Happy New Year!
Yes, it is true that beginning at Sundown this Saturday we begin our new liturgical year. For those of you keeping score at home, we are in year two for our weekday lectionary cycle and year B for our Sunday lectionary cycle. This liturgical year we will focus on Mark’s gospel, which is much shorter than the other gospels. It is a fast moving gospel, Jesus moves in an almost breathless pace. The disciples, in Mark’s Gospel do not come off looking very well and it seems never really finding much favor with Jesus who seems more annoyed with them in this Gospel.
The First Week of Advent signals for us a time of preparation for Christ’s birth yet again. Of course, Jesus is born just once in history, there is always the possibility of Jesus being born into our history an endless amount of times. Each year we prepare for Christ’s birth into our history in a new and profound way. We have matured since last year and are different people and at a different point in our faith. Christ’s birth will be new for us as we have grown, and there is the possibility of our appreciating, accepting and following the new born Christ, in a new and more intimate way.
As most of you know, we had purchased 20 acres of property further down Scotch Ridge Road, to accommodate the desires of the diocese for our parish’s future at that time. Since then it became obvious that the idea and even the possibility of our parish being able to afford such a move, would be impossible for many reasons. The question remained, what to do with the land and how would we ever recoup our investment in that property. Most doubted that we would ever come close to recovering our investment.
Recently, however we have seen a sharp increase in the housing market for rural living and we have been receiving a certain amount of offers this past year. It is clear that our property is more valuable as residential than agricultural. For over a year, members of the parish council, finance council and future planning committee have continued to investigate the possibilities of the selling of our property for residential housing. There is much that goes into the rezoning of a property like ours and up until recently it has been a process and an expense beyond our competence.
Through the hard work of a joint committee of the Parish Council, Finance Council and other leaders in the parish, we are happy to announce to you that we have been able to secure an offer to buy ten acres of our 20 acres for a price that is almost proportionally equal to the value we had first purchased the property at. With the sale of this initial ten acres we will be able to rezone the whole property and will be able to market to sell the other ten acres at a similar price. Bishop Pates has enthusiastically approved the sale and hopes that this transaction will go a long way toward the stability and future of our parish. The next steps will be to work with Warren County, the City of Carlisle and the City of Des Moines in the process of rezoning the property.
I’d like to thank all of those who have tirelessly labored over this issue through the years, long before I ever darkened the doorway of this parish. It is because of their devotion and great faith that we are able to accomplish such things. What a great way to begin our liturgical year and celebrate the First Sunday of Advent.