Father Joseph's Reflection
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

It came to my attention a couple weeks ago that some of the doors to the church had been found either ajar or left unlocked after normal hours. This, of course, is unsettling, especially considering all that is in the church itself. I have seen first-hand the care which our sacristans and greeters take in making sure everything is secure before they leave. After looking into our policies and procedures I was confident that it wasn’t a mistake on a ministerial level. Next we looked into others who might have access and it seems that we haven’t changed the church locks in a good number of years. This means that everyone who has been given a key or access to a key over the last 20 years or sowould still be able to gain entrance. This isn’t that problematic in itself—I trust the people of the parish and don’t suspect malice of any kind—but when you factor in the possibility of human error it means that at this point we are not nearly as safety conscious as we could be.

With this, we are looking into a variety of options for increasing safety and security. It isn’t feasible to try and recall all the keys that have been distributed over the years; and rekeying within our current keyset is problematic because we would have to change all our locks so that the church key wouldn’t also open all the offices or the rectory. What we are most likely looking at is a new set of locks just for the church.

The reason I’m sharing this with all of you is: 1) To let you all know that there had been a security issue, but that it is being addressed; and 2) to remind all of you that we can’t really have people coming and going as they please. It is a major safety concern if we don’t know that someone is in the church, in case of fire, earthquake, etc. So please make sure that the office knows if you plan on coming in to help with flowers, altar linens, or other ministries of some sort, especially if it’s after hours or outside of the normal liturgy schedule; and 3) to let you know that the key you got 25 years ago when you were popcorn specialist for Friday Bingo may not work anymore, so don’t be surprised. It’s good for us to take a step back from time to time to re-evaluate and make sure we are being the best stewards possible, particularly in our turbulent culture.    

Prayers Always,
Fr. Joseph Altenhofen