ST. DOMINIC’S PARISH LISTENING SESSION – APRIL 8, 2018 6:30 PM
The members of our Parish Core Team, the members of the Pastoral Planning Committee from our Bishop’s Office and about hundred parishioners met last Sunday to discuss the Strategic Planning Process for our Parish. Our pastor opened the Meeting with a prayer and Mr. Robert Medeiros, from our Core Team, conducted the meeting. Members of the Core team gave presentations on the Finances of our Parish, the Ministries of our Parish, its goals and hopes for our future. Fr. Timothy Reis who was representing our Bishop assured us that our Bishop is concerned for the future of all the churches of our Diocese. Strategic Planning for the future of any parish is not a top-down decision, or a focus on parish deficits, but a matter of our parishes focusing on and building their positives. With all of that said the meeting then turned its attention toward the Listening Portion of the Meeting. All were asked to answer five questions. Those questions and our parishioners’ answers are as follows:
QUESTION ONE: WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT OUR PARISH?
– We are a small parish, easier to maintain than a larger parish, able to foster a real sense of community and be a real parish family.
– We have regular Daily Mass, a priest is always here for you, there is not a day where Mass is not held as is the case in some parishes.
– We have Mass in sign language, we leave Mass knowing that the handicapped, the elderly and those with special needs are welcomed here, no one is forgotten. Our parish has a heart.
– The house bound are visited every week, Communion is brought to them by our Eucharistic Ministers.
– We reach out to the greater community through all our parish organizations, no fundraising is done for the parish; all funds are turned over to other charities in our greater community.
– We have an active youth council that serves the parish and younger children of our parish through outreach and social and religious services.
– We are spiritually fed; our Homilies are good; they focus on the Word of God.
– Our pastor is a reliable manager.
QUESTION TWO: WHAT DOES THE PARISH NOT DO WELL?
– We do not have a Bible Study at this time.
– Our Choir could use some help, more volunteers, more instruments, etc.
– We could have more Family Masses with more youth participation.
– Faith Formation at all levels, especially at a Young Adult level.
– We need more Pro-Life involvement, serving the needs of all life from cradle to the grave.
– Outreach from parishioners, no one should assume that this parish will always be here without their involvement.
– We do not have a weekly or monthly day of Eucharistic Adoration.
– We do not have parish greeters welcoming people at the door.
– We need to look at “Best Practices” of other churches and denominations.
QUESTION THREE: WHAT CAN OUR PARISH DO BETTER?
– We as Catholics need to take greater accountability for the spreading of the Faith. We need to be “A Light to the World.” We have to put our money where our mouth is. We need to put Faith into action.
– We need to Market-Advertise ourselves better, beyond our parish boundaries. Tell others about ourselves, who we are, what we believe and what we do.
– We need to be better informed. Read the Anchor, our parish Website and other catholic papers. Listen to Catholic TV and Radio Stations like EWTN and Relevant Radio (550AM there is an App on the web for it).
– We need to support unchurched and forgotten, who are often times shunned. Example: the 20 to 40 year olds, the divorced and remarried, the LGBTQ community.
– We need to foster more Volunteers to make our parish safe for future growth. Need to inform people about our different ministries, what they do, where volunteer help is needed.
– We need Family Planned Programs to make faith a lived experience for our children. Ask children and parents what would bring them to church and make it real for them.
QUESTION FOUR: HOW CAN WE COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS?
(by show of hand 40 people present agreed this is necessary and are willing to do this)
– First of all we need to acknowledge that collaboration threatens Parish turf issues, we need to break down barriers and walls that prevent this from happening for the good of all parishes.
– We need to see ourselves as not individual Catholics Churches, but the United Catholic Churches of Swansea, Somerset, and Fall River.
– Who can we best collaborate with so we don’t reduplicate services when that is not needed or called for: St Louis, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of God etc.
– What kind of services could we offer on a collaborative basis: Penance Services, Bible Studies, Youth Programs, Interfaith services, different scheduled Mass hours, etc.
QUESTION FIVE: WHAT ARE THE DREAMY GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?
– It would be good to meet with the Bishop, invite to say mass for us from time to time.
– If above is not possible or practical then hold a Deanery Mass with the bishop at the Cathedral at least once a year.
– Have a Somerset-Swansea-Rehoboth Catholic School.
– Develop a Glorious Catholic Choir like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
– Get More Involve with The Anchor publications.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us…made us alive together with Christ…” Ephesians: 2:4-5 (NRSV)