25 September 2009

I'm back!

Is it really Friday already? I've no idea how that happened!

I cannot say that the past few days have been busy per se, but they have been full. I have spent them largely cleaning our drawers and closets in the house, sorting through various papers to see what is important and what is not, learning about the parish finances and unpacking (which seems to be least on the list).

I have met several very friendly and helpful parishioners this week who have very generously offered to help me in whatever way they can. I would like to take them up on their offers, but am not quite sure what to have them do.

I am delighted to have a Deacon who lives in the parish but is assigned to another parish north of here. He attends daily Mass here since he works in town and has been a great help to me; it's also very nice to have a deacon at daily Mass. He has served on the finance council in the past and helped me considerably Monday morning but running through various financial matters.

I am happy to say that I have a very capable and efficient secretary. She is new to the post so we are learning together. In many ways this is a blessing since we can organize the office together so both of us know where we put things. She works part-time as things in the parish are rather quiet. We have only 169 families here in Virden and only 127 families in Girard. The combined number of actual parishioners - at least according to the books - is 669.

Wednesday morning the current and former secretaries and I sat down for a couple of hours to go through several things in the parish, from files to finances. I felt much more comfortable after our meeting.

We also have a very faithful, dedicated and thorough sacristan at the parish who sets up for the Masses and various liturgical celebrations. He has worked as the sacristan for many years and knows just about all there is to know. Tuesday morning he took me on a lengthy tour of the parish complex and told me more information than I could retain. I will have to ask him several questions later on.

Several years ago the parish between a period of twenty-four hours of Eucharistic Adoration following Mass on Wednesdays. I could not be more pleased to have this in the parish, especially considering our smaller size. I am confident that it will bring many rich blessings from the Lord.

I have also made it back to Effingham this week for two soccer games, both of which, I am happy to say, the boys won. When I went to the game yesterday I also stopped in for a haircut. The woman I go to does a great job and I am not sure I want to try another person. A good haircut is not always easy to find.

Life in Virden has certainly been an adjustment. The city has - according to the population sign when you enter town (which seems a bit high) - 3,500 citizens.

The bank closes daily at 3:00 p.m. (which caught me quite by surprise Wednesday afternoon when I went to have my name put on the parish accounts). There is no grocery store (though I hear one is being planned). I am not sure if we have a dry cleaners yet. We do not have a McDonald's (which does not bother me much), but we do have a Dairy Queen and a Star Hardee's. In terms of shopping, we have a Family Dollar (or a Dollar General, I do not remember which).

Springfield is just twenty-five minutes north and that drive somehow does not now seem very long. Being from Quincy, where anything more a seven minute drive is long, this feels very strange to say, but it is true. I suppose I have adapted well to my new surroundings.

Virden is a quiet town and peaceful and I do not believe it has a stop light.

Less than ten percent of the population has a bachelor's degree and fewer than three percent have advanced degrees.

Here in Virden we are 150% more likely to have a tornado than the rest of the country, but we are 97% less likely to experience an earthquake than the rest of the country.

Today I intend to finish settling into my office (I finally found my printer cable last night) and then work on the kitchen. Sometime today I will have to go to Springfield to pick up several supplies for the secretary and I also have to shop for groceries sometime.

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