Men's Breakfast Report, March 2008

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, March 10 with Robert Dohle, new priest at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church as featured guest.  Wallace Shaw, City Attorney, deacon at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and long time friend of Robert, was also a guest. 

Robert has recently finished Seminary training to become priest at Saint Paul’s, where he has been a parishioner, succeeding Father Gemignani.  Robert is a bivocational pastor since he still has his job at Dow.  He decided to become the unpaid priest so the church would not have to pay a pastor’s salary and could devote the money to other causes.  His day job is with the vibration analysis group at Dow Chemical Company.  This is the group from which John Smith III just retired. 

Bivocational pastors have difficulty participating in the Freeport Ministerial Alliance because the alliance holds its meetings Thursday mornings during normal working hours.  This is one reason that there is little participation by the black pastors since most of them also hold other jobs.  There was discussion about holding meetings at other times so bivocational pastors could participate.  Some suggestions were evening meetings and not having all meetings at the same time of the week.  It was also suggested that the Black Ministerial Alliance be contacted to see if coordination can be arranged. 

One of the main ministries of Saint Paul’s is sponsoring the Brazosport Health Center.  The center has relied on a health practitioner.  The previous practitioner resigned and it has been a struggle to find a new one.  Without a certified practitioner it is difficult to get Medicaid payments and therefore difficult to pay the bills.  They now have a person in the process of getting certified and expect to be back to financial health.  They have also opened a satellite clinic in Brazoria to serve the population west of the Brazos. 

Since Wallace Shaw is a deacon in the Catholic Church there was discussion about the deacon’s responsibilities.  For all the churches, an ordained deacon is supposed to visit and comfort the sick.  The office of deacon in the Catholic Church is a more ecclesiastical office than in the Presbyterian Church.  Wallace has been to seminary and is authorized to perform most priestly duties except perform the sacraments such as communion.  He participates in the services at Saint Mary’s, delivers a sermon once a month and often officiates at funerals.  He is not able to administer the Catholic sacrament of Supreme Unction, the anointing of the dying with oil.  This is a problem since there are so few priests available to perform the rite.  Tom Sharon said that the priests were often overwhelmed at the hospital while he was chaplain.  Because of this there is a movement in the Catholic Church to allow deacons to perform this rite, but it has not received Vatican approval. 

As usual, the men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be Saturday, April 12 and all men are invited.