Pastoral Council Meeting Minutes | November 8, 2023 

Attendees: Corinne Cathcart, Annette Clark, Dick Dolinski, Kathy Fothergill, Judy Gross, Fr. Rob Howe, Pat Lautner, Jim Mahoney, Jim Marinik, Andy Pasztor, Jeff Paulus, Patrick Regier, Cathy Richard, Christine Sellnow, Barb Warczinsky 

Minutes 

  • Meeting began at 8:02pm 
  • Annette Clark moved and Jim Mahoney seconded the approval of the minutes of the September 6, 2023 Pastoral Council meeting as corrected. The motion carried. 

Updates (Fr. Rob) 

  • A meeting with the city regarding the playground transfer is scheduled for November 15. Up to approximately $40,000 in grants is pending to help offset the cost of replacing the playground in partnership with the City.  
  • The maintenance situation is in transition. An initial arrangement of a person working ~30 hours at Assumption and ~10 hours for Blessed Sacrament was terminated after 3 weeks when the incumbent preferred working solely at Assumption. We now have a person working part time who is expected to transition to full time in December. 
  • Our October parish Mass attendance count has increased from 807 in 2022 to 1,016 this year, a 26% improvement. However, this total still lags the 2019 pre-COVID amount of 1,182 by 14%. Attendance at the Sunday 11:00am Mass has increased sharply. Our family-involved faith formation program helped drive this increase. 
  • Bishop Ken Untener’s weekend homilies are being read by priests in the Diocese (beginning with Fr. Rob) each weekend and are available via podcast. The “Little Books” based on his writings will be available again for the parishioners beginning with the first Sunday of Advent on December 3, 2023.  
  • The video report on the “State of the Parish” is being recorded and edited. The final copy will be available for the parish soon. 

High School Faith Formation Update (Corinne Cathcart) 

Corinne provided an update of the High School program as outlined in the attachment (“Faith Formation”). Some highlights include the whole family program is being well received, we are still seeking candidate to lead the program, the outreach trip this year is to Knoxville, Tennessee. We exceeded our goal of 800 cereal boxes collected and provided to the food pantry.  

Middle School Faith Formation Update (Christine Sellnow) 

Christine provided an update of the Middle School program as outlined in the “Middle Schools YM” attachment. Christine explained the joint pilot of the new Confirmation program at Blessed Sacrament and Assumption beginning next year. She is working with Kathy Russell at Assumption on the project. This is a two-year program with 24 sessions plus a service project and a retreat. Five parishes in the Diocese are participating in the approach with the desired outcome to build a Catholic foundation and form life disciples for the church. Other highlights include the “Reach Out Program” that is providing a service project monthly with the first being to assist at Shelterhouse’s retail store, and an additional project to bake 25 pies for the Food Pantry.  

Parish Christian Service Ministry Report (Pat Lautner) 

Pat provided a very comprehensive report on the various components that make up Christian Services ministry, specifically “Emergency Assistance, Special Assistance, and Christian Service Funding.”  

“Emergency Assistance” typically begins with a request through 2-1-1. Basic information such as name, address, income, number of children, etc. is collected and the need is identified. Typical needs are for rent to avoid eviction, paying a utility bill, and the like. Blessed Sacrament is in collaboration with a network of agencies, comprised of approximately 20 churches and several service organizations, who provide emergency assistance. Recipients are limited to one support payment per fiscal year and a maximum payment of $150. Blessed Sacrament provided $27,400 of assistance during our 2022-2023 fiscal year. 

“Special Assistance” is for extraordinary help arising from more serious circumstances such as floods, storm damage, emergency shelter, etc. A network of 15 churches and 20 agencies come together to manage this endeavor. 

“Christian Service Commission Funding” has provided $3.27 million in funds to area non-profit agencies since its inception in 1981. Applications for funding are submitted by October 1 of each year requesting information about the agency’s mission, service, budget, and related items along with the proposed use of the requested grant. Representatives of any agency that has not applied in the past are interviewed by the Commission members, the applications are reviewed, and the funding decisions are made. Last year, $125,000 of a total of $183,000 requested was dispersed in grants to 56 agencies. The Christian Service Commission reviewed requests from 53 agencies this year and has recommended $125,000 of funding to the agencies. Award letters will be sent to the selected agencies in early December with payments in February. An open house for recipient agencies is held after the Sunday Masses on a designated day in March of each year to allow the agencies to inform about and exhibit” their work as well as to network. 

Finance Report and Update (Patrick Regier) 

Weekend collections are down $30,700 versus budget through the end of October. However, our total year-to-date expenses were better than budget by $43,000 largely owing to lower employee-related expenses including a less than 100% staffing level with the open High School Youth Ministry position. Net assets increased by $46,000. 

Roundtable Updates 

  • Corinne—encouraged all to view the pictures lining the hallway 
  • Barb—expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the staff for their exceptional work 
  • Jim Marinik—asked about the outcomes of the Synod meeting in Rome. Fr. Rob responded that this is a two-year process, only the first phase has been concluded, and more work will be done over the next year. 
  • Cathy Richard—indicated that she was proud to be a part of this group and its work 
  • Annette—updated the group on several initiatives including a planned Thanksgiving turkey drive, Coats for Kids campaign, greeting cards project at Washington Woods, Sharing Tree tags availability, and the Alternate Gifts fair in November 
  • The next meeting will be a Joint Pastoral & Finance Council on December 13, 2023 at 7:00pm. 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:16pm