We lost the use of our already too small 15-passenger church van rather suddenly in October of 2016. As a result, an immediately noticeable large drop in college student participation at Sunday Masses, other Masses and events occurred. We have witnessed a noticeable loss of participation in our youth and children's ministries as we've watched parents and children move to other area churches which do a better job of funding and equipping their college, youth, and children's ministries. Our attempts to organize outings and trips for all ages of young people, as well as adults, with carpooling have been spectacularly unsuccessful, as has been the Catholic Campus Ministry carpooling effort. We had over 100 college students at Sunday Mass right after Appstate opened in Fall 2018. College students and parishioners did a great job of carpooling initially. Unfortunately, it didn't work out long term. By October, student attendance at Sunday Mass had dropped to fewer than a dozen on some Sundays.
The noticeable decrease in attendance and participation by our youth and young adults as well as parents of these young people is a growing and disturbing concern our Parish. The future of our Parish depends directly on our ability and willingness to address this crisis. We are losing these people to other churches with active and viable Youth Ministries. Reversing this trend is critical to our future. A reliable and safe mode of transportation for transporting our Youth, University Students, and Young Adults as a group to activities organized and sponsored by our Parish or our Diocese is at the very top of Our Most Critical Needs List. A bus must be viewed as an absolutely required investment in the future of our Parish rather than as an expense and burden on the Parish.
Our research indicates that we need to raise a minimum of $50,000.00 in order to purchase and initially operate a vehicle of sufficient size to transport our current groups as a whole to off campus destinations. If you are willing and able to contribute to the acquisition and operation of a bus to fill this gap in our ministry and help stop the loss of membership in our Parish, please do so immediately. The NEED is NOW and it is CRITICAL! Your generosity will be appreciated for years to come. If you can help, please call the Church Office, contact Fr. Matthew, or just make your check payable to St. Elizabeth Church Bus Fund and send it to the Parish Office or drop it in a collection basket at Mass.