Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we begin a new calendar year, we give thanks for all God’s blessings at Our Lady of the Rosary parish. We worship in a beautiful new church; our school is practically bursting at the seams with the children from new families moving into the area. We have a wonderful and talented team of teachers, parish workers, deacons and catechists and we are constantly adding more to our number!

JohnMark Cayer is a young graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is our new Director of Faith Formation and Thomas Sohler is another young Steubenville grad who is taking over the role of Facilities Manager. This leads me to announce another great development in the parish.

Some months ago, we purchased the little house adjacent to the gym and were praying about how we might best use it for the parish ministries. I envisioned a small community of young men living there to maintain a presence and witness in the parish and foster the prayer life.

At the end of the summer a visitor to the parish introduced himself to me. Doug Gonzales is a former Church of the Nazarene pastor who has been a Catholic for a good number of years. Now that his family is grown up, he has been discerning God’s will for his life and feels called to the eremitical life.

For those not in the know the “eremitical life” is a life of solitude—devoted to prayer and sacrifice. Doug was finding it difficult to find someone who understood this unusual calling and who was sympathetic to it.

He found that person in me! I’ve been interested in the monastic way of spirituality for a long time and know the power of prayer and the need for prayer now more than ever. Therefore, I have invited Doug to come and be our “parish hermit” and live in 6 James Drive which we will call “The St. Paul House of Prayer.”

We hope the house will be ready for Doug to join us by Ash Wednesday and that JohnMark and Thomas will live there too, making up the small community of prayer I envisioned.

I will write more about this next week, but am happy to receive questions and comments about this unusual, but exciting initiative in the parish.

Your Pastor,

Fr. Longenecker