Dear brothers and sisters,
In my first years as a priest I served as a chaplain in a school with students from Pre-K through 12th grade. In my time with our preschoolers -- visiting their classrooms, praying with them, sharing lunches, and playing at recess -- I was struck by their loving openness and joy. Without knowing it, the little ones have a way of bringing forth the best in others through their curiosity and sincerity. For a great many years we at Holy Spirit have been blessed by that same joyful presence as our preschoolers have learned and grown under the care of dedicated teachers. I thank each of them for so generously making a lasting, loving impact on our young people, as well as the families who supported the preschool so faithfully.
As you know, changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted many aspects of our lives, including our preschool here at Holy Spirit. Last summer, with the utmost concern for the safety of our students and staff, the difficult decision was made to suspend the preschool’s operations for the 2020-2021 academic year, with the hope of re-opening this Fall. Unfortunately, many of the same challenges that existed then still persist, with many remaining questions as to what the future will hold in terms of restrictions. After consulting with members of our parish and preschool staff, Preschool Board, Finance Council, and other members of the community, in addition to much prayer and reflection, I have decided to keep our preschool closed indefinitely. This decision has not come easily, nor is it taken lightly, but I believe it is in the best interest of the parish as we move forward. While the specifics remain uncertain and require further discernment, my hope is that the existing preschool space can be used to house our growing social outreach ministries, provide dedicated space for our young people, and allow additional options for our many parish groups to gather safely. I will continue to keep you updated as plans develop and am available to address any questions or concerns you might have.
In Ecclesiastes we read, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (3:1, RSV) As we give thanks to God for the season of joy He provided in our preschool, we ask His blessings in this season ahead, that we might continue to respond to the Spirit’s promptings to serve Him and one another with generosity of heart. May God bless you, and may Our Lady guide us closer to her Son!
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Matt Kiehl