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December 26, 2007

New Albany's Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, school adds new programs

When the Rev. Eric Augenstein came to New Albany’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in July to become its pastor, he recognized that his new parish’s faith was strong.

“It’s very spirit-filled. There are a lot of ministries and activities going on in the parish,” Augenstein said.

He arrived in the middle of a three-year parish plan called Envision, which identifies five areas the church wants to improve: adult-faith formation, youth ministry, young-adult ministry, child care and family connections.

The determination of its members has keyed successful progress of the Envision plan, Augenstein said.

“It’s really our parishioners who have taken leadership and ownership of these initiatives and making the plan succeed,” he said.

The co-coordinator of the Envision plan, Carl Koetter, said the parish has a young-adult program that was nearly nonexistent before the plan was put in place. A Wednesday night adult-faith formation class was created, too. Another initiative Koetter cited was the availability of child care at some of the parish functions and at the 11 a.m. Sunday service.

Koetter said the plan is progressing, and though some were worried about the transition to a new pastor, Augenstein’s arrival was not a hindrance.

“[Previous pastor] Father Paul [Etienne] was one of the innovators and heavily involved, but it didn’t miss a beat,” he said. “Father Eric was very supportive with ideas.”

In fact, Koetter credited some of the plan’s success to Augenstein.

“Father Eric has been very instrumental is helping to revive some of the committees that were struggling,” he said.

While Our Lady’s Catholic school was not incorporated in the Envision plan, programs have been added there as well.

Principal Terry Horton said the school added full-time day care for preschool students, and with a $10,000 grant from the Caesars Foundation of Floyd County, it updated the day care and extended-care facilities.

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