The Gospel for April 15 featured a resurrected Christ greeting his fearful apostles in the upper room with the words, “Peace be with you.”
Members of the Winton-Culver Catholic Community have taken that message to heart, voting recently to change the name of their community to Peace of Christ Roman Catholic Parish of Rochester.
If all goes well, the name change should be official in July, when the community’s three parishes — St. Ambrose and St. John the Evangelist in Rochester and St. James in Irondequoit — legally combine into one, according to Father Robert Schrader, pastor. He said parishioners picked their favorite three names out of a long list of suggestions, and Peace of Christ garnered the most votes.
On April 15, which was Divine Mercy Sunday, Bishop Matthew H. Clark visited the community to bless the consolidated parish offices that have been established in the former rectory/office at the St. Ambrose worship site. The renovated space retains some of its rectory roots, including bathrooms in many of the offices, wood paneling in some rooms, an avocado-green kitchenette, a wood-burning stove, a deck, a dining room, and plenty of space for gatherings and staff meetings.
The parish priests have relocated to the rectory at the St. John the Evangelist worship site. Although renovations and unpacking recently were completed, the community’s offices moved to St. Ambrose in mid-January, Father Schrader said. He thanked St. Ambrose trustees Joe Ryan and Ron Bess, who oversaw the project’s budget.
“Those two know how to stretch a dollar from here to Cincinnati,” he said during Mass.
For some, the new offices offered efficiency. For others, the benefit was expanded space. But for Father Robert Werth, a small space was just perfect — empty bookshelves and all.
“I work better in a space that is free and clean of clutter,” said Father Werth, the community’s parochial vicar. “Now that I have this office I feel I am much more productive.”
Sister of Mercy Marlene Vigna, a pastoral associate for the community and a liaison for St. James parishioners, said the move was a wise use of space for both staff and parish priests.
“It’s much easier to communicate with each other,” Sister Vigna said. “Prior to this Father Schrader was going from place to place to place. (Office consolidation) has made for a much smoother operation.”
Janet Andrychuk-Tedesco, director of music ministry and organist for St. Ambrose and St. James, said the consolidated offices have allowed for more collaboration and interaction.
“Part of working together is getting to know each other, too,” Andrychuk-Tedesco said.
During his visit to the community, Bishop Clark also baptized two children, Aliannah Marie and Brice Alexander Temple. He told them and their fellow parishioners that their faith will deepen with time, and he praised the community for working together and embracing the consolidation.
“I do honestly believe that you have been an example in our diocese of that cooperation, and I want you to know that I am deeply grateful for it,” Bishop Clark said.
Several parishioners said they voted for the peaceful new name because of how it fit with the names of each worship site. St. Ambrose, for example, will now be known as Peace of Christ at St. Ambrose Church.
Even people who didn’t vote for the name have said they like it, said Wendy O’Keefe, who attends St. Ambrose.
“I like it,” agreed Dale Phelps, also of St. Ambrose. “Out of the multiple choices, this is the best one.”
Suzanne Bach of St. John the Evangelist said the new name embraces Catholicism and the three churches. The name embodies both a beginning and an ending, Bach said, noting that it also is memorable.
“How could you forget the Peace of Christ?” Bach said. “We say it every single Sunday.”