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 The Rose Celebrations 

It’s time to address the subject of the annual parish Festival of the Roses and how we might maintain the tradition in 2018 while making some changes, at least for this transitional year.

Last September a group of prior festival organizers, as usual, began a series of meetings to address the planning of the Festival.  Immediate attention was given to the growing awareness and vigilance around the use and consumption of alcohol.  Issues of safety and liability are a growing concern to everyone including State liquor authorities.

Of greater concern, however, has been the trend of relatively low profits derived from the festival, particularly in light of all the person hours that go into its planning and execution.  It has been more difficult each year to enlist an adequate volunteer corps to help alleviate the over burden on a relative few workers.  It also seems debatable as to how much community-building and fraternity actually develops during the festival, especially since the church mortgage was paid off.  As I talk to fellow pastors, these four concerns exist in other parishes as they continue to eliminate, downsize and rethink their festivals.  While several people at SJB were willing to make the effort this year, there was little real enthusiasm at the prospects of persevering through another year under these conditions.

As such, we have planned what we are calling ‘The Rose Celebrations’.  We have considered the main components of the original festival, but have tried to plan them in a fashion that is minimally labor intensive and with limited liability, but also allows for quality socializing and even some profit in the end.

The three components will be as follows with more detail to come soon:

1.  ClubRose: Dinner and Dancing, Grand Hall at the Gateway.  Saturday, May 12th.

2.  St. John the Baptist Tournament of Roses Golf Day, Saturday May 19th.

3.  Rose Buddies:  Family Day at Boondocks after 11:00 AM Sunday Mass, May 20th.

Even though this year’s configuration is different, we have retained the original motif of Roses.  The roses of course refer to the flowers given to Juan Diego by Our Lady of Guadalupe as a proof of her presence and intercession.  The sixteenth century in (what is now) Central and South America was highly transitional and tumultuous, but the Church and the Catholic believers prevailed in a relative state of order because of the constant care of God and the intercession of Mary.  The roses still represent the same promise in our age among a faith-filled people.

This year as we continue to develop our new Mission, Vision and Pastoral Plan, we will put more emphasis on gatherings which will develop the type of closeness and spiritual depth that we need to ‘Build Up the Kingdom of God’.  Good things are happening.

This year’s celebration will be as fun and successful as we choose to make it, even in its transition, and it can also be a good time to let our collective creativity reimagine how it might be even better in years ahead.

I would personally like to thank the whole St. John the Baptist Community for all the support and good faith offered in this transitional year for me as the new pastor.  We will continue to grow in faith and mission readiness in the coming years.  God bless you.

Fr. Rick