Divine Renovation Meeting – March 12, 2019
1)Why do people join our community? What does it offer them?
The parish welcomed us and people were friendly.
There was a sense of community.
Sometimes for Sacraments
Social activities like Theology on Tap
Sometimes to get school discount
We have a very flexible Mass schedule and there are enough opportunities for Mass.
A lot join because of the school. It is a huge draw.
We have a lot of fun events such as Ben Fest and Oktoberfest, Donut Sundays and Fish Fry’s.
There is always something to do every day of the week.
The church itself is a draw. It is beautiful. You can see our tower from many places.
We have a great Music program with wonderful concerts.
People have shared that they have come to Mass and feel comfortable right away.
We should survey the new parishioners to find out what brought them to St Ben’s.
When we notice people in church near us that seem to be sad or disturbed about something, we should reach out to the people to show that we care or even just say Hi.
I think people join to have a home. That is why I joined. There are not a lot of other ways to interact with people in the neighbor in person.
A sense of belonging.
Parish life is one of the few places where you need to be present in person.
I do think there is a certain segment at St. Ben’s that they have always been here. Their families and a connection to the past over generations.
It provides a way to fulfil an obligation.
They join when looking for Sacraments for their children. Or, for themselves like to get married.
They do not always join the community. They enter the community for what they are looking for.
In terms of involvement, maybe to meet people, and perhaps the school, too.
Faith in Jesus? (laughs) We should be talking about that….
Mass, the power of the Holy Spirit….
It offers faith, community, fun, fellowship.
2)Do your people know what is expected of them when they come forth for the sacraments or other activities?
Most people do not understand.
What’s expected when they want to receive a sacrament, yes. But not as a parishioner
How do we get people excited about their faith?
Most know what the minimum is, financial participation, prayers
At the 7:30 Mass, most people do know what is expected of them when they come forth for the sacraments or other activities.
At funerals and weddings, many are not aware of what to do and the priest can help them to know.
When a child is making their First Communion, it would be a good time to educate the parents about the sacrament.
In reviewing the section on setting expectations, we need to establish what our parish can ask of each member. There has to be a written plan that you can share with the parishioners.
We need to explain what each ministry does and distribute it to all new parishioners and at the Ministry Fair.
We need to stress that being a member of our parish is more than just coming to Mass on Sundays.
With Baptism it becomes pretty clear. Helping to raise a child in the Church maybe not.
Do we have a parish brochure?
Do people know about Ministry Sunday?
That they will be prayerful.
The longer you are in the parish; you seem to have expectations articulated.
Some parishes ask what ministry you will be involved with.
Expectations to give time, talent and treasure.
Athletics are clear in what is expected regarding volunteering.
It is a fine line of asking too much and having people leave.
If you don’t ask though, do people think it is worth it.
The expectations can be counter intuitive.
There is the behavior, belonging, belief. Page 150, that resonated, people who are older tend to uphold what they want to pass on.
How would we communicate the expectations?
It can start with a letter, then a conversation, etc.
On page 156, all are expected to worship, to serve, to grow, to connect, and to give.
Showing all the ways you can live that out here.
The expectations go both ways with people who belong, and staff offering opportunities. That makes it fair.
We should make a brochure.
We could divide time, talent, treasure into seasons/quarters.
People do need help unpacking those words. There needs to be more imagination as to what those things mean.
This makes me think of the grocery co-op opening soon in Uptown, almost every email I get from them, there is an opportunity to participate, sometimes little things/ sometimes big things. A variety of things. I got a personalized email for something in Lincoln Square. They make it specific, manageable, and fun. Giving people ownership and opportunity.
3) How can we create opportunities to which we can invite the unchurched in our parish?
Is Sunday Mass the best place?
We need to create a new paradigm. Belong, behave, Believe
At the handshake of peace maybe people should give names.
Sunday Mass is not the best place.
The fallen away can come back to Mass. They have a basic understanding. Non-committal or disgruntled with the Church, Mass is not the best way, maybe get them in the building, Benfest, fish fry.
It is good if there is a thing you don’t have to prepare for.
Personal invitation is the way to go. That is what gets people to come to things.
Something aligned with your values.
Try to think of the last big thing you committed to. People need to go to things together. Kids want to go with other kids for example. It can be hard to walk into something alone.
We can have a table; do you want to talk.
We need a welcoming committee at our events.
How can we create opportunities?
We can tweak some of our things.
We can have something fun and festive, but you can get over hurdles, have fun things at a booth.
We can have a swing or a couch near the booth, people can just come up and talk.
I do think all those big social events can be used to evangelize. It is a huge opportunity to invite to all other events.
At the concert for example invite people to come to midnight Mass.
Anything that is social is a gentle way to invite people to spiritual thing.
Palms and ashes are times when people want to come. They feel they are getting something in a way.
There was a statistic last Ash Wednesday, 40 percent may go to Mass, but normally something closer to 13 percent.
Do people really have to be a member of the parish to be Catholic.
What causes you to officially join.
We are not raising parishioners; we are raising disciples.
They may belong to the basketball community, it keeps them busy, what is missing.
What are we not promoting or educating on.
Is there a difference between teaching and forming?
I read a blog where someone was saying that they thought they were doing things right as a parent, modeling faith, and then realized that the children were interpreting actions in a different way.
Reinforcement from family.
The families do things together.
You have to create a spirit of enthusiasm so that the community is inviting.
We need to do a better job of greeting people as they enter the church so that they feel welcome. Ushers and all of us need to be more aware of those that are in the pews.
If people enjoy the experience, they will share with others and invite those that are not going to church to join us.
Ideas of different actions to try:
We need to make more opportunities to engage the unchurched when we have guests attending a wedding or a funeral or one of our social events such as Ben Fest.
Create cards to invite those that live around the parish. Do a neighborhood canvas.
Host events and invite members of the community – speakers with topics of interest.
Have a St Bens booth at various community festivals like RibFest or Retro on Rosco.
We need to do more marketing and advertising to invite others.
We need to find more ways to reach out to the community other than asking them to come to church.
When we have an event or activity, we need to make a bigger effort to share the details with those that are outside of our parish.
Ask our parishioners to invite their friends or anyone that might be interested in attending. We tend to think of those in the community rather than reach out to those that are not.
Make a conscious effort to collect information from those visiting so that we stay in touch with them and invite them to future events and activities.
4)How are small communities received in your parish?
*We have done some small groups in the past but do not have any now.
Does everyone who seeks a small community have access to one?
Not sure how many people seek and how many have access. Eight people seems to be the
What prevents you from having more small communities?
Knowing how to invite people.