Summary of Town Hall Meetings

St John the Baptist Catholic Parish
Town Hall Meeting Sessions 2015

Question 1 – Parish Ministries

As Catholics we provide sacraments to support a person’s whole life. Our parish ministries augment these sacraments. A common survey response was that there are still groups that felt that they did not have a relevant ministry in which to engage and serve

Please discuss:

• What ministry, either existing or proposed, would provide you the most relevant experience on your personal faith journey?
o Review the List of Existing Ministries – what is missing
o Are there things we could do to make the current ministries more relevant and effective?

Question 2 – Liturgy / Mass

The Liturgy of the Mass is at the heart of the SBJ community. Our goal is to increase participation in our masses. The SJB church facility can accommodate up to 1000 however our average mass attendance is closer to 500.

Please discuss:

• How could our Liturgy be more relevant & inviting?
• What is the role of music in the Liturgy of the Mass?
• Are there practices at other churches that we might use at SJB?

Question 3 – Supporting our Mission

God calls each of us to share our time, talent and treasures. True giving comes from the heart, not out of a sense of obligation. Sustaining SJB’s ongoing mission depends solely upon the generosity of the parish family. So while SJB is a strong community there is much more we can do to achieve our mission by creating a more engaged parish for each member.

Please discuss:

• How can we encourage those not engaged with SJB to become more engaged?
• Are there any specific things we could do better to encourage others to help fund our mission?
• Help us understand how you prioritize your own charitable giving

Existing Ministries at SJB:

Adult Education
Altar Linens
Adoration Chapel
Altar Servers
Arts & Environment
Boy Scouts
Care Ministry
Choir (Adult)
Cub Scouts
Catholic Youth Organization
Eucharistic Ministry

Fatima Group
Finance Council
Funeral Receptions

Hispanic Ministry
Knights of Columbus
Legion of Mary
Liturgy Commission
Men’s Bible Study
Office Volunteers
Pastoral Council
Pillow Ministry
Prayer Shawl

Religious Education
Sacramental Prep
School Advisory Council
School PFA
St. Francis Guild
St. John’s Catholic Community Foundation
St. Vincent de Paul
Youth Choir & Band Coordinator

SJB Town Hall Comments (January 17th, February 1st, and February 8th.)


Need Volunteer Coordinator

Orientation for new parishioners

Need more clarity of existing ministries
• mission & goals
• Promotion / Fair
• Provide level of commitment required for each ministry
• Make joining easier
• More promotion of Ministries – what they are doing and how to participate

Youth Ministries!!!!
• St Vincent DePaul
• Retain/Engage post-graduation youth
• More diverse
• Involve in Liturgy of the Word
• Music Focus
• Need parent commitment
• High School age / Young Adults
• Young Life
• Habitat
• Clean Up

Suggested New Ministry Ideas
• Marriage Prep ministry needed
• Divorced / Separated group needed
• Young Married Couples Group needed
• Need groups to address key social & political issues that impact our faith life
• Funeral Reception
• Altar Society
• Men’s Service Group
• Do more ministries in the community

Adult Bible / Continuing Education / Adult Faith Formation
• Small groups
• Families
• Catholics Don’t know the Bible

SJB School
• Maintain support
• Our biggest outreach

Need better social interaction to get to know others
• Similar Age groups
• Social commonalities
• Hispanic community integration

Greeters at all masses
• Add a “Welcome” table for visitors & non-Catholics. Gather info and then reach out

Initiate ESL (English as Second Language) group – connect Hispanic parishioners

Organize Adoration Chapel better

Need effective Digital communications, particularly to attract & retain young people

Bunko night / Game night

Feature Guest Speakers

Evangelism focus

Renew Program (from prior years)

Rosary Class

Capture energy from RICA


• Create a “Contemplative Minute” before mass for people to settle into God’s presence
• Encourage more participation in assisting in Liturgy (at least in offertory gifts procession)
• Balance traditional & more modern forms of worship – God will listen to both
• Can we make it more “inviting” – especially to those new or returning to the church?
• Rosary march (Oct) – Public display of faith
• Need to balance mass time between social interaction between parishioners and reverence for being in God’s house
• Altar Servers should model active mass participants
• Weekly handouts at mass to explain this Sunday’s Liturgy / Homily
• More frequent reconciliation
• Rope off the back part of the church during low attended masses to bring more people to the front
• Suggest a “dress code” for readers & Eucharistic ministers
• Have more frequent Town Halls to come together around important issues

• Relate to people’s life condition
• Make personal connections
• Nourish & Uplift
• Focus on not more than 3 points-then get to the points. Possibly identify the homily theme prior to mass on web, social media, or handout at mass
• Speak on the Pope’s writings to inform and inspire

Church Facility:
• Acoustics – some hearing problems even with hearing devices- technology solution?
• Lighting
• Tabernacle Location
• Spread out and “cold”
• Rediscover the Symbolism of the Church building

• Select “singable” hymns
• Should be designed to help us pray (not to entertain)
• Need more people singing – including altar servers
• Practice new songs
• Make Music a focus for change
• Innovate with music
• Don’t let Music be a “distraction”
• Use music to attract youth – reach out and see what they are thinking
• Music and Musicians should be the best
• Music should enhance the Liturgy & be consistent with the Mass theme.

Youth involvement:
• Need More (see ministries comments)
• One of the Sunday masses each week geared to youth specifically by Music & Message

Special intentions:
• Where is the book of Prayer
• Address key personal events (anniversaries, birthdays, etc)

Where is Vatican II emphasis – Gregorian chant

Parish Support

There needs to be a strategic parish plan shared with parishioners so they know where we are going

“Living our Strengths” – promote it again

Engagement needed before giving will occur:
• Being a volunteer is key
• Must be a personal connection
• People give to their “passion”
• Create an inviting feeling

Need social opportunities to create engagement:
• Potlucks

Encourage prioritizing each person’s giving:
• Everyone has capacity to give something
• Start at a young age teaching what it means to give to God
• Tell what it means to give to God
• Church should be first, part of the family budget
• Need to better inform the connection to giving to the church
• Need “Giving Education” – How to ask and how to give and why
• Continue to promote parish pay

Show appreciation

Reinforce SJB as our home and our family

Communicate / Communicate / Communicate – Be transparent

Share personal stories that encourage support

Use “Personal Commitment’ instead of “Pledge”

Campaign needed to invite newcomers / returning Catholics (making disciples)

Welcoming Committee

Use Social media to effectively communicate to a portion of the parish

Reserve Fund / Maintenance Fund

Recommend % of income that should support the church

Pass the basket (instead of using the long-handled collection baskets)

What “benefit” do I receive? -- Relate God’s blessings and giving back

Onsite ATM

Parishioners need to ask parishioners for support – not just the pastor’s duty

Ongoing “fun” fundraisers – Egg Roll sale

Provide more proactive financial foundation

Add choices to direct giving

How do we engage the next generation to be givers? Must feel needed and accept ownership.

Recognize and address donor fatigue


Question 1 – Parish Ministries:

• Have more workshops/opportunities to train for more ministries
• There is a need for the Youth to be active; ages 12-18
• Our young people are important – Parents need help; maybe a support group for parents
• Would like to see young adult group – ages 19 Plus
• Would like to have some sort of training that would help parents to communicate better with young people.
• Personal invitation to others to actively involve themselves in ministry; personal invitation works better
• Better preparation for the ministries; more training
• Would like donation box inside church so people can drop their coins in
• Would like the priest to pass along the message about the importance of being involved, and re-emphasize constantly
• We as a parish need to be fully involved in every aspect
• We would like to see more in couples group ministry; couples counseling perhaps
• Would like to have continual religious education, post communion preparation
• Better communication with the ministries already in place; many people don’t know that there is a Spanish language bible study group
• Training is needed to participate in ministries such as workshops, perhaps once a month
• Would like to see fellowship on a monthly basis
• Would like to form a cleaning crew, perhaps to help maintain the gardens
• Continue with the recruiting of volunteers
• Better ways to communicate between ministries
• We would like to see a yearly calendar with meetings and projects outlined
• We need a prayer ministry, a prayer hotline
• We would like to see more retreats

Question 2: Liturgy/Mass

• Music has to be in sync with the readings, the Word of God, and with the time of the season being celebrated
• Would like choir to begin 15 minutes before Mass to invite people to participate and practice songs
• Would like to see a Children’s Mass for the Hispanic Community
• The Eucharist is very important; perhaps we need to be better catechized
• We would like to see people greet each other before Mass
• Would like to see more popular songs incorporated into the celebration of the Eucharist
• The choir would like to have more music books
• Perhaps we can be catechized as to how to use the missal
• We would like to have two Eucharistic celebrations, morning and evening
• We would like to participate in ministries
• We would like to have music workshops
• Need a better way to teach people not to use their cellular phones (in church)
• Would like a Healing Mass in Spanish
• Would like to be more motivated to be open and welcoming to new people
• We would like to encourage each other to welcome or greet people before Mass begins
• We need training for every ministry which will help us to be humble and happy
• We need to invite people more frequently to participate in the choir or other ministries

Question 3: Supporting Our Mission

• Would like a collection box in the church
• Invite others with a personal invitation to participate
• Want pastor to be very strict and enforce rules
• Would like to see more of meetings like this one without any compromise
• Would like to constantly be invited
• To motivate people to give more than $1 – to put in the collection basket
• Invite people to pray before they give
• To explain to people all the expenses that the parish incurs; we would like to be better informed
• To share the budget so we better understand the expenses and be more conscious of the needs of the parish
• Perhaps we can suggest parishioners to give the equivalent of one hour salary
• Each one of us could invite a new person and not only try to be with the same people all the time
• We need to make people conscious about giving their offering/tithes
• We need to be a better example for others
• We need to be reminded of our offering before and after Mass
• Offer retreats for all but particularly for the Youth