OLL Partners With VASJ
I am delighted to announce an initiative that I think is very exciting for the people of our parish and the wider community, that involves a different kind of collaboration between Our Lady of the Lake (OLL) and Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School (VASJ). VASJ and OLL are neighbors with many interlinked relationships, commitments and challenges. It makes sense that we should make the most of our shared opportunities to strengthen and build up one another. Unfortunately, last year VASJ lost its full-time priest campus minister. The loss of the full-time priest at VASJ creates a very practical opportunity for OLL to not only pray but also to act, and to act by praying. It is also an opportunity for us to be a church that “goes forth,” as Pope Francis has encouraged us. With all of this in mind, about a month and a half ago I approached Rich Osborne, the President of VASJ, with an idea: That OLL move one of its weekly daily Masses to the chapel at VASJ. OLL parishioners would be encouraged to come to that Mass as they would at OLL to pray with VASJ students. This would create a weekly opportunity for VASJ students to participate in the Eucharist, as well as a weekly opportunity for OLL parishioners to be present and support VASJ, not just praying for them, but also praying with them.
It seems that 9:00 am on Tuesdays will be the day, and we are working together on details like planning the liturgies, choosing music, and identifying liturgical ministers. VASJ has been very hospitable in addressing these matters, including reserving parking spaces for OLL folks and even sending a van or two to transport people if necessary. With each meeting we have to discuss this initiative, our enthusiasm for it grows. It is exciting to me to think how OLL parishioners, by just moving a half mile down the street, can make a real difference in the lives of many students. It is also exciting to me that this will allow us to keep in touch with and cultivate relationships with OLL parishioners who are VASJ students and alumni. We would also welcome parishioners who support VASJ but don’t attend daily Mass to consider doing so on Tuesdays once we begin. And this is just the beginning. There will be bugs to work out, to be sure. But I’m certain that as we go forward, we will discover other opportunities to “go forth” and collaborate that we have not yet imagined.
Fr. Joe Fortuna
Fr. Joe Fortuna, Pastor, Our Lady of the Lake