The Pastoral Council advises the pastor on issues important to the spiritual and material well-being of our parish and has nine monthly meetings each year. Minutes are taken and available to all, posted below, and on the hallway bulletin board. The Council meets in the church hall the second Monday of the month except for the months of February, July, and August when there is no meeting. Each meeting begins in the church sanctuary with a prayer (example) led by one of the council members. Any member of the parish is welcome to attend a Council meeting. The Pastoral Council is composed of the parish clergy, lay members of the religious education administrative team, and twelve elected adult parishioners. The twelve elected members serve two-year terms and may be re-elected once for a total consecutive term of four years. Six new members are nominated and elected every year in May, are commissioned with a special blessing at the Masses on Pentecost, and become part of the Council at the June meeting. A Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Secretary are then elected by the Pastoral Council members at the June meeting.
In 2003 nearly 400 parishioners responded to an in-pew parish questionnaire sponsored by the Council and the pastor. Please click here for the survey and its summary, and a synopsis of actions taken based on the survey. Again in 2009 nearly 400 parishioners completed a Congregational Life Survey designed to reveal areas of strength and weakness in the life of the parish. Please click here for a brief analysis of this survey. Partly as a result of this survey, a select Pastoral Council sub-committee was formed in March 2010 to recommend the goals of a Pastoral Plan to the Pastoral Council.
In September 2010 the Pastoral Council approved the pastor’s institution of an updated parish sub-committee on Building & Grounds to be responsible for the management, maintenance, and repair of buildings, grounds, and equipment.
The Pastoral Council meets nine times a year on the second Monday of the month from September to January and from March to June. There are no meetings in the months of February, July, and August. Should a national or state holiday occur on the second Monday of the month, the meeting will take place on the third Monday of that month. Pastoral Council meetings begin with prayer in the church sanctuary at 7:00 PM, followed by the meeting in the church hall from 7:25 – 8:45 PM. At the first meeting of the council year in September, members sign up for leading the opening prayer in the church sanctuary for each month’s meeting and for providing light refreshments in the church hall for each month’s meeting.
Any member of the parish is welcome to attend a Council meeting.
Rev. David Blanchfield, Pastor
Rev. Rojin, Parochial Vicar
Rev. Mr. Dean Finch, Deacon
Religious Education Team
Kathy Coyne, Director of Religious Education
Joe O’Callaghan, Jr., Youth Ministry
Anne Groener, REACH Co-ordinator
Nominations can be made by any adult parishioner during the nominating period. Nominees can be any person 18 years of age and a parish member for two years in good standing. Nominees must be willing and able to attend monthly council meetings and share their counsel and advice with the pastor. Nominees who accept are asked to attend the start of a Council meeting prior to the election, to have their photo taken, and to fill out a Nominee resume – a brief self-background and a statement why they wish to serve on the Council – which is posted publicly.
In 2003 nearly 400 parishioners responded to an in-pew parish questionnaire. The Council and the pastor sponsored this survey to gauge how parishioners perceive the liturgy and music at each of the Masses, the parish organizations and activities, the religious education programs, and special projects. Open-ended questions sought to learn from the parish family their responses for addressing adult Christian formation, personal parish involvement, social justice needs, ways to reach fallen-away and non-Catholics, parish activities, special needs, and parish communication. A comprehensive, yet succinct, summary of the responses, distributed as a separate document in the November 16, 2003 parish bulletin, is available, as is a synopsis of actions taken based on the survey distributed as a separate document in the June 20, 2004 bulletin.
Summary of 2009 Congregational Life Survey
397 individuals filled out the U.S. Congregational Life Study that the parish took in March 2009. 11% of the congregations were Catholic. In comparison to similarly-sized Catholic parishes, St. Jerome had two strengths: caring for youth and focusing on the community. We had five areas where we were higher than the Catholic average, one where we were the same and four where we were below the Catholic average. In the strength area of growing spiritually we were four points higher than the Catholic average. 90% said the parish met their spiritual needs. In caring for youth, 75% of respondents said they were satisfied with what we do for those under the age of 19. The third area where we were above the Catholic average was in focusing on the community. 43% said they are involved in social service or advocacy groups in the community. The Catholic average was 28%. For empowering leadership we scored 56% overall while the Catholic average was 39%. The fifth area was looking to the future. We had an overall score of 36% and the Catholic average was 34%.
In the area of meaningful worship the national average was 62% and the Catholic average 58%. St. Jerome’s was exactly at the Catholic average. For the question, do you experience awe during worship usually or always, the national average was 33%, the Catholic average 34%, and we came in at 23%. On the other hand, for the question, do you experience frustration during worship rarely, the national average was 72% the Catholic average was 67%, and we came in at 77%. The national average includes Churches with more freedom of worship than does a Catholic parish. We are ahead on lack of both boredom and frustration, but below on joy and a sense of awe. The Pastoral Council has put together an ad hoc Pastoral Planning committee to look at these questions.
In March 2010 a select Pastoral Council subcommittee began a several years-long effort at first crafting and then beginning to implement a Pastoral Plan for St. Jerome Church. The pastoral plan will identify problems to be solved, verify what is key or core to the life of the parish, and set important, new parish goals and objectives. This subcommittee will envision, that is, visualize the parish as if it were ideal and pass along this envisioning to the Pastoral Council for consideration and implementation. Minutes of the Pastoral Plan meetings are below. The March 22, 2010 minutes contain a non-prioritized list of what it is hoped the parish will achieve as new initiatives, what it is to avoid, and what it can improve. Members of the Pastoral Plan Committee include Fr. David Blanchfield, Dan Loch, Dick Maiberger, and Tom Rietano. Additional parishioners are invited to meetings by the pastor as the topics under discussion warrant.
November 9, 2010 Pastoral Plan Minutes
April 27, 2010 Pastoral Plan Minutes
March 22, 2010 Pastoral Plan Minutes
Building & Grounds Sub-Committee
The Building & Grounds Sub-Committee is responsible for the proper management, maintenance, and repair of buildings, grounds, and equipment: including supplies, insurance, and custodial supervision. The goal of this sub-committee is to construct a Five Year Plan for parish buildings and grounds which will be presented for approval to the Pastoral Council and to the Finance Committee. The supervision of all current and future work will be the responsibility of the Building & Grounds Sub-Committee. Members include Father David Blanchfield, Ray Cassidy, John Davis (chairperson), John Kuczo, Dan Loch (Finance Committee representative), and John Ostrowski.