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Letter From Fr. Dave Richards

Letter and Parishioner Town Hall Meeting Analysis

Author: Janet Corda/Saturday, March 20, 2021/Categories: Matters of Interest

March 20, 2021

Dear Parishioners at St Teresa of Calcutta Parish,

As you all know, I held a parish townhall meeting on March 2nd and invited all those interested in joining me on a journey to grow this parish and restore the vibrance that has been a driving force here for almost 125 years.

I am grateful to the more than fifty people who attended and offered their perspectives, concerns and dreams related to where we go next.  This is a difficult time for the Church and this parish, given the challenges of scandals, bankruptcy, and the pandemic.  In spite of all of that, I am edified by your faith and your desire to become an even more vibrant parish, and I look forward to seeing where the Holy Spirit leads us.

For those who did not attend, the group discussion revolved around three questions:

  • What do you like about this parish?
  • What are your concerns or the obstacles to moving forward?
  • What ideas do you have?

The answers were categorized, and can be found below, and can also be found on the table at the break in church.  Moving forward, Deacon John Hendricks and I will assemble a “Group of Advisors” shortly after Easter and begin deciding on our priorities.

I ask two things of you.  First, please include St Teresa parish in your prayers, daily – if you haven’t yet, set that 9:05 (recalling St Teresa’s 9/5 feast day) alarm to remind yourself!  Next, be open to working with us – either as part of the Group of Advisors, or on the working committees that will be established to address and resolve these issues and improvements, hopefully sometime in May.

Communication

I will use the bulletin and the website (and eventually our Facebook page) as my primary means of communicating the events related to this initiative.  If you would like to receive email updates, please contact the parish office (683-2746) and ask to be placed on our email list.

In Christ’s Peace,

Fr. Dave Richards
Pastoral Administrator
St Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Depew

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St Teresa of Calcutta Parish - Townhall Meeting: March 2, 2021 (1:00; 7:00) - Session Notes - Analysis

                                     Categorization of Comments, across ALL groups

Comment

Category

Type

  • We have a strong sense of community
    • We work together to build the parish
    • We help each other, like family

Commitment to Parish

Like

  • We’re ready for this challenge

Commitment to Parish

Like

  • Communicate better with each other

Communication

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Parish’s faith commitment is a strength

Faith Commitment

Like

  • We need to share our Faith more openly

Faith Commitment

Concern, Issue

  • Atmosphere is ‘homey’; people feel a part of the community

Family atmosphere

Like

  • Bingo Teams work well together; many compliments

Family atmosphere

Like

  • Family, friendly

Family atmosphere

Like

  • Love/concern/care for one another

Family atmosphere

Like

  • Loving concern: Easy to feel a part of the community

Family atmosphere

Like

  • People become family

Family atmosphere

Like

  • Very welcoming

Family atmosphere

Like

  • Very welcoming, hospitable

Family atmosphere

Like

  • We like each other: get together often socially and to support fundraisers

Family atmosphere

Like

  • Not strong financially

Financial Viability

Concern, Issue

  • Need more spiritual development

Formation: Adult

Concern, Issue

  • No Adult Faith Formation
    • Scripture; understanding our Faith
    • Need to push Formed

Formation: Adult

Concern, Issue

  • Adult Faith Formation

Formation: Adults

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Develop engaging activities for the 20-50 year-olds

Formation: Adults

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Hold a Soup ‘n Scripture program during Lent

Formation: Adults

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Hold evening programs for adults

Formation: Adults

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Spiritual Development; retreats

Formation: Adults

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Start the Seven Churches visits again

Formation: Adults

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Clergy crisis killed youth program

Formation: Youth

Concern, Issue

  • CYO

Formation: Youth

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Excellent Religious Ed

Formation: Youth

Like

  • Hire a Youth Minister

Formation: Youth

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Review previous youth programs that worked

Formation: Youth

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Small number in Religious Ed

Formation: Youth

Concern, Issue

  • Youth activities like ‘Praise Band’

Formation: Youth

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Need to provide Senior Services, homebound ministry
    • E.g. buy a van to bring people to church

Inreach

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Merging St Augustine with St Teresa
    • Went well
    • We had a good feeling about this parish

Interparish Collaboration

Like

  • Don’t have a pastor

Leadership

Concern, Issue

  • Homilies, Message: Stuck in the past
    • Stagnant and disconnected from our lives
    • Not engaging

Liturgy: Homilies

Concern, Issue

  • Liturgies: Homilies are very good
    • Music: great diversity

Liturgy: Homilies

Like

  • Grow the music program; post COVID-19

Liturgy: Music

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Liturgies: Music: great diversity

Liturgy: Music

Like

  • Include young people in the Liturgy

Liturgy: Youth

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Easy for us to ‘pack the hall’ for events

Ministry Effectiveness

Like

  • Great collaboration and cooperation across parishioners

Ministry Effectiveness

Like

  • People work well together

Ministry Effectiveness

Like

  • Well organized events

Ministry Effectiveness

Like

  • Do an outdoor Mass in the cemetery

Misc

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Gives Boy Scouts ability to get badges

Misc

Like

  • Put up ‘side screens’, like in gym at OLP

Misc

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Expand Community Outreach
    • Food pantry
    • Ministry to Homebound

Outreach

Ideas, Recommendations

  • More ecumenical activities

Outreach

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Outreach:
    • Response to Love
    • Food Pantry
    • Involve the Rel Ed students

Outreach

Like

  • COVID-19 has seriously impacted our Mass attendance and ministries

Pandemic

Concern, Issue

  • Amazing History: some families date back to the 1800’s
    • Sense of pressure, responsibility to keep this going

Parish History

Like

  • History of the parish: since 1898

Parish History

Like

  • Elderly parish
    • How to attract younger people?

Parish Membership

Concern, Issue

  • We acknowledge that we could be more attractive to people

Parish Membership

Concern, Issue

  • Excellent resources:
    • Large church
    • School building in good shape
    • Large plant

Parish Resources

Like

  • Facilities need updating

Parish Resources

Concern, Issue

  • Parking

Parish Resources

Concern, Issue

  • How to tap into parishioners that are not involved, active in the parish

Stewardship: Time

Concern, Issue

  • Lots of volunteers who work hard

Stewardship: Time

Like

  • Need more workers; new blood
    • Can’t be the same old people

Stewardship: Time

Concern, Issue

  • Need to actively invite and engage more people to get them involved in what we do

Stewardship: Time

Concern, Issue

  • Willing to help out; responds well to requests

Stewardship: Time

Like

  • If there is a need, the parish responds really well

Stewardship: Treasure

Like

  • Parish did a ‘Go Fund Me’ to send two young ladies to World Youth Day

Stewardship: Treasure

Like

  • Some people are extremely generous

Stewardship: Treasure

Like

  • Tap into social media

Technology

Ideas, Recommendations

  • Technology needs to be updated

Technology

Concern, Issue

 

 

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