Joint Pastoral and Finance Councils Meeting Minutes – December 13, 2023

Blessed Sacrament Parish
Joint Pastoral and Finance Councils Meeting Minutes
December 13, 2023

Attendees: Cathy Ahearn, Corinne Cathcart, Annette Clark, Dick Dolinski, Kathy Fothergill, Judy Gross, Fr. Rob Howe, Andy Pasztor, Jeff Paulus, Patrick Regier, Cathy Richard, Kristyn Russel, Barb Warczinsky


  • Meeting began at 7:17pm
  • Barb Warczinsky moved and Jeff Paulus seconded the approval of the minutes of the November 8, 2023 Pastoral Council meeting as corrected. The motion carried.

Elementary School Faith Formation Update (Corinne Cathcart)

Corinne provided an update of the Elementary, Middle School, and High School programs as outlined in the attachment (“Faith Formation”). Some highlights of the Elementary program include that 50 families with 72 youth are participating in the new Family-Centered faith formation program. At the last class of the year, the group made birthday kits that were donated to the Food Pantry. “St. Nicholas” also paid a visit, passed out candy canes, and answered questions. Among the questions, he replied that his favorite color is blue, and when asked how old he is, he answered, “very!”

Seven children celebrated First Reconciliation on December 2 and are looking forward to First Eucharist in May.

Middle School Faith Formation Update (Corinne Cathcart)

Corinne provided an update of the Middle School program as outlined in the handout. The current enrollment is 39 youth. The group baked pies for Thanksgiving baskets and volunteered as Salvation Army bell ringers. The joint (with Assumption Parish) Confirmation program will begin in January

High School Faith Formation Update (Corinne Cathcart)

Kathy Russell and Corinne Cathcart have been running the Sunday night small faith groups with an enrollment of 18 youth. The Outreach trip to Knoxville currently has 4 registered for the trip but 10 have been attending the program. Dave Pasek is overseeing the program and Melissa Kato will be going on the trip. A total of 12 youth are enrolled in the Youth 2 Youth Retreat that is run by Kathy and Kristyn Russell.

The Advent event (entire parish) had a good turnout. Twenty new wreaths were made and cookies, various crafts, and decorating Christmas cards for parish seniors rounded out the event.

Communications Update Report (Kristyn Russell)

Kristyn provided a comprehensive summary report of the metrics of the several communications approaches used by the parish. We primarily use 6 different communication channels: Facebook, Flickr, Flocknote, Instagram, the Parish Website, and YouTube. The statistical usage metrics provided in the slides for each of these are quite favorable relative to peer organizations.

Kristyn also provided a summary of the 2023 Synod update. Three listening sessions were held in March 2023 in response to the working document “Enlarge the space of your tent” Working Document for the Continental Stage. Participants were asked to reflect on the following questions: Where do you think the Church has been welcoming and hospitable? Where do you think the Church can improve being welcoming and hospitable? We had 44 participants ranging in age from 10-90.

Kristyn also reported that 9 youth who participate in the youth ministry program attended the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis November 16-19. They had an amazing time. One student shared his experience in a witness talk at XLT and adoration on December 4.

Parish Finance Report (Patrick Regier)

Net assets increased by $63,000 through the end of November despite lower weekend collections that are down $47,000 versus budget. However, expenses are lower than budget by $67,000 largely as a result of having two open job positions (High School Youth Ministry and Maintenance).

The combined Mass attendance (October count) for all three Masses was 1,017, up 26% versus October 2022 but still down 14% versus pre-COVID figures of 2019. Blessed Sacrament continues to have the highest Mass attendance in the Diocese. The total Diocese count was up 5.1% versus last year. Combined Mass attendance for the entire Midland Area Catholic Community (MACC) was 2,427, up 10% versus last year’s count of 2,208. Each sister parish experienced an increase except Assumption.

A walkthrough of the church and parish facilities by the assets team identified no major maintenance issues. Some minor improvements completed are installing shut off valves to the former school building at a cost of $8,000

The parish continues to work with the city regarding playground replacement. A property survey has been completed. We’re working with the city and the Diocese to prepare the appropriate legal documents and applications. They are planned to be completed in late January/early February of next year. We currently have received or have pledged a total of $22,000 in grants to help offset the costs associated with the playground project with a potential additional amount of ~$20,000 still pending.

Roundtable Updates

Patrick—We continue to look for a maintenance person as well as for someone to lead the youth ministry program. Please let us know if you have any recommendations.

Barb—expressed her appreciation and thanks to all involved in the education program.

Annette—summarized several Outreach activities

  • They are still collecting coats for kids
  • The team raked the large autumn leaf fall from 3 yards of people who needed assistance
  • 87 turkey dinners were prepared and delivered to Cleveland Manor and the West Midland Family Center

Cathy—The OCIA (Order of Christian Initiation of Adults—formerly RCIA) program is going well with a fairly large group of 7 (4 adults; 3 youth). There has been a request to keep the Kentwood access entrance open during funerals. It normally is but was inadvertently closed during a recent funeral.

Kristyn—announced that “Exam Snack Packs” of treats will again be made available to the youth of the parish about to embark on their final exams near the end of the year.

Corinne—reminded everyone to stop to view and appreciate the artwork displayed around the parish center that has been prepared by students in our programs.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:19.

The next meeting of the Pastoral Council is scheduled for March 6, 2024

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