From the Pastor: What’s New This Week?
Last week we bid a fond farewell to Mark Rosendale, commonly referred to as “the man who can do everything.” Many of you know him as the man who has been answering the phones at the church office for the past few years. Others know him as the man who makes things—anything, actually—out of wood whenever we need it. Still others know him as the man who gets the football off the roof, or the man who sets Father’s appointments, or the man who puts announcements in the bulletin, or the man who fixes the plumbing, or the man who sets the Mass intentions, or the man who... yes, the list could go on and on. Unfortunately for us, a while ago he moved to the middle of nowhere beyond Brooksville, where he now farms a small plot of land. He has a large garden and raises chickens, goats, cows, pigs, elephants, and dodo birds. Or at least some of that. Plus, he still teaches woodworking to a group of young men. But the drive to work was getting tiresome and expensive. He started working fewer days, hoping that being able to sleep in past 4:00 am on at least a few mornings would make the remaining commutes tolerable. But it didn’t work. About the same time, Fr. Pecchie was looking for someone to come and help at St. Anthony the Abbot parish in Brooksville, a full hour’s drive closer to Mark’s house, and he finally made the difficult and sad decision to cut even his last couple of days here.
If you have his email (Mark@EpiphanyTampa.com) in your list of contacts, it is time to change it if you wish to get through to the office. We were fortunate that Jennifer Whiskeyman (Jennifer@EpiphanyTampa.com) was willing to take his place. So say “hello” to Jennifer the next time you drop by the parish during the day. So far, I haven’t seen her climb onto the roof or install a water fountain, but she is taking charge of publishing the bulletin and (a big thing right now) scheduling Mass intentions for the new year. If you are trying to get an appointment with me or trying to schedule the use of a classroom for a group meeting or activity, give her a call (813-234-8693) or send her an email.
Also new to the staff are Liesa Gonzalez and Josefina Rodriguez, who are helping to keep everything clean and neat, and in proper order. The more respect you show toward God and your fellow parishioners by doing such simple tasks as throwing your garbage in the trash can or dumpster, making sure your children clean up after themselves, not littering the grounds or restrooms, etc., the more these ladies are able to focus on doing the routine cleaning that just cannot be done by every individual, such as mopping the floors. Please treat them well and remember, when they are at Mass, they are parishioners, not employees, so don’t interrupt either of them in the middle of their prayer (or other parish activities) and expect them to go clean up a mess somewhere. If fact, now that I am mentioning it, please keep that in mind with all of the parish staff. After all, something like, “Hi, Kim! Nice Epiphany celebration, isn’t it? Here’s the paperwork I was supposed to give you last week at the office but forgot to drop off. Oh, you have a plate of food in front of you, don’t worry, I’ll just set it under your plate” doesn’t exactly make for good relations!
Now for something a bit more trivial. Last week my glasses broke. The left nosepiece snapped off when I was cleaning them. A year earlier the same thing happened to the right nosepiece but I was able to get in to see the optometrist a few days later and he simply, under warranty, put my lenses into a new set of frames. It was the new frames that broke this time. These were not cheap frames as far as cost goes, but they were certainly cheap in quality. This time, though, I couldn’t go back to the optometrist since he retired and closed up shop two months ago. I wore the broken glasses for one day, having to hold up the frames when reading (such as at Mass!), and then dug out my older glasses from years gone by. These glasses are not only an old prescription but are also barely holding together, as the arms had bent at ninety-degree angles as I sat on them one day long ago and, while mostly straight now, are not exactly able to stay in place without a lot of constant adjusting. On Tuesday I was finally able to get in to get another eye exam and order new glasses, which should be ready in a week to ten days. In the meantime, I got a pair of contact lenses to try out and to tide me over until the new specs arrive. Of course, I had to also get a set of reading glasses, since I cannot read a thing, neither the breviary nor the missal, with my vision corrected only for distance. Having to put on and take off readers while celebrating Mass wasn’t so bad, but later that day I couldn’t read the computer monitor because it was too far away for the reading glasses to work and too close for the contacts to focus upon. So if you see me squinting or adjusting my glasses or using reading glasses for the next week, now you know why. And to think that I once thought it was pretty funny watching the “old people” trying to read at arm's length!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka