the works of the apostolate.

Canon 290 - §1. In all juridic affairs the pastor represents the person of the parish.

9. §2. Sacred functions of greater importance, such as the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation, the blessing of marriages, without prejudice to can. 302, §2, the ecclesiastical funeral rites, belong to the pastor.   of this.
10.  The eparchial bishop is to issue norms which provide for the care of the parish by a priest possessing the necessary powers and faculties during the absence of the pastor.
11. Canon 294 - The pastor is frequently to celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the people of the parish entrusted to him but is bound to celebrate it for them on the days prescribed by the particular law of his Church sui iuris.

(Nowhere does it say the priest is to be in charge of any fund raising, kitchen work, custodial obligations, or anything else unrelated to the priestly ministry. That is the job of the faithful.)
Parish Members Task List
1. Custodian:
a. In charge of everything related to the proper and complete upkeep of the church building interior and exterior.
b. Repairing and replacing security and vanity lighting.

c. Cleaning the alleyway between the church and kitchen, with the proper storage of all items.
d. Maintaining order in all closets, storing of church items, candles, vestments, and all church related items.
e. Cleaning Emmaus Hall as needed, including windows, doors, walls repairing and repainting as wear dictates.
f. Monthly changing of AC filters, and repairing toilets if leaking, faucets, and outdoor irrigation system repairs.
g. Setting up and taking down tables and chairs for different functions, dinners, seminars, etc.
h. Weekly cleaning of toilets on both sides of the church.
i. Monthly cleaning of the Annex Class room area.

2. Head Sacristan:   Please refer to the Hand Book for the Head Sacristan
a. Set up for all Holy Days putting the proper color candle glass, altar and priest’s vestments, icons for each feast, as well as preparing special items for each Holy Day (The Cross for Exaltation, and Great Lent).
b. Forming a decorating committee to decorate the church for all major Holy Days like Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Exaltation:
i. Includes bringing all decorations from the shed at the rectory.
ii. Setting up the Christmas display, as well as the Grave at Easter.
iii. Prepackaging all decorations after the feast days have ended and returning them to storage.
iv. Submitting a purchase request to the parish secretary for candles, tapers, charcoal, flowers, etc.  

3. Assistant Sacristan: Weekly manager of preparing for all liturgical functions.
a. Preparing for the celebration of all  Liturgical functions: (Requires arriving at church minimum of 45 minutes before any service)
i. Lighting of all candles based upon the type and length of services being celebrated.
ii. Preparing the Holy Table, and Altar of Preparation.
iii. Assisting the Head sacristan as requested.
iv. Naming someone who, in your absence, would fill in for you.        

4. 1st Cantor:
a. To be responsible for the proper leading of  all Liturgical Services:
i. Printing out and preparing all liturgical music (hand outs) from cantor’s website as needed.

ii. For major Holy Days, bringing booklets from storage at the Annex as needed.
iii. Preparing the music for each liturgical function ahead of time.
iv. Practicing with assistant cantors prior to the services.
v. Coordinating with the priest all musical choices for services.
vi. Reviewing all special liturgical functions with the priest.
vii. Holding practise sessions with the priest and assistant cantors on a regular basis, as well as scheduling classes for members.
viii. If an absence is required it is the cantor’s responsibility to assign someone to lead the singing in their absence.
b. Assistant Cantors:
i. Reviewing all liturgical music with the 1st cantor as needed.
ii. Assisting with the preparation of all services as requested.
iii. Substituting for 1st cantor as the need arises.
iv. Meeting prior to all holy days to practise, as well as improve the singing of all services.

5. Church cleaners: (NOTE: The Head Sacristan is responsible for seasonal and Holy Day candle changes)
a. The temple of the Lord much be cleaned thoroughly each week by:
i. Damp mopping all floors.
ii. Dusting pews, sills, candle racks, altar areas, emptying recyclables for proper disposal as needed.
iii. Cleaning windows, candle stands at the icon screen.
iv. Cleaning the book racks, removing old handouts, papers, etc.
v. Dusting the chandeliers at least once a month, scheduling a Saturday for members to assist in a deep cleaning before Christmas and Easter including polishing of all brass vigil lamps, cleaning of all votive glass, cleaning of all candle followers, and wiping chandelier light bulbs.

HEAD USHER: (See Usher Training Manual for details)
1. The head usher must coordinate and schedule no less than three ushers for Sunday Liturgies.
2. To assign at minimum one usher for weekday and Holy Day Liturgies.
3. To hold practises with ushers on major feasts such as Pascha, or parish celebrations where larger than normal attendance will be possible.
4. To train and be trained in the proper greeting and seating of visitors, especially when attendance is expected to be heavier.
5. To make sure all ushers are properly dressed for all services, with jackets and ties on major Feast Days.
6. To make sure ushers jackets are properly stored away, and to schedule dry cleaning as necessary.
7. To make sure the proper envelopes and or letters by the pastor or other handouts are given out when required.
8. To train ushers when seating latecomers not to seat them during the homily, and only to seat people down the side isles.

9. To know how to safely and quietly deal with any emergency which may arise, due to illness, or any other situation.

CHURCH SECRETARY/Assistant Secretaries

IN GENERAL: It is the job of the parish secretary and assistant secretaries to represent the church and the pastor in the proper manner, never getting involved or taking sides in disputes amongst members or members who have disputes with the priest. They are to remain neutral in all occasions, and are to report such conversations immediately to the Pastor or on of the Parish Advisers. Failure to do so will cause immediate termination.
 The other areas of importance are:
1. Inspecting the present filing system, and as warranted revamp and organize the office filing system, storage and general office procedures, bringing all files up to date, archiving older files, and general cleaning up of all files, making electronic copies of files as needed.
2. Keeping of the Church's Sacred Records, seeing that all official entries are made in a timely manner.
3. Making sure all special collections are prepared for with their proper envelopes each month.
4. Email important notices and announcements, including weekly bulletins, pastoral letters, letters from members, along with responses.
5. Recording of Liturgy intentions on the yearly calendar, and collection of the priest’s stipends.
6. Recording and collection monies for candle remembrances, monthly and weekly.
7. Weekly recording of all envelopes/donations from parish members.
8. Printing of weekly handouts for Sunday liturgies, and for scheduled Holy Days.
9. Printing and collating of weekly bulletins/handouts/pastoral letters.
10. Sending thank you notes for non parish members.
11. Sending thank you postcards for all weekly visitors.
12. Taking periodical inventory and ordering all church and office related items (palms, office supplies, seasonal collection envelopes, candles, etc) as needed.
13. Dealing with all office related correspondences, phone messages for church and kitchen as needed.
14. Being the personal secretary to the pastor, keeping all correspondences/conversations strictly confidential, (oath of confidentiality required) as well as all other church related issues.
15. Welcoming occasional weekly visitors, giving tours of the church as needed.
16. Coordinating pick up of foodstuffs with the local food banks/KofC.
17. A “Promise of Confidentiality” agreement must be signed and witnessed by the parish advisors.

1. To send greetings and thank you emails to all visitors who leave their email address when visiting for the first time.
2. To follow up in a few weeks re inviting them to our church.
3. TO be involved in evangelization efforts of the parish.
4. To coordinate and bring in new “Greeters” after proper training.

This new position requires the knowledge of all areas of computer social media including Face Book, You Tube, U-Stream, etc. This person will be responsible for the following areas:
1. Keeping all social media up to date, including Face Book posts of parish activities, video entries to You Tube, and new venues such as U-Stream.
2. Writing publicity promoting our special holy days, and making other new announcements to email to local media.

CHURCH BOOKKEEPER: NOTE: Must be proficient in the use of Quick Books.
1. Record all collections and post to proper accounts.
2. Pay bills twice monthly.
3. Reconcile with the bank accounts on a weekly basis.
4. Make monthly reports for distribution to members.
5. To enter members donations and to complete annual stewardship reports.

1. To ask for qualified individuals to be religious instructors. (They must undergo a background check in keeping with Eparchial “Safe Environment” directives from the Chancery).

2. To coordinate a program for the parish children up to and including the age of 8 years, with approval of the pastor.
3. To schedule special children’s Liturgies at the start and end of the ECF program each year.
4. To meet with the pastor to discuss curriculum, schedule special events, outings.
5. To aid in the formation of the parish “Byzanteen” group for all children 12-1/2  years of age and up.
6. To coordinate processions for Christmas and Pascha.

Parish Arborist:
a. To be in charge of season planting of flowers at the Shrine and in front of the church.
b. Maintaining flowers and bushes at the Shrine area, replacing and pruning as needed.
c. Coordinating a decorating committee for Christmas decorating.
d. Replacing the flag once a year or as needed. (Request flag to be ordered)
e. Advising a Parish Advisor of any special needs and reimbursements for items/flowers purchased unless donated.                                                                                                          
Gift Shop Manager:
1. To maintain the gift shop by:
a. Keeping the display case areas maintained with inventory.
b. Submitting requests for ordering merchandise.
c. Making sure seasonal items are ordered at least 6 months in advance.
i. Christmas items should be ordered just after the Holy Day since many items are discounted then. The same goes for Easter items, which should be ordered after Pascha.

d. Changing seasonal items as needed.
e. Cleaning the display case and adjoining area on a regular basis.
f. Creating an ordering catalog of assorted jewelry but with retail prices, and coordinating with the parish secretary for ordering items as sold.  

Coffee Social/Special Events Coordinator:
1. To schedule Sunday coffee socials, as well as planned covered dish luncheons on special occasions.
2. To insure inventory of cups, utensils, plates, etc.
3. To determine the items to be offered for the various affairs, and to make sure inventory is sufficient.
4. To create a volunteer list for the weekly socials.
5. To have a monthly birthday cake for all members celebrating a birthday that month. To be held the first (or last) Sunday of the month.
6. To manage donations and properly keep records of donations.
7. To make sure inventory of all paper goods and other items are sufficient, and to make requests to Kitchen Head for ordering items needed.
8. To request assistance with setting up for special covered dishes including having a clean up crew assigned to include:
a. Scheduling in advance special celebrations.
b. Discussing with the PAB implementation of said events.
c. Delegating any responsibility they deem proper.  

1. To schedule the dates for the yearly garage sale sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
2. To take the  accumulation of items for the garage sale to the storage shed as necessary.
3. To seek volunteers to set up and take down tables and items.
4. To have sales people.
5. To notify the bookkeeper for start up cash for the event.
6. To notify the secretary to advertise the event in local papers, area church bulletins and other venues.


1. To make sure workers are made aware of all cooking and baking days for all of the items offered in the Slavic Kitchen.
2. To count the proceeds and make the weekly deposit on Saturday for all proceeds of the past week.
3. To coordinate and maintain all inventory for the proper running of the kitchen, including:
a. Purchasing of all ingredients for:
i. pirogies
ii. Pastries
iii. Stuffed Cabbage
iv. Kielbasa
v. Easter Bread
vi. Soups
vii. Halushki

b. Ordering of all boxes, tins, plastics, and all other packaging materials.
4. Arranging for assistance to purchase inventory and deliver to the church.
5. Scheduling cooking and baking days as warranted.
6. Schedule kitchen cleaning with Sparkling Clean company.
7. Managing and scheduling the advertising.
a. Changing hours of operation for Christmas and Pascha,
b. Updating content of ad as needed.
8. Find assistants who will prep for the following items scheduled to be made on a given day.
(NOTE: HAND BOOKS are available for all of the individuals who will take on the prepping responsibility.):
a. Pirogie Prep
b. Kolach Prep
c. Stuffed Cabbage Prep
d. Halushki Prep
e. Kielbasa Prep
f. Soup Prep

g. To handle the counting and depositing of the weekly collections.
h. Advisors are to meet regularly with the pastor to discuss various topics regarding parish activities, and reports from parish departments.
i. To discuss the topics with the PAB.
j. To insure the proper functioning of all areas of parish life.
k. To plan and coordinate special events such as picnics, dances, anniversary celebrations and to bring them up as items for discussion and action to the PAB.
l. To insure deposits and financial recordings are up to date and that the check books balance on a monthly basis with reports given to them by the bookkeeper.  
m. To field non confidential questions and concerns from members and if necessary brought to the attention of the pastor and or the PAB.


PARISH COUNCILS / PASTORAL COUNCIL / FINANCE COUNCIL (reprinted from the Eparchial archives)
1. In every parish there can be a parish pastoral council which is advisory to the pastor. By whatever name, this council is designated on the local parish level, it is a pastoral planning council. (Canon 295)
2. Members of the Parish Pastoral Council are recommended by the pastor for a two-year term.
3. Each parish pastoral council is to draw up a plan of organization and operation. (Canon 295)
4. Specific areas to be considered when drawing up plans of organization and operation are as follows:
A. Frequency of meetings - It is recommended that meetings be held at least quarterly.
B. Number of members – This is left to the discretion of the Pastor. But, it is recommended that the number of members be not less than three.
C. Areas of responsibility, Pastoral Council:
1. Prepare and supervise the implementation of a parish mission statement. (Statute 162.3)
2. Prepare and supervise a three-year plan for parish growth, addressing all areas identified in the parish mission statement.

3. Encourage service to the outside community in which it is located.
4. Propose and carry out programs of evangelization and insure that all organizations and activities of the parish are imbued with an authentic spirit of evangelization, in accord with the policies of the Eparchy of Passaic. (Canon 585 §3) TO INCLUDE MANAGEMENT OF CABLE TV ADVERTISEMENTS FOR OUR CHURCH.
5. Review recommendations of the pastor regarding the establishment of other parish boards. (Canon 295)
6. When a new pastor takes office, he may elect to retain the current Parish Pastoral Council or establish an entirely new board. The new council can be established at any time.
7. Review of contracts between the parish and outside parties.
D. Areas of responsibility, Pastoral Council and/or Finance Council:
8. Reviewing and maintaining security procedures for handling money.
9. Consult with pastor for expenditures in excess of a specified amount.
10. Implementation of eparchial payroll policies.
11. Recommending to the pastor financial policies dealing with the maintenance of parish accounts, relations with banking institutions and investment strategy.
12. Providing consultation on the financial feasibility and projected resources to support and plan large parish projects.
13. Establishing guidelines for the discussion of parish financial matters.

Isaiah 58:9-12
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger,
the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
  The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
  Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.


I'm a first generation American.
When my parents came to this country back in the 1920's they got two addresses: one of where they were going to live, and two, the address of their church.
Both surprisingly were only blocks apart. You see, in many cases, when immigrants (the legal kind like we used to have) came to America they had to have sponsorship. In other words, someone already here had to vouch for the newly arrived guaranteeing that they would have housing and someone to help them get assimilated. There were no government housing or freebies like there are today. When you came to America back then you either made it on your own or you went back home!
But the biggest thing that separates immigrants then and now, is that they came here to become AMERICAN!  My mom and dad wanted so much to shed their "old world" ideas and nationalities. They loved their homeland its traditions and culture, but they wanted and made every effort to love America their new home more.
So they did everything they could to Americanize. They studied and perfected their English to the point that in a few years you would almost thing they grew up here. Sure they loved their old world traditions which mainly centered around their church but that was it. They were not hyphenated Americans, but simply American period end of conversation. As a matter of fact where my parents came from wasn't even a country but a region in the what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire under Empress Maria Teresa.  Sure they knew the one horse town them lived in and or the county, but there was no country until Czechoslovakia was formed, my parents nearer the Slovakia portion. It was called many other names like Ruthenia, Sub-Carpatho Ruthenia, stuff like that.
Mother's Club, Men's Club, Ladies Guild, Holy Name Societies, Sodality, Professors, CCD, Minstrels, Polka Dances, Hunky Weddings, Holy Name Parades.
All of the above were organizations and events which created a nucleus around which family live revolved.
The Mother's Club was for the older "Babushka" wearing grandmothers. Their activities centered around praying the Group Rosary usually at the 10 O;clock mass every Sunday. They would do it in such a wild and eerily way.  They would chant it. That's right. It sounded almost like the Muslim call to prayer or some Greek Orthodox chant. Basically monotone droning with one leader who would receipt the first part of a prayer (like the first half of the Hail Mary), then the rest chiming in for the second, and back and forth in unison with slight inflections upon important words, and of course always in "Old Slavonic" the ancient language of the Slavic Churches, and later on most Slavic speaking peoples.  I can still remember as a kid walking into St. Michael's in Passaic NJ when my dad wanted to go to the 10 O'clock mass because it was in Old Slavonic and hearing the chanting. It was like entering another world. It was hauntingly beautiful.
The Men's Club was for men of all ages. Mostly they would meet down in the basement of the church where most activities in most churches took place as a rule. Of course libation would be available and they would plan beefsteak dinners for men only of course, they would organize church picnics schedule ushers for the 5, count em, five masses on a Sunday morning: 6:30, 7:15, 8:00, 10:00 and 12 Noon with almost every one full in a church that sat 300 people comfortably! In a way it was like a mass factory since sometimes the priest would take longer than the time allotted and so you had people leaving one mass while others crossing paths to catch the next. You even sometimes had one priest leaving the altar with another approaching it as if they were a tag team!
The Ladies Guild could be likened to a woman's club today. It was mainly for the younger women and mothers of small children. They would plan fun events like Calendar Parties, Themed dances and dinners, outings, bake sales, and other social events.

The Holy Name Society was an extension of the man's club and those who were a bit more religious minded. Let's face it, even back then more women attended church than the men. How did I know that? Well in St. Michael's you had a wide church so much so that it not only had the main isle, but two side isles as well. The very right side of the church was the "men's side" complete with little metal clips on each pew back for the men to clip their hat to. Non of the other three rows of pews to the right (the women's side) had them. That's right.  Unlike today, men sat on one side of the church and the women even though married sat on the right usually with the children. Today couples sit together and sometimes I think they forgot they're in church and not at the movies with their arms around each other like the're ready to neck!

The Sodality was an organization which was for girls.  There would be mixers and other events like the May crowning, where virginal young ladies would process all dressed in white dresses with veils to a statue of Mary in a grotto or inside the church and the "Queen" of the May Crowning had the honor of placing a wreath of flowers upon the head of a statue of Mary followed by recitation of the Rosary, then Mass  then a breakfast. The Sodality centered around devotion to Mary with the quaint notion that all girls would remain virgins until marriage. It doesn't exist anymore! Maybe it's because of the 'virgin' thing...

Professors could be likened to the Jewish Cantors. In fact that's what we called the leader of the congregational singing to this day. The cantor of a church was probably more important than the assistant pastors because they, at the time, studied church music as a profession. That's why they became "Professors." They were taught by other professors from their families or from their churches. There were schools also which taught the Slavonic Plain Chant which was in and of itself a miracle of tonal variety depth and spiritual emotion. They were paid salaries and as a result many devoted their entire lives to being the Church Cantor.
The chant system was taken from the Greeks and then "Slavisized" with many Slavic melodies many derived from Gypsy music which were more melodic had greater emotion and melancholy when compared to atonal Greek chant. The Slavs, as C-3PO lamented to R2D2 when they landed in the Tatoine desert, believed that they were "meant to suffer," and they did through war, famine, oppression and totalitarianism and as a result the church music as well as secular music reflected that.  Actually the Cantors had to be more knowledgeable than even the priests since they carried the majority of the responsibility of leading the congregation in singing the numerous and musically complicated services celebrated throughout the year. Today there are no more Professors. There are no more schools and I dare say men willing to dedicate their lives solely to being the church cantor on a full time basis, especially since most parishes today could not afford to pay them as they did in the past. Today even, most cantors and not trained in voice nor the techniques of leadership as in the days of old. What's worse is that most parishioners do not take the time, nor are they interested to learn the music either. They are expecting to be entertained even though celebrating liturgy means work of the people.

As for the other church centered activities like  CCD, Minstrels, Polka Dances, Hunky Wedding reenactments, Holy Name parades, all for the most part gone the way of the dodo. The church is no longer the center of family life. There used to be a saying that you should meet your sweetheart "at the communion rail." Today they're met at the bar rail or in online chat rooms. CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) was seen as the Catholic Boy's and Girl's club where youngsters of the same faith could enjoy themselves doing church things. Minstrels were the politically incorrect reenactment of old vaudeville acts complete with white people in blackface performed with no evil intention but would be seen today as bigoted and racist. The polka dances were the best. I remember as a kid running all over St. Michael's auditorium, up in the balcony, down in the basement with the other kids while mom and dad dances polkas, Obereks, and other hunky favorites. (Hunkies was the slang term for Eastern European immigrants, like calling the Irish 'Micks', the Italians 'Guineas,' and Germans 'Krauts.)
The Hunky weddings were also reenactments of weddings held in the Old Country. Even Slavs were able to make fun of themselves, with various cast members representing the bride and groom, the parents, the priest, cantor, odd people in their neighborhood including the town drunk something akin to a Slavic Fiddler on the Roof spoof.
And the Holy Name parades were just that. Parades sponsored by all the area Catholic churches where bands from local high schools, dignitaries, floats and Holy Name men would parade from a church parking lot to a high school football field where a religious service of all things would be celebrated. People would line the streets to watch the various church sponsored groups of men all dressed up in tuxedos marching with little Holy Name Society pennants in their hands. Who could imagine such a parade like that held today?

So what's left you may ask?
After the influx of the immigrant population that came to America and that filled our churches in the golden days of the early 20th century, the immigration from the old country subsided. As the Slavs became more successful they moved away from the neighborhoods in the shadow of their churches. A great exodus ensued leaving Byzantine Churches today in the middle class neighborhoods pursuing other interests and entertainments,  not a bit interested in what the Byzantine Slavic Church is all about.
The children of the baby boomer generation as well as their children didn't meet  their wives or husbands at the communion rails of our churches (not that we had them) but in other denominations especially Roman Churches, then moved far away never return to the Byzantine Church. I believe the reason is because the "Greek Catholic Church" (later becoming called the Byzantine Catholic Church)  chose to hide it's ethnicity which to this day has preserved other ethnic churches like the Greeks, Ukrainians, Serbs, etc. The "Ruthenian" or Greek Catholic Church is today but a footnote in the struggle of the Austro Hungarian Empire and the wars that followed which divided Europe time and time again leaving our ancestors with no official homeland from which not only immigrants could still come to America but no Slavic identity which as has already been said sustains other ethnic churches here in America.  Sadly in the not too distant future, the Byzantine Catholic Church unable to draw new members here or from abroad nor invigorate their existing ones  will hasten the fall of the Byzantine Catholic Church.