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.
Click here to download a PDF of the Parish Council Communiqué