State of the Parish 2016
“How are things going in the parish?” is a question I hear occasionally. I usually just say
things are going great. Recently the Pastoral Council met to review our parish plan that
evolved out of the Know Love Serve process initiated by then Bishop Cupich a few years
ago. We presented the plan to the parish, but haven’t updated you on our progress since
then. That’s an area for improvement!
But first we’d like to share with you what we see as some of the parish’s successes. We
have enjoyed more Adult Faith Formation presentations with more & more people
attending. The recent 2 part presentation on Understanding Islam drew more than 130
people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike!
Last year’s Parish Mission with Doug Brummel attracted over 200 people. The year
before Deacon Harold kept us all awake with his dynamic teachings. Our next Parish
Mission will occur Oct 18-19 with nationally known musician and speaker Steve
John Fencik has deepened our knowledge of the Gospel of Luke as well as the
importance & meaning of the Triduum. A group of very dedicated parishioners just
completed the 24 week Bible Timeline. There is a Monday evening women’s Bible Study
as well as a Thursday morning group delving into Church history. About 30 people
participated in a Care for Creation evening put on by the parish Youth Ministry along
with Charity and Justice. The youth group, by the way, consists of 20-25 youth who meet
on Sunday evenings to grow in their faith as well as come together for service projects
throughout the year. Finally, Fr Mike made a presentation on his pilgrimage to the Holy
We are seeing increasing numbers of people coming to Eucharistic Adoration. An extra
half an hour was recently added to the Saturday confession schedule (4:00-5:00 pm) to
accommodate increasing numbers. Our newly formed Vocations Awareness Committee
has enthusiastically embraced this vital ministry. The gifts of books for Christmas and
Easter have been very well received. We gave out 500 of each! Charity and Justice just
completed its annual “Offering of Letters” in conjunction with Bread for the World. 186
people signed letters!
We have just concluded another successful year of Religious Education classes for our
young parishioners. Thank you, catechists and helpers! A group of middle schoolers
recently returned from a Sunday afternoon retreat with others from around the diocese.
We launched a new parish website. Check it out - www.stjoeparish./org. We also introduced Flocknote as a way to keep parishioners better informed of events. And, of course, there are ongoing annual activities such as Vacation Bible School, the camp out, Turkey Bingo, the Halloween Carnival, the parish picnic, a volunteer appreciation social, the community garden, and the monthly Knights’ breakfasts.
We have so many other ongoing active ministries: Parish Council, Finance Council, Faith Formation, RCIA team, St Gabriel Moms group, Charity and Justice, Stewardship, Eucharistic Ministry to the homebound, Hour of Faith, marriage prep, sacramental prep for children, prayer chain, funeral luncheon committee, lawn mowing crew, coffee and donut servers, Knights of Columbus, Seniors on the Go, lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, musicians, Altar Servers, ushers, and greeters.
And have I mentioned we have the greatest, most dedicated parish staff on the planet? Thank you Becky, Cindy, Barb, Teresa, and Deacon Chalo!
St. Joseph is a thriving faith community. As I recently wrote elsewhere my father was often known to say (usually at report card time!) “There’s always room for improvement”. We do have areas where we can do better: communication is a constant challenge. We need to find ways to reach out to young adults, especially when they’ve had a child baptized. Can we convince even more parents of the importance of religious education for their children? Can we draw even more adults into our many faith formation opportunities? Are we offering the best possible liturgies on a consistent basis? The Welcome Committee, having recently lost its chair when Jan Blondeau left this world after an inspiring fight with cancer, will soon return after a brief hiatus.
Looking ahead, 2017 will mark our 125th anniversary as parish. WOW! Think about all the Masses, baptisms, confirmations, communions, marriages, funerals, anointings, homilies, acts of service, hearts formed by the Gospel. That is certainly something to celebrate. The Pastoral Council is beginning to formulate a plan to celebrate the anniversary.
Thanks to your generosity we have met our Annual Catholic Appeal goals. We contribute to Valley Partners and Rice Bowl among others. Our Parish Our Future for hall and meeting room expansion is nearing the end of Phase 1. We currently have $614,000 out of $727,000 pledged. That means Phase 2 of the fundraising will begin later this year or early next year. All the while we have been able to keep the budget in the black. Thank you!
We can be both proud of and grateful for our parish community. So, the next time someone asks how things are going at St. Joseph’s I hope they are prepared for a long answer!
Fr Mike and the Pastoral Council