PARISH CONVOCATION & SURVEY
OUR PARISH CONVOCATION WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE! While the planning has ended, we are leaving these pages up in hopes the information can serve as a model to other parishes.
Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Parish is a warm and welcoming faith community in the town of Bourne on Cape Cod. Please help us continue to meet your spiritual needs by completing the survey!
It was announced at our Thanksgiving Mass that in 2015, St. John's will begin a Parish Convocation, a series of gatherings in which we as a community will work to create a vision, objectives and goals for our parish as we prepare for not only our 50th anniversary as a parish in 2019, but most for the next 50 years after that.
An important part of that process is hearing from everyone, those who attend Mass daily and those who don't attend much at all. Keep an eye on this page for survey results!
More information about the Convocation is below.
Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you (Isaiah 60:1b)
At Christmas, we celebrate the coming of Christ, our light, into the world. The ritual of baptism tells us that “this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly.” The purpose of the Church and of the parish is to help one another to keep the light burning, particularly during the times when darkness tries to rule our lives. The work of the parish is to encourage, comfort, strengthen and at times to challenge us so that we may be true to ourselves and live a life that is full of joy.
Over the centuries, the Church has adapted to the various cultures and times to make the Gospel understandable and accessible to the people of a particular time. The message of the Gospel is itself timeless and is an anchor that keeps us rooted in an ever-changing world.
Pope Francis and Bishop da Cunha have been challenging us to move from a role of maintenance to mission. That is, to do what we have always done to bring the relevance and joy of the Gospel to people’s lived experience.
This month we will begin a Parish Convocation, a gathering of people of St. John’s to help us as a parish to meet this challenge. We invite you to be a part of this exciting process. The convocation will be made up of 4 gatherings beginning in January and ending in April. It will be an opportunity to shape the direction of our parish over the next few years as we prepare for our 50th anniversary as a parish.
This process is open to anyone, regardless of whether you attend Mass daily or rarely, whether you are a lifelong Catholic or looking at becoming Catholic, young or old, regardless of who you are. You, as a beloved child of God, have something to offer our parish.
The tasks of the sessions are as follows:
January 17: Session One: come to an understanding of the purpose of a parish. Identify the major needs and issues facing St. John the Evangelist Parish.
February 28: Session Two: Break down the needs and issues identified at the first session. Brainstorm ideas, programs and strategies to address these needs and issues.
Postponded: Session Three: Break down into Work Groups to begin evaluating needs and issues for that area of focus as well as the ideas, programs and strategies
April 11: Session Four: Each Working Group develops an action plan. All actions plans are submitted to the Pastor to be used in developing a 4-5 year plan.
Session are held from 10AM to 2PM. Lunch will be provided. The other sessions will be on February 28, March 14, and April 11. We invite you to attend all 4 sessions, or only those you are able to. To help us plan for lunch, I ask that you let us know if you will be attending one of the sessions by the Wednesday before. You can RSVP at Coffee and Donuts on Sunday Morning, through our website or Facebook Page or by contacting the parish office.
Above all, please pray for our parish, that we may continue to bring Christ’s light to those in our community.
January 17 Notes:
If you recall in last week’s newsletter, Fr. David gave his opening presentation at the first convocation session. He stated, “To be Catholic is to be in love with Jesus Christ and to commit ourselves to a relationship with Him, a relationship involving the whole person”.
Forming Intentional Disciples tells us that there are 3 concurrent journeys that the disciple (or Catholic) takes:
“The personal interior journey of a lived relationship with Christ resulting in intentional discipleship.”
The “ecclesial journey into the Church through the reception of the Sacraments of initiation.”
The “journey of active practice (as evidenced by receiving the sacraments, attending Mass, and participating in the life and mission of the Christian community.”
Over 40 people attended the first session. Gathering and working in small groups, participants kept the three journeys in mind as they analyzed the survey results.
Groups were asked to review the survey responses, divide them into three categories:
1.) Positives of the Parishes;
2.) Challenges; and
3.) Needs – then the groups were asked to list what they believed to be the most important responses in each category.
Here are their findings:
Positives of Parish
1. Parish is friendly, warm & welcoming
2. Parish fosters individuals & their desire to deepen relationship with Jesus Christ
3. Fr. David and Parish Staff
4. Use of technology as an outreach tool
5. Opportunities for Personal Faith formation
6. Homilies inspire and connect scripture to everyday life
Improved music ministry provides inspiring prayer & worship and meets most people’s
8. Parish is aware and responds to the needs of ill, homebound and poor
9. Variety of ministries that serve others
Fr. David’s blessing of children
1. Use of wing house property
2. Making Church/Mass relevant to
b. Young Adults
3. Increase Mass attendance
4. Cursillo/Other Adult Retreats
5. Determining what makes people drift away
6. Finding ways to evangelize ALL people
7. Communicate welcome from Fr. David at Mass
8. Getting more people involved in parish life to meet the challenges and needs
9. Increasing number of volunteers to assist with ministries/activities
10. Focus on the mission of the church and educating what SJE is really about
11. Increase awareness and conversations on world challenges
12. Establish a men’s group/guild
13. Post-confirmation activities/opportunities for teens
14. Electing a parish council
15. Obtaining a Deacon
16. Improve communication
17. Identifying the needs of each group
18. Fundraising and balancing budgets
19. “Hooking” children at young age (service, altar server, passer, singer, donut helper)
20. Collaboration among ministries where “young and old” work together
21. More family events
22. Church community involved in sponsored activities/sports
23. Informing about importance of working on a relationship with Christ and church
1. Personally invite parishioners to join/volunteer for various activities
2. Discovering/uncovering talents and gifts of parishioners
3. Deepen knowledge of faith across all ages
4. Increase parish involvement/activity in the wider community
5. Establish youth and family ministry
6. Group for younger children outside of faith formation classes
8. Include an evening weekday Mass
9. Increase youth involvement at Mass i.e. Lifeteen Mass
10. A “welcome wagon” for new parishioners
11. Scripture sharing/bible study sessions for adults
12. Classes/workshops on the Mass and its meaning
13. Better communication using various methods
14. Discover and address needs of young families
15. Discover and address needs of young adults
16. Provide service and mission opportunities
17. Establish groups for
d. Young Adults
Create social events that are age-group specific
Our next session will be held on Saturday, February 28. If you can make this session (even if you did not attend the first) we would welcome your feedback and input.
During Session Two we will break down the aforementioned needs and challenges and we will brainstorm ideas, programs and strategies to address them.
ALL ARE WELCOME AND ENCOURAGED to attend whether you are 14 or 114 years old!
To RSVP, please contact the parish office by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 508-563-5887 so that lunch can be ordered. You can also visit the parish center during “Coffee and Donuts” after each Sunday Mass to sign up!
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Session Two Summary of Our Parish Convocation
This past Saturday, forty people gathered for our second session in our ongoing parish convocation. Parishioners processed the information gleaned from the first session and selected the top ten needs and challenges (based on the parish survey results) that our community should address. Upon selecting those needs and challenges, thirty of the forty signed up for a designated work group that would address the issues. More on the outcome in a moment.
The selection of the “top ten” was not entered into lightly. Participants were presented with a summary of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) written by Joe Paprocki, DMin. In his summary, Paprocki re-emphasizes Pope Francis’ seven areas of concern:
We Must be a Church on a Mission
We Can Overcome Challenges to Serve this Mission
Everyone Needs to Proclaim the Good News
We Need Better Homilies and a More Evangelizing Catechesis
Love of God Necessitates Love of Neighbor
We Need to Work for a Peace Based on the Common Good of All
The Holy Spirit Must Fuel Our Evangelization Efforts
Upon a table discussion of this summary, and keeping Pope Francis’ goals in mind for the Church, participants were asked to individually select their top ten needs and challenges. The selections were totaled and appear as follows (in no particular order):
Making Church/Mass relevant to Families
Getting more people involved in parish life to meet the challenges and needs
Post-confirmation activities/opportunities for teens
Getting children interested at a young age (service, altar server, passer, singer, donut helper)
More family events
Personally invite parishioners to join/volunteer for various activities
Deepen knowledge of faith across all ages
Increase parish involvement/activity in the wider community
A “welcome wagon” for new parishioners
Establish groups for
But the work of the convocation did not and does not stop there. Once the top ten were listed, each table group was asked to think “outside of the box” and to brainstorm how the community of St. John the Evangelist could address the needs and challenges. This task took the remainder of the afternoon and gleaned some very interesting ideas. The ideas for each challenge and need were then separated into four different categories:
Due to space constraints for the newsletter, it is impossible to list all of the ideas. However, you can find the complete list of ideas on our parish website!
So what is the next step of our convocation?
After participants brainstormed the ideas, each need and challenge was assigned to a specific workgroup and this is where the “work” of the greater parish community will take place. The top ten needs and challenges were assigned to three different workgroups:
Faith Formation (3) – Due to the many topics, this workgroup has three subgroups:
Youth, Family and Young Adults
· Getting children interested/involved at a young age (service, altar server, collector, choir,
donut helper, etc.)
· Post-confirmation activities and opportunities for teens
· Making Mass relevant to families and young adults
· Establish groups for youth, men, women and young adults
· Deepen knowledge of faith across all ages
· A “welcome wagon” for new parishioners
· Getting more people involved in parish life to meet the challenges and needs
· More family events
· Personally invite parishioners to join/volunteer for various activities
· Increase parish involvement and/or activity in the wider community
The staff also recognizes that there are three additional workgroups needed to address some of the runners up to the top ten list and they are: Prayer & Worship (6) and Temporalities (6) which addresses Buildings, property and budget.
Notice the numbers in ( ), this indicates the number of people who signed up for each workgroup. Whether or not you attended the first two convocation sessions, we still need your help to complete the work before us!
If any of the aforementioned workgroups are of interest to you, please consider joining us at our next Convocation. more details soon!
We are looking forward to this exciting time in our parish where our members of ALL ages have a voice!
For more information regarding the workgroups and their topics, please visit the links above to download the list. Also, the summary of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel can also be downloaded.
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