As you know, the parish is in the midst of pastoral planning for the coming years. The Bishop has asked us to submit a plan by September, and we have already sent in a parish report on our present condition. I am sure he will also be impressed by the results of our Disciple Maker Index report. We did very well and were way ahead of most diocesan averages except for two categories that the pastoral plan for September will address.
When I submitted the report on our strengths, it became clear to me that the Main strength of our parish is that we have a number of small faith sharing groups that impact the wider life of the parish. Let me give you an example. Last Monday night, June 20th, we had a dinner in the rectory for members of the Social Concerns committee as well as many folks who work in various ministries: food drive, giving tree, funeral meals, Conect, English as a second language , the list goes on. Thirty one people attended the gathering put together by Barbara Bagnato and Rebecca Sweeney, the co-chairs. It was a festive night, but at the end of the meeting something powerful happened. Various people witnessed to the impact the work had on them as well as the people they ministered to. It helped all of us realize how important this work is: both the works of charity and the efforts to change society according to Catholic Social Justice teachings. Everyone present sensed that we were doing the work of the Kingdom, and they were grateful for the sense of meaning and purpose it gives to our lives. This was small group faith sharing that impacts the overall quality of life in the parish.
We have many other such groups: men’s and women’s faith sharing, bible study, Reach singers, Pastoral and Finance Councils, Total team, Emmaus retreat team, Reach teachers, Fourteen Steps team, Funeral reception team, Social Concerns ministry, Liturgy Committee, Education and Hope support team, Daily Mass community, daily adoration community… There are so many groups and ministries to join if one wants to deepen his or her Faith. Each group then adds to the richness of life at St. Jerome and makes us the great parish we are. Deo Gratias!