“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
Dear Peterites and friends,
I pray that you are all having a blessed Advent.
By now, many of you have probably heard that I have been approved by the Archbishop to do some sabbatical studies in Rome. This will happen this coming January to April 2023. I am writing to you to share more details about it. Prior to my departure, my last Mass in the parish will be on Wednesday, January 4. I will return to the parish toward the end of April. I am grateful to God for this grace-filled opportunity for study and renewal.
The word “sabbatical” comes from “sabbath,” times of rest commanded by God in the Scriptures. From the document Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis (The Gift of the Priestly Vocation) the Catholic Church has ever more steadily recognized the importance of rest and ongoing formation and that priests “must constantly feed the ‘fire’ that gives light and warmth to the exercise of the ministry” (IV.b.80).
During my sabbatical, Fr. Paul Milanowski, a wonderful presence in our parish every winter will cover for me. He is a retired priest from the Diocese of Grand Rapids, MI as many of you know. He has been approved by the Archdiocese to work with our parish staff to ensure the bases are covered while I am away with the help of our ministry leaders and volunteers. Fr. John Baker of the Basilica in Key West, our Dean of priests here in the Keys, will be happy to give guidance to Fr. Paul and to our staff as needed. Life in the parish continues…
With this letter is a list of some frequently asked questions below. Please contact our office if you have additional questions or concerns.
I wish to thank our parish for your prayers and support for me in this sabbatical and for those who will be stepping in to key leadership roles. Please be assured of my prayers for all of you, too, especially at the Masses that we will celebrate at the Vatican with the Holy Father, Pope Francis.
I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!
Your pastor and brother in Christ,
Father Jets Medina
What will Fr. Jets be doing on his sabbatical?
Fr. Jets will study at the Institute of Continuing Theological Education in Rome. Part of the program is a canonical retreat in Assisi and a study pilgrimage in the Holy Land in Israel.
Who will cover what responsibilities in the parish during Fr. Jets’ absence?
Fr. Paul Milanowski will be in charge of pastoral matters (which includes Mass and other liturgy, sacraments, individual spiritual direction, pastoral guidance for our staff and ministry leaders, etc). His first weekend Masses will be on January 7 & 8 and his last weekend Masses for the season will be on April 29 & 30, 2023. Fr. Darin, our visiting priest from Lansing, MI, will also assist in some Masses and Confessions during his stay.
Our office staff will be in charge of administrative matters led by Ms. Nancy McCrosson, our Property Manager and Bookkeeper. In matters involving finances, members of our Parish Finance Council led by Ms. Rowena Frank will work with Nancy.
Who will cover the expenses of this sabbatical?
The total cost of this sabbatical is $ 23,155. The Archdiocese pays one-third of the cost, one-third by the parish, and one-third by Fr. Jets.
The parish’s one-third share is taken from Fr. Jets’ monthly food & transportation allowance, also from his annual retreat and professional development allowance, and from the mass stipend account and one earmarked donation to the parish for this sabbatical. We are happy to let you know that because of these sources of funds we did not have to do special collections nor go into the parish general operating budget to cover for the parish’s one-third share.
Fr. Paul’s salary and his rectory food and transportation allowance will come from the mass stipend account (i.e. from mass intentions and novenas). Fr. Darin’s stipend will also come from the mass stipend account. We thank God we have enough saved in this account to cover for the services of our visiting priests.
Whom do I call for pastoral care?
Please contact Fr. Paul in the office for pastoral care. He will be available to visit the sick or conduct funerals or baptisms. The office will help him coordinate. Fr. Jets will attend to any marriage preparations and weddings when he returns.
Will Fr. Jets be in contact with St. Peter’s during his sabbatical?
An important part of a sabbatical is to make a complete break from things. In the unlikely event that some extraordinary news must be communicated to him, Fr. Paul or Nancy, will know how to contact Fr. Jets. No major changes on our regular parish operations or church procedures will be made when Fr. Jets is away unless it involves the safety and security of everyone in our church property.
What if I have other questions?
Please contact the office for Fr. Paul, or Nancy, or any parish staff or ministry leader concerned with your question. Thank you.