Minutes from Parish Pastoral Council, January 24, 2023.
Attendance: Lorne Stang (chair), Bernard McDonell, Cameron McCormick, Nancy McKinnon, Dean McDonell, Emma Rayburn, Jeannie Coleman, Elizabeth McDonell, Deacon John Kennedy, Fr. Jonathan Blake
- Prayer & Check in! Everyone shared their highlights from 2022.
- Testimony. We are investing more and more into hospitality, which includes a culture of prayer at all events and meeting. We also had Lorne share his testimony at some of our Christmas Masses, and will be inviting others to share as the year continues. Tonight, Lorne invited Fr. Jon to share is journey of faith, from computer programmer to the priesthood.
- Pastoral Plan 2023: We are continuing our journey of parish renewal from maintenance to mission. Fr. Jon shared with us how he received coaching in 2021 from Amazing Parish, and last Fall with Divine Renovation. These programs are to help pastors, and parish leaders, to move their parishes from maintenance to mission.
Our current emphasis is around the 3H’s: Hymns, Homilies, and Hospitality. Hymns: hymns/songs in Mass should be uplifting, inspirational and joyful to engage parishioners. Homilies: should be insightful, thought provoking, moving, emotional, relatable to reach people. Hospitality: parishioners should be kind, caring, warm, welcoming to invite new members and to keep existing members.
We are also investing more into the Sunday experience. Some Sundays are more important than others. Sunday Mass experience should be joyful and meaningful for people. There is a social after the 11am Mass at St. Finnan’s Basilica. This is bringing in new people, making the Sunday experience more meaningful for our parishioners.
Leadership and Evangelization. We are also focusing more now on a new discipleship pathway, a journey to walk with people in faith, focusing on 3 pillars: Community, Kerygma, and Catechesis.
On Community, and relationships. How can we welcome new members, connect with new parishioners, and connect current parishioners with one another? We are looking at ways to invite new members to our gatherings, and upcoming programs, including our Alpha Reunion. Indeed, this is opportunity to share the joy of our faith, and to build trust and respect with everyone.
On Kerygma, and evangelization. The Kerygma is the proclamation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and inviting parishioners to experience the Crucified and Risen Lord in their lives. Our primary program, rather culture is that of our Alpha Sessions. We are now working on creating new opportunities to connect via small groups that focus on parish renewal, CCO Discovery and Commission, Formed.org programs like The Search, On Forgiveness, Presence, The Chosen. Stay tune in February for details on a small group near you.
On Catechesis, and mission. The discipleship journey continues, and as parishioners walk in faith with our community, and Jesus, they are invited to learn more through particular programs including Sacramental Preparations for Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage. We are looking at new ways to reach out to couples and families on this journey.
Our parish council members are looking on applying the three pillars when working together with our four parishes, at all our Sunday Masses. As Fr. Jon mentioned, the Church is not just an institution, but a family. We belong to the Church.
We must find new and more ways to be more intentional with people. How do we reach out to people who are not in the church, or fallen away? We are looking for families to help in Sacrament Preparations, and to evangelize the youth of our parishes, along with their parents. Also, we are hoping to start a new Seniors ministry soon.
Many things are happening, but of course, the main focus is the reliance on the Holy Spirit. We cannot do this all by ourselves. There is only so much we can physically do to get people back to church, and help them find their spiritual home. People have to want to be there. We will do our very best to continue with the mission, of making disciples, of making saints! We we also rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to do the rest.
Alpha continues to be one of our priorities. The Alpha Sessions have served our parishes well in the past few years, with last Fall’s gathering being a highlight for many of us. It has brought in new members, and two parishioners will be received into the Catholic Church at Easter time. Save the date for this Fall, as registrations will be open for new Alpha Sessions.
The Pastoral Calendar is busy! We are working on ways to improve communications between all parish reps, Councils, and parishes. We want to avoid conflicts in the pastoral calendar. If you have suggestions on how to improve the Nota Bene (parish news), the Sunday announcements and print copy, and/or the website, please speak with someone from the Pastoral Council.
4. On New Members. To follow along with diocesan protocols we’ll be implementing 3 year terms for all members of the Pastoral & Finance Council, with one year possible extension if needed. There will be clear and simple explanations of the responsibilties for each member. Our pastoral year runs from September to September, with 7 or 8 meetings during the year. Some of our members will be leaving in the Fall, and we need new members from each of our 4 parishes. If you are interested, please speak to someone on the Pastoral Council about your interests.
5. Recap and Christmas and our New Year’s Masses. It was difficult. The winter storm caused 3 Mass cancellations for our North Glengarry Parishes (Maxville, Greenfield, and Apple Hill). All masses were at St. Finnan’s Basilica, with livestreaming, but were also affected by the storm.
One Mass was scheduled for New Year’s Eve, 5pm, and one for New Year’s Day, 10am. Last year there were to Masses during the day, which were poorly attended. Therefore, one Mass was scheduled, which was not well received because it was also a Sunday. We will continue to work at communicating all changes through the Nota Bene (email, print, website, and Sunday Announcements).
6. On Youth Ministry. We ran out of time to fully discuss all that has been happening since last year. Our youth group meets every Thursday at Shalom House for ongoing community, and formation. They also meet every Friday night at Tim Horton’s Dome for Ultimate Frisbee. Some of the youth are preparing to fundraise for a trip to Toronto for the Lift Jesus Higher rally on March 4th. There continues to be a parents & tots drop in every Thursday morning at Shalom House. Finally, we now have Children’s Liturgy at the 11am Mass at St. Finnan’s Basilica.
7. Meeting ended at 9pm. Next meeting, to be announced.