From the Pastor: Helping Fellow Parishioners
During the midst of this covid panic, the economy has taken quite a hit. Anyone who owns a large corporation that was deemed “essential” (including our governments, local and national) has no worries about it since they are thriving. The Mom & Pop businesses, though, were deemed worthless and have been forced to close, have had unsustainable restrictions forced upon them if they were able to reopen for an undetermined amount of time before the next closure, and have generally been put through the wringer. Many have been destroyed and many more are struggling to survive. But have you noticed that as I have been writing about this, that actual people have not been referenced? Yet for every business that gets mentioned, many, many real people have their livelihood at stake. I am not writing about some theoretical cosmic goo called “business” but rather about rea- life shops, corporations, and institutions which somebody or many somebodies (real people) worked hard to devise, to build, to manage, and to make successful. Each business employs real people with real needs who do real work for real recompense. Until they are deemed worthless, that is. I know, the word “worthless” was not used directly, but it was surely implied. There were seemingly only two types of businesses addressed by the politicians as they separated those that would stay open and those that would be forced to close. The “open” or “essential” businesses were the ones the politicians owned or the ones which owned the politicians. The “closed” or “non-essential” (worthless) businesses were the ones they were not relying on for re-election. If I am wrong on this or if their calculations were incorrect on this, the politicians who closed the majority of small businesses will all be voted out of office this fall. If I am correct, the incumbents will, by and large, retain their seats even though they have destroyed livelihoods, degraded the majority of hard-working people, inflicted grave harm on countless families, and basically ruled as tyrannical kings and queens. We shall see.
But this article is not specifically about the political evil which we are still experiencing. That was just a starting point to remind you that real people had their lives disrupted. Real people who need to pay their rent or mortgage, who need to feed themselves and their children, who need to keep their health insurance, who need to, well, support themselves and their families. And some of those real people are among us right now. I have heard from and prayed for a number of parishioners whom I believe to be very competent in their field of work who have lost their jobs during this time of economic turmoil and fear. I have offered encouragement to them when they were getting down and congratulations when they have gotten new jobs. I have even (with the help of other parishioners who know how to do such things) helped a couple find temporary assistance when things got really bad. But recently, as yet another parishioner said that he lost his job, I retorted with a smart aleck remark that I should start putting notices in the church bulletin to see if other parishioners might be hiring. Catholics helping fellow Catholics when the need was great, after all, is how the Knights of Columbus got their start, so maybe this is not a bad idea at all. I am not sure the best way to put this out in a church bulletin but I am willing to give it a go and see how it works.
The man I made the comment to is Alex Folkerts. You know him from the choir and from chanting the 6:30 am Mass several times a week. But he is also a computer programmer. I don’t know what exactly that means so I asked him to give me a few sentences to pass on. “I'm a seasoned, full-stack developer working in Agile software development with 6 years experience with Java, 6 years C# .NET, 3 years React.js, and 6 years Microsoft SQL. I've developed several key features in my previous position, developed multiple cross-product integrations, developed and enhanced REST apis, and implemented full unit and integration testing from the front end to the back end.” I still don’t know what he does, but if any of that makes sense to you and you need his skills, or if you know someone who may be hiring such a programmer, please let him know. Contact me if you don’t know how to reach Alex.
You might also know the Smith family (five children visible and one on the way). The husband/father manages a Lakeland print shop (https://mailpro.org/) which is struggling right now because families, neighborhoods, and businesses have not been able to engage in normal activities, many of which ordinarily require printed materials such as business cards, flyers, brochures, booklets, postcards, wedding invitations, and whatnot. If you have any printing needs, you might consider using his business over one of the big box stores.
I am sure there are others reading this right now who might also benefit from a bulletin mention. If so, send me a few lines about what you do, your skills, etc. and I will get it into future bulletins. If you are in a position of hiring, you know that an active Catholic’s work ethic, based on Catholic morality, will be (or should be, at least) better than your average Joe Sixpack. Plus, they have to face you at all parish functions, so they know they better do right by you!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka