In 2013 prior to the establishment of the vision, priorities and goals for the Diocese, Bishop LaValley conducted listening sessions throughout the Diocese. Following a similar process, in May – June of 2015 the Living Stones Planning Committee organized listening sessions in the eight deaneries of the Diocese in order to get feedback from both the pastors and from people in the pews. The three questions presented for discussion were:
1) What do you recognize and appreciate most as what your parish does best?
2)What do you recommend that would enable us to awaken in Catholics a new fervor for, hope in and understanding of their faith, in order that the parish might more effectively minister to the members of its community?
3) What kind of leadership can we (I) provide to maintain the strengths and address the needs of our (my) parish faith community?
The results of the responses were compiled and are reflected below:
- Total Listening Sessions: 7
- Total Responses Received: 742
- Sessions Held May 5, 2015 – June 8, 2015.
Question #1: What do you recognize and appreciate most as what your parish does best?
Top 6 Response Categories.
|1. Community (Community & Welcoming)||162|
|2. Liturgy (Liturgy, Music Homilies)||139|
|3. Outreach (Outreach and Social Justice)||103|
|4. Involvement of the Laity (Laity, Parishioner Involvement)||102|
|5. Faith Formation||61|
Question #2: What do you recommend that would enable us to awaken in Catholics a new fervor for, hope in and understanding of their faith, in order that the parish might more effectively minister to the members of its community?
Top 8 Response Categories
|1. Faith Formation||140|
|2. Involvement of the Laity (Laity, Involvement & Ministries)||85|
|4. Outreach (to our own & others: Outreach & Listening)||50|
|5. Build Community (Community & Welcoming)||45|
|6. Liturgies (Mass, Music, Homilies, Spirituality & Prayer||45|
Question #3: What kind of leadership can we (I) provide to maintain the strengths and address the needs of our (my) parish faith community?
Top 6 Response Categories
|1. Involve Laity (laity, ministries, involvement & recognition)||176|
|2. Leadership (leadership, priests, deacons)||63|
|3. Faith Formation (Faith Formation, Prayers, spirituality)||52|
|4. Outreach/Evangelization (outreach, evangelize & listen)||52|
|5. Reach out to Youth||48|
|6. Support Families||18|
Lessons gleaned for the responses from the Listening Sessions:
A. Involvement of the Laity seems to be seen as a great need need in our parishes (#2 and #3), and there is a base for involvement of the laity in our parishes upon which we can build (#1).
B. Parishes seem to be good at liturgy, building community, and outreach. These are seen as important needs in our communities, yet there seems to be a need to grow in our outreach.
C. Our parishes have a good base in liturgy and building community. These are positives that must be maintained.
D. Faith Formation is appreciated in our parishes but a need for greater Faith Formation is needed.
E. Youth Ministry is appreciated, but improving Youth Ministry is a perceived need in our parishes.
F. Family Involvement is not often mentioned as a strength, but is seen as a need. Ways to involve families and give them support is not an easy fix.
G. Leadership is seen as a great need as we move forward. This leadership is described as involving concern for parishioners, team approaches, creativity and shared responsibilities.