Serving the Needs of the Parish — By Donna Blauch

DonnaAs we celebrate Christ the King this weekend and the end of the church’s liturgical year, we look forward to the new year in the Church with hope, continued blessings, and renewed hearts and spirits. We are so fortunate to have a parish that continues to grow with a vibrant and active community comprised of both resident parishioners and students. I am so blessed to be part of this community and have been honored to serve as your parish council president for the past two years.

But as the church year comes to end, so does my term as the president. It is time for me to reflect on what the council has accomplished this year and what goals are expected for the future of the parish. When I first joined the council, I do not think that I had a complete understanding of the mission of the parish of St. Thomas More Newman Center. Through my work on the council and through the relationships and friendships I have made with both the resident and student parishioners, I have a clearer vision of our parish and its future.

Just as parents establish a home and raise a family, the Newman Center is home for students who come to study, work, and live here in their time at the University of Missouri. As parents watch their children grow and eventually move away to start new lives and families of their own, so too does the Newman Center nurture their students before sending them on to their futures in careers, graduate school, discernment, or missionary work. The resident parishioners provide the home away from home for these students through their spiritual and financial support of the parish. Some of our students will choose to stay and start their new lives here as resident parishioners of the Newman Center. In fact, this past May, I had the opportunity to watch my oldest grandchild make his First Communion at the Newman Center. His mother, my daughter, had come to Mizzou from Oklahoma as a freshman in 2002. She had been a member of the Newman Center and after graduation, made Columbia her home.

Over the past two years the students and resident parishioners of the Newman Center have worked on many ministries and projects together. Not only has the Catholic Community of Columbia been enriched by their work, but the city of Columbia and surrounding areas have experienced and felt their presence as well. A Mass of Thanksgiving was established by Campus Ministry in May of 2016 as a way for the students to thank the resident parishioners for their support and for the blessings of the parish and the work of all those during the school year.

And as the parish continues to grow and evolve, our servant leader Father Rich, the staff, and the parish council decided to established new bylaws and a reorganization of the parish council to better serve the needs of our parish. Coordination and representation of all the commissions and ministries with staff support will be the goal of the parish council in the upcoming year.

Term limits have been set to ensure that people will have the opportunity to join or move off of the council as needed. I will remain on the council for the next year in an advisory role, but I need your help. I need the support of new and not so new parishioners to seriously consider joining the council to help the parish realize its dreams for the future. Please prayerfully consider applying to represent your fellow parishioners on the council. You will quickly be inspired by how active and alive our parish is as you meet new people and make new friends.

I know that I have been personally enriched through the wonderful people and students I met while on my time on the council. I am excited as we move forward and hope you too will share this excitement by your participation in ministry and, as always, in prayer.

Yours in Christ,

Donna Blauch