I am very happy to share with you are the results from the Parish Planning session that was held on April 21. The Pastoral Council has spent considerable time and effort reviewing all of the comments and have sorted them into the following priorities.
In the near future the Pastoral Council and I will let you know about a follow up meeting for the entire parish to review these together and discuss how we may implement what you have identified as important for Saint Benedict Parish to consider.
Priorities from Planning Sessions
Communicate to parishioners the ministries that are available at St. Benedicts Church. Include information about each ministry.
The Parish and the school need to be more welcoming to each other. We should pray and work together more closely. We need one another.
We need to find a way to increase participation at Mass and in Church activities.
We need to make more Catholic educational opportunities available to all parishioners.
Hold a youth themed Mass on Sunday evenings Maybe 7pm, Possibly monthly, followed by Youth Group meeting/ event, Possibly weekly, if attendance warrant and would consistently bring in high school, middle school and college youth. Establish Youth Group, Meet monthly – possibly after youth themed Mass on Sunday evening.
Possibly subgroups (MS, HS, College) for all or part of meetings (i.e. visit nursing home; assist parish senior citizens with raking, shoveling). Youth to Youth mentoring (HS to MS College to HS). Budget for Youth. For Youth Group. For youth attendance at various diocesan, regional etc. conferences.
Have a finance development/marketing committee to promote the parish and insure continuity of income. These can be subsets of the Finance Committee.
Focus on the children both in the school and Religious Ed. Do what we must do insure that they are solid Catholics in the future and are our parishioners of tomorrow.
Our money must be invested in them.
Have a physical place for social gatherings easily accessible from the Church. The cafeteria is too difficult for seniors and often too small.
Combine Parish/School picnic in Fall – “promote oneness” and better publicize school and parish specific functions between one another (monthly newsletter/email).
More student involvement, for both Saint Benedict School students and public school students, in parish liturgy.
Better promotion of Saint Benedict School through Parish media/weekly Mass (talk about how great school is).
Better mobility and accessibility into school space so parishioners can more easily see and use school buildings for parish functions (non school time parish community center)
Communication/education, - use homilies as communication mechanisms and also place spiritual readings in a more historical context to give greater meaning and relevance to facilitate spiritual growth.
Music – a hot topic in the parish – debate between old time music and newer unfamiliar songs.
Lack of participation in singing might be attributed to frequent use of songs unknown to the majority of parishioners.
Minimize introduction of new songs. Increase songs that are singable and vibrant; support for old time traditional music;
use ONE book.
Mass times: if changed enlist feedback from parishioners; coordinate with other parish schedules; consider liturgy committee.
Involve laity more fully in life of St. Benedicts.