Parishioner Communiqué - St Mark’s Parish Council
June 4, 2017
This communiqué is intended to provide you, our parishioners, with feedback from your parish council during the past year. Our parish council has now completed its 4th year of operation. We always remain eager to engage you -- with your ideas, issues, opportunities, or any other items that you may wish to bring to our attention. We strive to assist our spiritual leaders in making St Mark's Church and its parish community increasingly more vibrant, and responsive to God and to the needs of all parishioners. Our parish and its future direction have been entrusted to our Blessed Virgin Mother.
Primary Purpose & Membership on the Parish Council
Under our approved constitution, our primary purpose is to act as an advisory body to the Pastor
– to help him discern the long-term direction of the parish and to set priorities. We do not duplicate any of the initiatives and works of each parish ministry at St Mark’s. Those who served on the parish council this year have been: Antonietta Botticelli, Katie Boylan, Laura Knetsch, Gordon Lee, Elena Medina, Bruce Orr, Connie Quadrini [Chair], Judy Selvadurai, Mark Sullivan, Sylvia Usling, Father Michael Hughes, Deacon Wayne McCulloch, and Deacon John Schwarzbauer. Carol Morin has been our acting secretary. Also sitting as observers and contributors are Ben Tabucan and spouse Krystiana Garde-Lyn Tabucan, to represent the interests of our youth ministry.
Our council will have met 8 times by end of this year [June 30]. As many of you know, we are poised to proceed with the physical expansion of our church with construction beginning this summer. As well, we have undertaken further research for our parish spiritual journey of transformation called "Re-evangelization". This is to deepen the faith and intimate relationship by all parishioners with God, and to attract non-practicing Catholics into our parish community. Some highlights include:
- Our faith formation program this year began last fall with a very successful 8 week study entitled, "Unlocking The Mysteries of the Bible", with over 60 participants and facilitated by Sylvia Usling. Videos by Jeff Cavins, and workbooks by Sarah Christmyer enabled participants to uncover the story woven throughout Scripture in a simple manner to get the "Big Picture" understanding of the entire Bible. A second 6-week bible study on Philippians by Dr. Tim Gray will be offered at St Mark's this fall.
- Our council undertook further re-evangelization research by reviewing two documents: A book by Fr. Bob Bedard entitled "Give God Permission" and a workbook entitled " Divine Renovation Guidebook" by Father James Mallon, Pastor of St Benedict's church in Halifax in their 7th successful year of re-evangelization. Both books outline approaches to spiritually transform Catholic parishes.
- The Youth Ministry, under the leadership of Ben Tabucan, our Youth Co-ordinator, will begin piloting ministry model changes in the high school group in September, using the principles found in the "Divine Renovation Guidebook" by Fr. James Mallon. It will structure its ministry by engaging in activities in the areas of evangelization, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and worship to create more teenage disciples of Christ. The Youth Ministry is also dialoguing with Brother Andre High School to begin a formal Youth Alpha Program at the school.
- A second and most successful 10-week Alpha program attracted over 60 participants in the Jan- Apr timeframe, under the leadership of Connie Quadrini and Sylvia Usling. We continue to believe that Alpha is an essential feature for re-evangelization. The program will be offered once again the fall, and hopefully again next spring.
- • A 3-week successful Social Justice seminar, led by Paul Tomory was held during May.
- Our hospitality and faith formation initiatives were intensified during the past year. This included the 4th year of operation of our popular monthly Movie Night, led by Sylvia Usling, and increased sales of spiritual books and CD's in the church foyer. The Foyer bookstall also serves as a Welcome Desk on the weekends, supported by greeters at the front doors before all weekend masses. Hospitality [welcoming] continues to be one of our overarching priorities at St Mark's.
We hope that this communiqué is helpful. We welcome and value your inputs and your continued prayers and support.
– Member, St Mark’s Parish Council.
Parishioner Communiqué - St Mark’s Parish Council
This communique is intended to provide you with some insight into the work of the Parish Council at St. Mark’s Parish.
PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
Our primary purpose is as an advisory body to our Pastor, Father Michael, to help in his discernment of the long term direction of the parish and to set priorities. We do this by prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance, by reviewing the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan and by educating ourselves as to what has been successful in other parishes to bring about parish renewal. We share and discuss how to engage our parishioners to be intentional disciples of Jesus Christ by using their talents and gifts to bring about parish renewal. This advice helps our Pastor discern the Will of God for the future direction of St. Mark’s.
WHERE DID THIS LEAD US?
We held six meetings this year. Father Michael, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the advice of the Parish Council inaugurated the Alpha Course at St. Mark’s. People come together in the Alpha Course to begin a conversation about Life, Faith and God. Alpha is for everyone from all backgrounds, religions and viewpoints. Sessions include a meal, a short video talk and open discussion in small groups. I quote from a priest who ran this course in his parish: “Alpha is one of the few tools available to the church to use and use effectively…it works. Every time you run it, people’s lives are changed.” We believe lives were changed during the St. Mark’s Alpha Course. It provided a sense of belonging so that the guests were open to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Many experienced a deepened relationship with God, mainly through the action of the Holy Spirit and, we, as a parish provided the setting for the Alpha course to be successful in that endeavor.
Alpha is a 10 session process with our first get together being Tuesday, April 5th and our last ending on Tuesday, June 7th. We had an Alpha Day at the Carmel of the Infant Jesus Convent in Zephyr on Saturday, May 28th which was a very successful day. There was a strong community feeling and during our prayer time, many were touched by the Holy Spirit.
There were 60 people involved in the Alpha Course, which included the leaders, volunteers and participants. The parish provided the first three catered meals and a pizza dinner. A number of Ministries in the church took turns to prepare a meal for the Alpha Participants. We also had a good Music Ministry.
Many in the parish were involved in this endeavor with much enthusiasm and excitement. Our goal as a Parish Council to enable parishioners to become intentional disciples by sharing their talents and gifts in the service of others was realized. Also, of great importance, was a deepened relationship with Jesus Christ for all involved…the hoped-for fruit of the Alpha Course.
We, as a Parish Council, are thinking beyond Alpha for those who participated in the first course. It will be incumbent upon us to evaluate the whole process of our first Alpha Course at St. Mark’s and to make improvements as needed for the future.
The Parish Council also inaugurated the R. Michael Shewchuk Memorial Lending Library dedicated to the memory of Michael Shewchuk, who was a former parish council member. The Shewchuk family very generously organized and paid to have the beautiful Library cabinet built by another parish family who are in the cabinet making and related businesses, namely the Usling family. The Shewchuk family also kindly provided the seed funding both for the library resources as well. Since then, Sylvia Usling and many volunteers have been busy manning this very popular pastoral outreach. Along with the Lighthouse Catholic Media Kiosk,the aim of the Lending Library is to evangelize the parishioners of St. Mark’s Parish so that they may grow in love, in a relationship with God and with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Books and CDs are available that are Christ centered and approved by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
ONGOING PARISH COUNCIL EDUCATION
Father Michael has encouraged and enabled as many parish council members as possible together with a large number of other key parish volunteers to attain further education and insight by providing us with the opportunity to attend the New Evangelization Summit that took place in April 2016 at the satellite site in Toronto and Reboot Live! at Mary Immaculate Parish Community on June 8. Some members of the parish council and other parishioners will attend the Divine Renovation Conference in Halifax this June on parish renewal.
CURRENT PARISH COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP
Father Michael Hughes, Deacon Wayne McCulloch, Deacon John Schwarzbauer, Connie Quadrini - Chairperson, Jeanette Woodley – Vice-Chairperson, Sal Lombardo, Antonietta Botticelli, Katie Boylan, Albert Knowles, Laura Knetsch, Mark Sullivan, Judy Selvadurai and Monica Morand. Our acting recording secretary is Annalisa Parente.
We hope that this communique has been helpful in giving some insight into the workings of the Parish Council. We welcome your questions and insights either by approaching a parish council member or leaving a message at the Parish Office or St. Mark’s website.
We humbly ask for your prayers and your continued support of the Parish Council. Thank you.
– Vice-Chair, St. Mark’s Parish Council
Parishioner Communiqué - St Mark’s Parish Council
June 10, 2015
This communiqué is intended to provide you with some insight on the work of your Parish Council, now in its 2nd year of operation. We are eager to dialogue with you on any ideas, issues, opportunities that you may want to bring to our attention. Our overall purpose is to assist our spiritual leaders – Father Michael and our 2 Deacons – to transform our Church and Parish Community to be more spiritually vibrant and responsive to God and to the needs of all parishioners. We entrust our Parish and its future direction to the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Role of Parish Council
Our primary purpose, as stated in our approved Constitution, is to provide advice to our Pastor – to help him discern the long term direction of our Parish and set priorities. We avoid duplicating any of the work already underway by our many Parish Ministries.
Our Second Year of Operation
In this our 2nd year of operation, 2014/2015, we welcomed 3 new members who have made valuable contributions- Connie Quadrini, Susan Dizon and Katie Boylan.
We have, as a Council, continued our journey of dialogue, doing research on Parishes in Canada and the USA, which have been successful in achieving a deeply felt spiritual transformation within their Parishes. We have worked well as a cohesive team in dialogue. For this, we have continued to avoid “rushing off and doing things”, and instead focused on contemplative prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance. We have also continued to align our thoughts with the Archdiocese Pastoral Plan (APP) and in particular with the Parish Life Goals set by the Archdiocese.
We have also avoided setting priorities until we have had further dialogue and input from you. Along the way, we have been influential in helping the Parish with the following successful accomplishments:
- ·Continued great success of the religious book and CD stalls in the Church foyer
- ·Well attended and popular monthly spiritual Movie Nights
- ·Started the “EDGE” Program for children in Grades 6 to 8 this year
- ·More focus on becoming an even more welcoming Parish with several dynamic and successful Newcomer Welcome Lunches
- ·Women’s Group has been a huge success since its formation in 2014
- ·Sent several observers to St. Patrick’s Alpha Evangelization Program with the hope of running Alpha at St. Mark’s in 2016.
- ·Renewal of the Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministry for the sick and homebound parishioners
- ·Completed the Church Expansion Feasibility Study and received approval from the Diocese.
Parish Council Members
Our current membership is – Rosa Alaimo, Katie Boylan, Susan Dizon, Monica Kavanagh, Albert Knowles, Sal Lombardo, Bruce Orr, Connie Quadrini, Sylvia Usling, Jeanette Woodley, Deacon Wayne McCulloch, Deacon John Schwarzbauer, Father Michael Hughes and acting secretary, Antonietta Botticelli. We held 8 successful meetings this past year. We need 2 new Members At Large to join and replace those whose term is ending. We have scheduled this selection for Sunday, June 21st, 2015 after the 11 am Mass. Please consider submitting your name or that of another parishioner to join.
Annual General Meeting
We need to hear from you, and gain your valuable insights. Please plan on attending our Annual General Meeting to be held in the Church Hall on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.
If you are unable to attend and have any suggestions, please feel free to contact any of the members of the Parish Council or the Church office.
Thanks for listening,
Bruce Orr (Chair) on behalf of the Parish Council
Parishioner Communiqué - St Mark’s Parish Council
May 24, 2014
This communiqué is intended to provide you with some feedback from your newly formed parish council. More importantly, we are eager to engage you on any ideas, issues, opportunities, or other items that you may wish to bring to our attention. Our aim is to assist our spiritual leaders to make our Church and parish community more vibrant and responsive to God and to the needs of parishioners. We have entrusted our parish and its future direction to our Blessed Virgin Mother.
Primary Purpose of the Parish Council
Under our approved constitution, our primary purpose is to act as an advisory body to the Pastor – to help him discern the long term direction of the parish and to set priorities. We have not been chartered to duplicate any of the initiatives and work of each parish ministry at St Mark’s.
How to Engage Parishioners
We have held five meetings since our inaugural formation last October. Our council has been sharing ideas and discussing how to enable our parishioners to share their talents and gifts. This is to help provide relevant advice to our pastor in discerning God’s will for the parish’s future direction and setting priorities for renewal.
Getting Started as a Council
Part of our time spent together as a parish council has been to get to know each other better and establish a dedicated and focused team. This included familiarizing ourselves with the Parish Council constitution, its preamble, and its foundation that is based on Vatican II documents, Canon Law and Archdiocese policies. One of our first acts was to review this Constitution for St Mark’s. We also modified the constitution to allow one youth member under the age of 18 to be appointed by Father Michael with parental consent of the selected youth member. As well, we agreed to maintain a running list of issues, opportunities, new ideas and problems and to ensure that the relevant important items be addressed.
We also agreed that we should not rush off to “do things.” Instead, we decided to spend contemplative time in dialogue and in prayer with the Holy Spirit to assist us with our primary task of discerning God’s will and plans for our future direction for a spiritual renewal of the parish.
Some of our discussions focused on the priorities of evangelization and expanding our youth ministry by hiring a Youth Minister. We also have had an opportunity to discuss the archdiocese pastoral plan and recognize the need to incorporate it as a key directive in our work as a parish council. This pastoral plan is literally about renewal of the entire archdiocese with a relevant supporting capital campaign. There is also a need to understand and support the linkages between the pastoral plan and its capital fund raising campaign with the physical expansion of our church.
We have discussed how to go about setting priorities in light of the archdiocese pastoral plan and have identified the need for regular praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance. We are also undertaking some research in how other parishes have successfully proceeded with spiritual renewal. Our most recent discussions have been on how to engage parishioners at our annual general meeting to be held in June.
Some items that have or may emerge as a result of our discussions as a parish council include:
- A soup and scoop initiative to welcome new parishioners
- A Catholic Lighthouse media selection of booklets and CD’s in the church foyer.
- A parishioner prayer box in the church foyer, a dedicated charismatic prayer group to guide the parish council and the parish.
- Establishing more presence in the community by advertising in local media.
- A potential family Catechesis program to assist parents in the education of their children in the Catholic faith.
- The proposal to consider an adult faith-development program on St [Pope] John-Paul II’s theology of The Body And Civilization of Love this upcoming fall.
Current Parish Council Membership
At our 3rd meeting [1/21/14] we held elections and voted by secret ballot.
Voting Members : Rosa Alaimo [Secretary], Amelia Chong-Ling, Albert Knowles, Sal Lombardo [Agenda Committee ], Marina Magnante, Bruce Orr [Chair], Lloyd Pinnock, Michael Shewchuk, Sylvia Usling and Jeanette Woodley [Vice chair]. Regretably, Marina Magnante has resigned due to unforeseen external demands.
Non Voting Members  Father Michael Hughes, Deacon John Schwarzbauer, Deacon Wayne McCulloch.
We hope that this communiqué has been helpful. Thanks for lending an ear and we welcome and value your inputs and your continued prayers and support. We urge you to attend our upcoming Annual General Meeting, scheduled for Tuesday June 10th, beginning at 7:30 PM in the church hall.
Bruce Orr – Chairperson, St Mark’s Parish Council.