Frequently Asked Questions
We know that the more involved Parishioners are the stronger the Parish becomes. We also know that as we journey through life together, there are always moments that we pause to think about where we are going. Sometimes these moments cause us to ask questions about ourselves, our faith, our God and our church. We hope that this area of FAQ will enable you to have a place to ask your questions. We have, over the years, received many questions from Parishioners. As the saying goes, ‘If one person asks a question, there are probably many people with that same question.’ Therefore, a subcommittee of the Pastoral Council took on the responsibility to post these questions (many of which arose from our Parish Assessment in 2015). If you have a question you would like answered about St. Michael’s Parish, please forward them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to finding the answer to your question…and providing it to you privately or, if appropriate, sharing it with our Parish. Together, we become an ever more vibrant Parish.
What are the office hours?
- Memorial Day to Labor Day: Mon-Thurs, 9am-2pm
- Labor Day to Memorial Day: Mon-Thurs, 9am-3pm
What are the Mass times?
- Mon-Thurs at 12:10pm
- Saturday Vigil: 4:30pm
- Sunday: 7:30am and 10a
- How do I purchase a Mass card?
To purchase a Mass card, visit the parish office between the hours of 9am -3pm, Monday through Thursday. Barbara McMahon, our parish secretary, has the Mass book at her desk and will be happy to assist you. The office is closed on Fridays. Sister Kate is also happy to provide Mass cards before and after weekend Masses as time allows. The donation for a Mass card is $10. The person requesting the Mass card may ask that the Mass be offered on a specific date. If that date is available, we are happy to record the intention there. We prefer not to schedule more than four intentions for each Mass. If someone wants to schedule a Mass for an anniversary of some sort, they should do it far in advance to make sure that the date is available. The Mass book for a new year (e.g. 2017) typically opens in mid-September.
I heard about a VIRTUS training in our parish. What is this?
Protecting God’s Children® for Adults is training conducted by VIRTUS® certified facilitators on the prevention of child sexual abuse. The training makes participants aware of the signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and five easy steps one can use to prevent child sexual abuse. Two videos are the centerpiece of the training: A Time to Protect God’s Children™ and A Plan to Protect God’s Children™. The facilitators incorporate policies and procedures into the training defining child sexual abuse, addressing the reporting of child sexual abuse, the screening and selection of employees and volunteers, and victim advocacy. For more information, go to www.virtus.org
I want to become active in St. Michael’s Parish, but do not have a lot of time to commit. I know our parish does so many things…I am overwhelmed. How can I become involved just a little?
First, pick up a St. Michael’s Ministry Booklet in the hallway outside the Parish Hall. In that you will find a myriad of activities and opportunities to join a ministry. If you want a one-time activity to test your interest, contact any Pastoral Council Member or Sister Kate. We have everything from helping cook on a Monday of the Damien Dinner, to greeting guests to Mass, to helping with one of our Meet and Greet Sessions after Mass, to presenting your specialty in an educational session, just to name a few. Please do not hesitate to ask…we will put you or your name out to the right resource person! Every one of us is needed to make this Parish as vibrant as possible. Do not hide your talents!!!
Who can use the Parish Hall? Is there a charge?
We do not rent out the hall because of insurance concerns. We do, however, offer it to our families for gatherings after a baptism or funeral. We do not charge for this use, but families are free to make a donation and we just ask that they leave things the way they found them…cleaned up and garbage out.
I am thinking of becoming a Catholic. What steps do I take? How long is the process?
Call or email or stop in at St. Michaels to make an appointment with Sister Kate as a first step. Typically it takes a “year” to become a Catholic in the RCIA process. RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at St. Michael’s is a personalized process for which a sponsor is assigned to the candidate and they meet every week to share faith and the tenets of our faith.
I often see cars at Church when there is no Mass. Is there social activities during the daytime that I can partake of?
St. Michael’s is a very active parish. The cars that you see here at times other than Mass times may be staff cars, Ministry meetings for parishioners who belong to a ministry, or social activities to which everyone is invited.Once again, speak with Sister Kate…you might be interested in playing Dominoes, or knitting…or even simply reading quietly in our library corner. Many, many opportunities are available!
What is a Deacon and what do they do?
The deacon is an ordained cleric of the church. Only the bishop can ordain a deacon and similar to priest once a deacon always a deacon. To clarify there are two types of deacons. The first is the permanent deacon who will serve a parish as assigned by the bishop. The second is a transitional deacon who will become a deacon for a year then return to seminary and is usually ordained to priesthood within the next 12-13 months.
Below is a breakdown of the sacraments and the deacon’s role:
- Baptism: a deacon can baptize and many churches in the Albany Dioceses have turned all baptisms over to the deacon. With Father Mackey’s long history at St. Michael’s many people request him as he is their family priest. You may hear that anyone can baptize but lay people should only baptize under emergency circumstances.
- Holy Eucharist: only a priest can consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Deacons can distribute communion as ordinary ministers while lay people are called extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.
- Confirmation: this sacrament is usually done by the Bishop but a priest may do it if the Bishop has okays it.
- Penance: no questions only a priest can administer the sacrament of penance.
- Holy Orders: Only a Bishop can administer Holy Orders.
- Anointing of the Sick: only a priest can anoint but a deacon may very well visit as the gravely ill as I originally explained why the deacon’s role was developed.
- Marriage: a deacon can officiate at a Catholic wedding as long he has been delegated to so by the pastor. Again many churches have turned this service to the deacon of the parish. In some cases the priest performs all sacramental services.
Apart from the seven sacraments other ministerial actions the deacon may perform are blessings, expose the Blessed Sacrament and bless people with the monstrance. A deacon is permitted to preach as he receives what is called a faculty which is given or revoked by a Bishop. A deacon or a trained lay person may lead a service called Priest Less Sunday. This is done under the circumstances that a priest cannot be found to fill a mass or a priest has become ill just prior to the service.
Deacons take on many other roles in their respective churches but are not liturgically required to do so.
Personal answer from our own Deacon Bob Sweeney:
In Acts 6:2-7 the community is called together to select seven reputable men who would serve the community especially through the distribution of food and aid to the widows and children of the community. This was the beginning of the call to be deacons in the church. Even today during ordination the call is made to the Director of the Deaconate asking if the gentlemen being presented are of good character and reputable in their community.
So the role of the Deacon was to serve the community back then and it continues that way today. Many times the role of the deacon is to be the in-between for people who aren’t comfortable bringing things to the leader of the parish or priest. I feel it is somewhat like the white coat syndrome people have in doctor’s offices where their blood pressure automatically goes up 20 points. The deacon’s role is to assist at Mass and be an extension of the Priest to the community. Officially the deacon is able to witness at weddings & funerals and do baptisms. I believe the role of the deacon varies by the deacon and his own view of the role he takes on. Our liturgical requirement is to serve at least one mass per weekend where we are assigned, and we are to take on a service ministry that doesn’t necessarily need to be from the church we serve liturgically at. In my case when I started at St. Michael’s I did Eucharistic Ministry at St. Peter’s hospital and prayer services at various nursing homes. I did get involved in some of our service ministries also.
My deacon’s role here at St. Michael’s has been changed since taking on the role of Pastoral Care Director full time since July. I balance the work of Pastoral Care and my liturgical deaconate role to be sure both roles are fulfilled but neither is consuming the other. It is a little difficult as weekends in the Deacon role I don’t just shut down and not talk about pastoral visits I made to parishioners during the week. Since the beginning of my training I have always felt the desire to serve all masses at the church I am assigned. Each mass has a tendency to have a different flavor of parishioner as Saturday we have very few children attend; the 7:30 is a quieter mass, while the ten o’clock is our family mass with lots of kids, babies and movement. If I choose to serve only one mass I would miss the opportunity to meet our parishioner’s and their families.
The deacon role is to be a bridge between the Clergy and the parish. We offer an opportunity to talk to the clergy yet we are considered to be safer to talk to because we are not priest. Many people will say to me you understand because you’ve been there you have a wife or family. The ability to be an ordained clergy member while being married is an advantage I feel in dealing with parishioner’s who are having family issues or being able to comfort someone who is hurting. Although I think it is an advantage I feel my colleagues at St. Michaels have an amazing understanding of family and they feel others pain as though they were going through it themselves or with the families. Clergy and religious are not special people who have been set apart as immune to pain, suffering and grief. They are open to the same feelings everyone has plus many times especially for priest it can be a lonely journey yet fulfilling. I am very fortunate that my wife has always understood the call to the deaconate and when I am called to serve she is the one who will say first go be with the family.
Did I say that the deacon’s role is to serve!!!
As a widower, I struggle with loneliness. How can I take the first step to meeting others at St. Michael’s?
First, we are sorry for your loss. We want you to know you are not alone…especially in our midst. If you are comfortable speaking with S. Kate or Deacon Bob, please introduce yourself. Either of them can direct you to people and programs and ministries that can help fill your time and your heart. Check out our Parish Ministry Guide, you might find something that interests you, or, you might let us know of your particular interest or skill that might open new doors of service for our Parish! Know that you do not have to ‘jump in’ to something; you can visit meetings and/or talk with ministry chairs to see if your interest, time and schedule are a match. S. Kate or Deacon Bob can also introduce you to others who might be experiencing your same concerns. The key is letting us know you and your needs!