It was bound to happen, and I’m actually surprised it hadn’t happened yet. The other day someone on the staff received a text message claiming to be from me that asked her to run out and buy a bunch of gift cards for an urgent situation. Of course, the whole thing was a scam. Sadly, scammers have made a habit of sending out fake texts and e-mails pretending to be from priests and asking for the potential victim to buy gift cards for some urgent need. Well-meaning victims assume the messages are legitimate and fall into the trap. I’ve heard of all sorts of fake scenarios: Father is busy and needs gift cards for someone at the hospital; Father is stranded alongside the road and needs gift cards to pay for a tow truck; and even Father needs to be bailed out of jail.
Any priest I’ve talked to has said something like this has happened at his parish, so this is, unfortunately, not unique. Sadly, the scammers are getting better at what they do. If you get something that seems even remotely suspicious or out-of-the-ordinary, it probably is. (Can you imagine a scene where a judge sets bail as $500 in iTunes gift cards?) The best thing to do in these situations is mark the message as spam, delete it, and avoid clicking any attachments. Neither I nor the parish will ever e-mail or text you individually with a request for money or gift cards to help us or someone else. Legitimate fundraisers and donation requests will be communicated via the bulletin and official parish channels. Please be careful, as we don’t want anyone to be duped by these unscrupulous scam artists.
On a much happier note, I am very proud to be able to report that Holy Cross Catholic School has been recognized (again) as an Archdiocesan School of Distinction! This year we are being recognized in two categories: Recognition for Growth, and Recognition for Exceeding Academic Potential. The first category means that our students have exceeded expectations in academic development from year-to-year. The second category shows that our students scored higher than anticipated on standardized testing. I’m sure those who work in education can provide a better explanation than I can about what exactly those things mean and how those results are determined, but at the end of the day it means our students are learning a lot and learning well.
We can all be proud of and grateful for the hard work done by Dr. Worrilow and our dedicated faculty and school staff. We are blessed as a parish to have such a wonderful team working to educate and form our children. As parishioners, your financial support of the parish helps keep the school operational, so the achievements of our students and faculty are a positive reflection on all of you as well. You make it possible for our school to do these great things. I am confident that even better things are on the horizon for the school and the parish as a whole.
Finally, a quick calendar note. Two weeks from now is All Saints’ Day (November 1). Because it falls on a Monday, All Saints is not observed as a Holy Day of Obligation this year—i.e. there is no obligation to attend Mass. Even though we don’t normally have Mass on Mondays, for the benefit of those who wish to observe the feast, there will be a Mass at 8:30 am.