Here are more answers to questions people asked back at the start of June. We have lots of questions left to answer! Thank you for your patience as we go through this transition.
What are your plans to pull or attract “lapsed” parishioners back to services? Otherwise changes are moot. What a wise question! I am not sure. I’d love to hear your ideas. The ideas in the book Rebuilt: Story of a Catholic Parish make sense to me. Here’s an inadequate summary. 1) Leadership: cohesive, healthy leadership by pastor, staff, and key volunteers. 2) Grow Wider: focus our parish culture on those who are lost or weak in faith; that means calling parishioners to serve, invite, and offer hospitality. 3) Grow Deeper: clearly communicate the steps to help our parishioners to go deeper in faith. 4) Exceptional Weekend Experience: great preaching, great music, great fellowship. These takes generous volunteers and donors.
Do you anticipate more full pews on Sunday, with people from all churches, or likely the same people attending their own church? I think some people will go to Mass at their preferred church, maybe at a different time. Other people will go to Mass at their preferred time, maybe at a different church. There will be, at first, fuller pews on Sunday. What happens longterm depends on how well we help people meet Jesus and grow as disciples. That’s why the last question is so important and wise.
How are you going to meet all the parishioners and continue your work at the tribunal? I only work 12 hours a week at the tribunal, so I hope it will work out. Let me know if my performance as pastor is poor.
Where is Deacon Dana going to be? Deacon Jim? Deacon Jim retires on August 1 after 20 years of service as a deacon! What a gift from the Lord! He still plans to help our combined community. I’d love to have Deacon Dana with us, but we will have to wait to see where the Archbishop assigns him. I think we will know his assignment before August 1.
Will our rectory remain open? Here’s our tentative plan: Msgr. Bommarito lives at the IHM rectory, and I live at the SJB rectory, and the parish staff is based in the SSP rectory. We may need to base some maintenance staff at each site.
Where will the sacramental records for my children be kept, both those performed at Resurrection parish previously and those performed at St. John the Baptist? Sacramental rectors from SJB and IHM will be kept at the Archdiocesan Archives. I believe this is also true of pre-2005 sacramental records from Resurrection, Holy Family, St. Boniface, and St. Mary and Joseph parishes. I’ve found Archdiocesan Archives to be very friendly and helpful, but if you need help contacting them, our staff can help.
Can we create a single youth ministry for all three parishes? I would love to help! This is a great idea. Thanks for your willingness to help! Most of all, youth ministry needs adults willing to invest in our teens. If a strong group of adult volunteers comes forward, I would love to try your idea.
Can we establish a Facebook group with members of all three parishes? It’s a great idea!
Will the SJB and IHM websites continue or at some point will we have a new combined site for all three parishes? Our website matters a lot for reaching people who have never gone to church or who rarely go to church. I think we’ll need a combined site for our combined parish fairly quickly.
Will there be a blessing of the sick? We will certainly continue to offer Anointing of the Sick and prayers for the sick periodically. We’ll need to learn how each parish used to do this and think of a good plan for the combined parish.
Are you open to doing different Masses, for example, a children’s Mass once month or a girl scout Mass? Can we have a set family Mass each weekend? It would be great to have kids cantoring, performing liturgical dances, and readings. The idea of a girl scout Mass sound worth trying; special Masses can draw people who don’t normally come. But for special Masses to help, we need an exceptional weekend experience. Otherwise people come, find church mediocre, don’t notice Jesus’ love, and don’t come back. Part of an exceptional weekend experience is helping kids and families pray. What does that look like?
Are you excited to come to SSP? Yes! And nervous, too.
God bless you!
Please pray for our parish!