SSJC-WR General Meeting
Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014
St. Raphael Roman Catholic Church,
Rancho Bernardo (San Diego), CA
The meeting followed the presentation: “The Holy (?) Land: Ten Weeks in the Pressure Cooker,” a slide presentation and commentary by Fr. Dennis Mikulanis on his recent sabbatical in the Holy Land and a short guided tour of San Raphael parish church.
Present: Fr. George Morelli presiding, Paul Bieber STS, Msgr. Dennis Mikulanis, Bruce de Witt, Mason Yost, Jim Kearns, Victor Vallejo, Fr. James Babcock, Patty Ann Born, Fr. Ramon Merlos, Deacon Michael Creighton, Diane Alves, George Abdelsayed, Robert Greenwell. Excused: Anne Petach, Frank Scialdone, Gloria Brissette.
The meeting opened at 12:05 after a prayer offered by Fr. Ramon
Motion to approve the agenda: Victor Vallejo; second: Msgr. Dennis; Agenda approved.
President’s Remarks: Fr. George.
The Orientale Lumen Conference XVIII will be held June 23 -26, 2014 at the retreat house at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. The topic will be “Ecumenical Dimensions of Marriage.” Among the speakers: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Fr. Robert Taft, SJ., Fr. Peter Galadza (Ukrainian), Sister Vassa Larin of University of Vienna, Fr. Ron Roberson and others. Registration is at: www.olconference.com. He also announced the Holy Land Pilgrimage, saying that details will follow.*
Vice President’s report: none
Newsletter report: Fr. James Babcock
Fr. James reported that he has been editor of the newsletter for eight years, but his life has recently become too stressful for him to continue in this position; he is being required to relocate again, has health issues, etc. He is willing to do one more issue because he realizes that covering our Light of the East Conference in May, 2014 will be important. He is also willing to train someone.
Secretary’s report: Diane Alves (for Anne Petach)
Motion to approve the minutes made by Fr. James, seconded by Fr. Dennis, motion accepted.
Diane read an administrative secretary report from Anne Petach. In addition, Anne’s noted that she is having some challenges adjusting her schedule to help with newsletter distribution due to the short notice given for it. Victor Vallejo, who lives in L.A, (closer to Anne) volunteered to provide some help. And will speak to her about it soon. Motion to accept: Fr. Ramon; Second: Deacon Michael. Accepted.
Treasurer’s Report: Bob Greenwell
We had a $557.15 deficit at the end of 2012, but only a $461.03 deficit at the end of 2013. The bank balance as of December 31 was $1,034.60. We spent $346.48 on newsletter printing and $148.17 to Anne Petach for postage and envelopes. Newsletter total cost: $494.65. Present bank balance: $539.95. Msgr. Dennis donated to SSJC-WR the $124.00 collected that day for the host parish.
Fr. George noted that we haven’t yet lined up businesses to advertise in our newsletter to defray some costs. Since the North County Times suspended publication, the stipend for his articles for it, which he had been donating to SSJC-WR, has ended. The Eastern Catholic Pastoral Association is paying for one issue per year. Fr. George suggested that one solution might only three issues a year.
Motion to accept Treasurer’s report: Fr. James; Second: Fr. Ramon seconded. Report accepted.
Parliamentarian Report: None; Frank Scialdone absent (excused)
Historian Report: None
Chaplain’s Reports: Fr. James announced a Melkite workshop in Scripture at Holy Cross Melkite Church in Placentia (Orange County), Saturday February 15th with speakers: Bishop Nicholas Samra and Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo. Details are in our most recent newsletter. Fr. George said he will give a presentation on “the Domestic Church” at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church during Lent.
Old Business: For those who have not yet attended a Light of the East Conference at St. Paul’s, Irvine, Fr. George reviewed details/logistics for May 16-17, 2014 – “Understanding Islam, Christian Perspectives.” For the March 15, 2014 Program, he related that the proposed topic, “Monasticism,” had to be changed because he could not find an Eastern monastic speaker. Instead, he will present: “Spiritual (Interiorized) Monasticism in the Domestic Church.” At: Prince of Peace Abbey (Library).
The lack of growth in membership was discussed.
Fr. Dennis provided some perspective based on his experience as ecumenical officer for the San Diego Catholic Diocese. He says Christian ecumenical success has caused a drop in numbers at ecumenical meetings he has attended over a number of years. Years ago there was more prejudice between branches of Christianity; a problem that led to the need for ecumenical meetings to get to know one another as a means to overcome such prejudice. Now people are more accepting of other faiths, so maybe people no longer see a need for ecumenism. He also mentioned that groups such as Rotary, Odd Fellows, etc., are currently also seeing drops in membership. Our lack of growth might be related to whatever cultural changes are producing such drops in membership in civic/charitable organizations. He did comment that the SSJC-WR Meetings attendance was acceptable and the Society quite a beneficial witness. Victor Vallejo suggested that we need to get more young people involved. He is trying to reach college age youth at the USC Newman (Catholic student) group and at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, in LA. Fr. George pointed out that students are transients; we need longer term members. New visitor, George Abdelsayed, suggested that pastors and members of churches discourage ecumenism because they are afraid to lose their members to other churches. Fr. George responded that we don’t proselytize at SSJC-WR. We have to make it clear that we are not trying to get people to change their religion. He also said that our mission as Christians is to invite people to come to the banquet, i.e., to announce Christ to those who are not expecting such an announcement. He was talking about the real meaning of the Greek word which has been translated as “compel.”
Announcements: The Huffington Ecumenical Institute 2014 Symposium, , February 21-22, at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles “From the rising of the sun to its setting: Chant and Contemporary Liturgical Music, East and West. Lectures, workshops, worship, and fellowship. Catholic and Orthodox experts in church music, including Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, will speak. Lunch is served each day. No charge for the Symposium, but registration is required. Concert by renowned choral group, Cappella Romana: Sat., February 22, 2014, 6:30 pm in Sacred Heart Chapel on campus requires a separate registration. Parking: University Hall underground garage: $10.00/day. Credit cards or exact change at pay kiosks; enter license plate number when paying. Possible queues at the pay stations before morning sessions. Register by phone at: 310.338.1917 or online at http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/ecumenical/futureevents/spring2014symposium/
Next Meeting: March 15, 2014, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Prince of Peace Abbey (Library)
Motion to adjourn: Msgr. Dennis. Second: Fr. James. Closing Prayer: Fr. James.
The meeting adjourned at 1:10 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Secretaries Diane Alves (Recording) and Anne C. Petach (Admin.)
* * Details and registration for this Ecumenical pilgrimage to Rome and Constantinople, October 21-30, 2014 in partnership with Viking Travel, are at www.vikingtvl.com. Registration and initial deposits are due by March 1, 2014 to reserve enough spaces. . Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Father Thomas Loya, and Jack Figel will be the leaders.