Pastor’s Desk ~ April 23, 2023

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

First of all, I would like to thank the many people who worked so hard to make our celebrations on Palm Sunday, Holy Week, the Triduum, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday both inspiring and memorable. This was the first Holy Week and Easter that we returned to the full pre-COVID form of worship in nearly every detail. What makes Palm Sunday through Easter more complicated than any other season is the fact that there are many things, large and small, that we do only once a year: the palms and procession on Palm Sunday, the Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday, the proclamation of the Passion Gospel in two different versions, the presentation and Veneration of the Cross, the Easter Vigil with multiple readings, psalms and sacraments, the renewal of Baptismal Vows on Easter Morning – all of this needs to be re-learned every year. I thank all of those who participated and supported these celebrations in any way.

I tend to worry about all of these things, especially the arrival of the ashes for Ash Wednesday, and the Palms for Palm Sunday. Both are shipped in from out of the area, and it’s impossible to celebrate those two days without them.There is a large sigh of relief from me when the palms arrive, though they are stored in plastic bags in the rectory refrigerator and make the kitchen smell like the Everglades for a few days.

Arranging flowers for our church is harder than it looks. First of all, it requires reaching the high altars to place and balance them, with repeated trips back to water and tend them. St. Vincent’s is already so beautiful as to require little adornment, so the key is restraint and balance in the arrangement and choice of color. Thank you, Flower Committee members and helpers for creating a beautiful Easter environment.

As you can see, the Parish Hall painting project is beginning to show real progress. After weeks of scraping and power washing, the new paint is starting to go up. For a project of this cost and visibility to the community, we have secured the services of Ruby Newman, the artist whose work on the Church and Rectory has been majestically successful, to select a complementary color scheme for the hall. Considering the Hall’s age (112 years) and heavy use, it’s in remarkably good condition. The two double-door entrances on Western Avenue will be re-designed and painted so as to bring out architectural detail.

This project will include the repair and repainting of the gazebo, as well as the garage, rest rooms, privacy screen and other small outbuildings.

Finally, in an important but unrelated matter, St. Vincent Elementary School has hired Mr. Joseph Clapp as its new principal, effective July 1. He and his wife Candace (a life-long Petaluman and SVES alumna) live walking distance from the school. Their daughter is a current first grader, and a 4th generation SVES attendee. I look forward to working with him, together with our current principal, Shannon Jordan, as well as our faculty and staff, to prepare for the coming year.


Fr. Bill Donahue

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