By: Kaitlin Larson
This week during our Parish Transformation meeting, we focused on important topics of evangelization, catechesis, prayer and worship, and the idea of communio, or a community brought together in Christ. These are all important aspects of our parish’s community and members were focused on how our parish incorporates these aspects and discussed what we like, what we feel might need to change, and how we want to be perceived to people looking for a parish community to join.
When discussing evangelization, the committee expressed a desire to increase our outreach in the community through service events. We are looking to build on what our church already has to offer like the food pantry, support at Christmas and night ministry. Social media is also a great outlet for our parish by being able to put powerful sermons online. It would be a way for parishioners to look back for a source of inspiration. Links could even be shared with family and friends, as a way to share our faith. We will be looking into ways to develop and utilize more committees through our parish to help us support those who are dealing with death, health issues, divorce, and to reach multiple age groups of parishioners, especially our teen population. 60% of teens in our parish attend non-Catholic schools.
The Parish Transformation team wants to further explore ideas like CHRP (Christ Renews His Parish), TEC (Teens Encountering Christ), and Kairos. These groups could also help us extend our faith to teens from other parishes and religions if attendees bring friends. Aside from our teens, we want to further explore how to improve our Pre-Cana program and preparation as well as use our RCIA program as an outlet for information. We also want to dive deeper into the sacraments and provide opportunities at sacraments to teach and share the meaning and its importance. This would be a nice ‘refresher’ for all and perhaps be informational for non-Catholics in attendance. There is a need for a deeper understanding of the Bible, Holy Days, and the meaning of what each sacrament means.
Our parish has been making great strides in the area of prayer and worship. Our music program has greatly improved with the addition of Kate Ryan, however we are looking for ways to incorporate more musicians to add to the great music program. We have found that ushers play a big role during the mass service as they do a great job of incorporating members of our parish community and welcome those who are new. We would like to establish a core group of dedicated ushers for our mass services. Homilies continue to be a driving force within our parish with their personal nature, relevance, and audience participation. We are continuing to look into ways to promote more consistency with our celebrants and finding a common thread among the different masses offered.
As always, we are excited about the progress being made and are looking forward to the opportunities to come. If you have any questions or feedback, please seek out a member of the parish transformation team.