Some say that faith and politics don’t mix; however, that has never been the position of the Church.
Whether it’s civil rights, human rights, or the right to life, the Church consistently offers a voice to those in the political sphere with the hope of shaping our world into the community that God envisions.
Currently, the way we use our penal system to deal with drug offenders is not productive. The approach is punitive rather than rehabilitative, and faithful people and people of good will recognize that our present policies must change. The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a network organization in Ohio has proposed a ballot initiative in our state that will reform the criminal justice system and reinvest millions into drug treatment and recovery programs. The group is seeking signatures to put the initiative on the fall ballot.
While the Ohio bishops do not take a position until an initiative actually is on the ballot, the 4 proposals set forth by the Collaborative are certainly in line with the Church’s teaching on criminal justice reform and reentry. The proposed amendment would do the following:
- Reclassify drug possession felonies as misdemeanors so that those convicted of the lesser offense of possessing drugs and/or drug paraphernalia would have better access to rehabilitation programs. This applies to possession only; all drug trafficking (dealing) felonies would remain felonies.
- Almost 1 in 4 people coming to Ohio prisons each year are being sent to prison for probation violations – not new crimes. This proposed legislation would exclude incarceration as punishment for probation rule infractions thus allowing those in recovery to remain in rehabilitation.
- Expand the ability of current inmates to earn modest sentence reductions for participating in quality rehabilitation and recovery programming. Data suggests that results improve when inmates are incentivized, even slightly, for participation.
- Reinvest the projected savings from the above three reforms into local treatment and support programs for youth and adults.
Beginning April 28th, you will have the opportunity to add your signature to the petition to place the Ohio Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment on the November ballot. Information is available in the narthex and on our website (stnoel.org) and I encourage you to learn about the amendment and the proposed benefits. If you believe it would be valuable to place the amendment before the voters in November, please sign the petition after Mass next weekend. You must be a registered voter to sign.
In a 2013 homily to politicians, Pope Francis remarked that “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself -so that those who govern can govern.” He went on to say that the best we have to offer is prayer, and I urge you to pray for drug addicts and those who minister to them. Pray for our judges, prosecutors and corrections officers as well. It is clear that our current system of mass incarceration for drug offenders is not working; we need reform. Whether it is this proposal or something else, may you be a positive voice for change.
CONGRATULATONS to our parishioner Natalie Fullerman who celebrated her Confirmation at St. Anselm’s Parish on April 15th.
INTERFAITH OPPORTUNITY- 2017 was the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Advent Lutheran Church in Mentor, Ohio has approached St. Noel to join with them in an interfaith dialogue to understand the history that unites and divides us as a faith community, to promote Christian unity, and to join in joint service for God’s Kingdom. Our Parish Pastoral Council has affirmed this effort. We are presently forming a steering committee with representatives from both communities to discern a way forward. If you would be interested in serving on the committee to advance understanding between Catholics and Lutherans please call Emma Krueger.Let us all pray that the work of the steering committee will be successful.
CATHOLIC HOME MISSIONS – Next weekend, April 28th – 29th, our ushers will be in the Narthex to accept donations for the Catholic Home Missions Appeal (CHMA). Your support funds programs such as religious education, seminary formation, and lay ministry training, to build vibrant faith communities in the United States.
PEACE- We will meet Tuesday, April 24 from 6:30-8:00 in the Lower Level. Please remember to bring your binder. Pizza will be provided!
PRIME TIME- will meet in the Teen Center, this Sunday, April 22nd from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Please remember to check your Remind app for updates. To join the group, enter this number: 81010 and text this message: @d9dfgb. Out last meeting of the year is on Sunday, April 29 from 6:30-8:00 in the Teen Center. We will be celebrating our year and recognizing our senior, Dominic Woods. Hope to see you there!
SOCIAL JUSTICE/ST. AUGUSTINE – On Sunday, April 29th, our volunteers will be serving the meal at the St. Augustine Hunger Center. There is a sign-up sheet on the kiosk if you are able to lend a hand.
MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH – will be held on Sunday, May 13th in the St. Noel Banquet Center. Reservations are required. There will be two seatings (10:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.). Adults are $18, children 6-12 years are $8, and children 5 years and younger are free. For additional information visit stnoelbanquetcenter.com. For reservations, please call the Banquet Center at 440-946-6635.
LITURGICAL MINISTER SCHEDULES – have been sent via e-mail to all Liturgical Ministers. If you have not received your schedule, extra copies are available in the Kiosk.
AERC – Our Adult Education Resource Center had a productive year in 2017 offering 334 adult tutoring sessions to 16 different individuals throughout the year. Preparing for and passing the GED test has proven a challenge for our friends working toward that goal but persistence will prevail. Thanks to Annie Zahradnik, Donna Fornadley, Debbie Kramer, and all those who have made the AERC a beneficial ministry at St. Noel. Please pray for all our students working hard to better their lives.
“HOME IMPROVEMENT” SERIES – You can still view the live presentation about faith in our families and be part of the online discussion throughout the Easter season. Go to stnoel.org, click Faith Formation, and then click Home Improvement. See the poster on the kiosk for more details
NOEL CONCERT SERIES: Let the Heavens Rejoice, Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. Les Délices(Debra Nagy, artistic director) and Quire Cleveland(Ross Duffin, artistic director) join forces for an exciting program of French Baroque music. Violins, oboes, flutes, bassoon, chorus, and a thrilling team of rising-star vocal soloists will perform resplendent, rarely-heard sacred works by Rameau and Mondonville. Les Délices regular (and director of Boston’s acclaimed vocal ensemble Blue Heron) Scott Metcalfe will serve as guest conductor, and “lovely high tenor” Owen McIntosh returns to sing the modern premiere of Lefebvre’s Conserva me, a beautifully poignant work with echos of Rameau. This is a concert not to be missed! 50% online discount is offered to members of the St. Noel congregation. When you order tickets online at lesdelices.org, enter the discount code SNFRIEND (all caps).
EUCHARISTIC ADORATION – Has made a difference in the lives of those who spend time before the Blessed Sacrament on Mondays bewteen 1p.m.– 9 p.m.. Each hour that you make in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament releases His grace and power upon you, your family and your parish. We are looking for an additional person to fill the 3 – 4 p.m. time slot. If you are free and would like to experience this, please the Church Office (440-946-0887.) If you are unable to make a definite commitment, please stop in anytime during Eucharistic Adoration and you will be richly blessed.
PARISH DAYTIME RETREAT – will be Wednesday, May 2nd, from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. “Holy Mother Mary, Holy Mother Church, Holy Mother Earth,” facilitated by the Retreat Community. There is no cost. A $6 donation is suggested to cover lunch, for those that are able. Call Fran at 440-625-1228. All are welcome!
TRAINING FOR MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION – the diocese has scheduled numerous training sessions for new Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The closest to St. Noel is Sunday, June 3, 2018 from 2-4 pm at Immaculate Conception Parish in Willoughby. If you are interested in being trained, please contact Anthony (946-1128 x122).
ALL GOOD GIFTS GARDEN– We are in need of garden enthusists to assist with this year’s garden. If you are able to help, please contact Susan Kiss 440-975-6195.
HOSPICE INFO EVENING – Mark Muzzillo, our parishioner and a chaplain at Altercare Hospice, will lead an informative evening on Tuesday, May 15th from 7:00-8:30pm in the Small Hall. Along with 2 members of the Altercare Hospice staff, Mark will address current issues surrounding hospice including who can qualify, what treatments are available, and what costs are involved. Mark and the team will offer accurate information that will give all who attend a thorough understanding of hospice and available services in our area. Interested in volunteering at a hospice? Necessary volunteer information will be presented, too. Please join us on May 15th.
BIKE BLESSING – Rev up your motorcycle and ride over to St. Noel on Saturday, June 2nd. After the 5:00 p.m. Mass, Fr. George will offer a blessing for all riders as the cycling season begins. Please RSVP to Scott Andrew Mills if you plan to attend (440-477-5883 or www.MaverickInsurance1.com).
NOEL FELLOWSHIP – Meetings are held on Thursdays at Noon in the St. Noel Banquet Center Small Hall. On April 26th, Bingo, Birthdays and Anniversaries. Bring something for the food pantry and receive a free 50/50 ticket. Everyone is welcome!
COMMONWEAL LOCAL COMMUNITIES – The next Commonweal gathering is scheduled for Monday, April 23rd at 6:00 p.m. in the Resurrection Room. You do not need to be a subscriber to attend, but you must pre-register. If interested, email your name and parish to Jack Rakosky ([email protected]). Learn more at: https://pages.commonwealmagazine.org/clc/.
JOB OPPORTUNITY – Stonehill Hotel in Eastlake (the former Radisson) has an immediate need for the Housekeeping Department. Housekeepers, Laundry, Public Area Attendants. Apply in person. 35000 Curtis Blvd. Eastlake, OH 44095.
LCCN FUNDRAISER – See the flyer on the kiosk for information on the upcoming fundraiser for the Lake County Community Network on May 18th at St. Gabriel Church. The Network provides invaluable financial assistance in the county, and we refer people to LCCN regularly. Can’t go but would like to help? Donate a bottle of wine (at least $10) for the wine pull. Call Anthony to help (946-1128 x122)
NEW LEGOS NEEDED – Two awesome parishioners are putting together auction baskets for the upcoming Lake County Community Network fundraiser. One basket is a kids’ themed LEGO basket. If you can contribute a new LEGO set for the basket, please contact Anthony ASAP (946-1128 x122). Thanks!
GUN VIOLENCE – the Ohio Bishops published a statement in response to the initiatives proposed by Gov. Kasich. You can access the statement on our website: www.stnoel.org.