Pastoral Council Minutes – March 6, 2024

Blessed Sacrament Parish
Pastoral Council Minutes
March 6, 2024

Attendees: Corrine Cathcart, Annette Clark, Christy Granda, Fr. Rob Howe, Jim Mahoney, Jeff Paulus, Patrick Regier, Cathy Richard, and Barb Warczinsky


  • Meeting began at 7 pm
  • Annette Clark moved and Jeff Paulus seconded the approval of the minutes of the December 13, 2023 Pastoral Council meeting as presented. The motion carried.

Updates (Fr. Rob)

  • The Christ Mission Appeal amount for Blessed Sacrament has been adjusted. The method of determining the rate of assessment for this program in future years is being studied by the diocese.
  • At this point the maintenance staffing is stable. A new person, Keith Brandt has been hired.
  • The staff is getting closer to hiring a new person to serve as the leader of the High School Youth Ministry program.
  • Eight priests will be here for Blessed Sacrament’s Communal Penance service.
  • There are 17 new or returning Eucharistic Ministers to serve at Masses. We will return to the pre-Covid number of cup ministers during the Easter weekend Masses.
  • Blessed Sacrament choir will be singing at the Diocese Chrism Mass.
  • Pastoral Council members are encouraged to attend the Christian Service Funding Showcase on March 17th.

Adult Faith Formation – Christy Granda

Recent events included

  • Contemplating the Eucharist Through Art – an offering to join with the Eucharistic Revival. Twenty persons attended this event.
  • Box of Love – Families preparing goodies to send to college students
  • Milestone Anniversary – Fifteen couples signed up to celebrate their milestone anniversary with 40 to 72 years of marriage being celebrated.
  • Lenten Reflections – focusing on Gospel Readings and applying them to home, life, parish and the world

Theology by the Glass has been changed to Jesus and Java. Meeting times will be twice a month. Mornings at Cultivate Coffee in the Mall and evenings at Stranded Yarn and Coffee on the Circle.

Ongoing events include

  • Small faith groups
  • Little Rock Scripture study
  • CARE
  • Christ Renews
  • Laidback Book Club
  • Special Event Task Force (A group of people who help with the “behind the scenes” needs of parish events such as the Parish Picnic and Holy Thursday meal.

Upcoming events:

  • Parishioners have the opportunity to sign up to create a Peace Post. The finished post will represent reflections on Scripture. Instruction will be provided and participants will have stencils and paint available for their use.
  • The parish art show was well attended and many parishioners showcased a variety of artistic talent.

Faith Formation

See attached document for a complete overview from Corrine Cathcart regarding the Elementary, Sacramental Prep, Middle School, and High School Ministries as well as Family Fun events.

Finance Update (Patrick)

The parish Net Assets increased by $167K through February 2024.

Our weekend collections have rebounded since December and we closed the gap vs our plan. Actually, through February our Weekend Collections is better than Budget by $9. In March we continue to track higher than budget. Our Total YTD Expenses were better than Budget across most categories. In addition, our tuition assistance payments to St. Brigid were lower by 4K due to fewer families enrolling children in their school. (12 students enrolled vs 16 students budgeted).

Grant payments totaling $125K were paid to nonprofit programs/organizations supported by Christian Service funding.

Round Table Updates

There were 38 participants in the Men’s Christ Renews program presented earlier this month. There were several younger men who attended.

The Outreach Team paired with the Emmaus House for a project and the Riverside project is coming up.

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

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 


  • 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 

Pastoral Council Meeting Minutes – September 6, 2023

Attendees: Corinne Cathcart, Annette Clark, Dick Dolinski, Fr. Rob Howe, Jim Mahoney, Jim Marinik, Jeff Paulus, Patrick Regier, Cathy Richard, Barb Warczinsky


  • Meeting began at 6:58pm
  • Barb Warczinsky moved and Jim Mahoney seconded the approval of the minutes of the June 7, 2023 Joint Pastoral and Finance Councils meeting as corrected. The motion carried.

Updates (Fr. Rob)

  • Justin Rose’s departure was an unexpected surprise but it is a very good move for him and his family. With his leaving, Corinne has agreed to take on the role of faith formation team leader. A search is underway for Justin’s replacement.
  • The maintenance situation is still in a state of flux. We are sharing a part-time person with Assumption with help on the weekends.
  • The parish picnic and golf outing went very well and we’ve received positive feedback regarding both events. A total of 23 teams participated in the golf outing. Plans are to move the date to the week of August 25 next year.
  • The Midland City Council approved the playground transfer agreement. The Diocese also has agreed with the move. The appropriate legal documents are being drawn up to facilitate the transfer. A letter in opposition to the transfer from a concerned parishioner was read to the Council as requested. A discussion ensued to explore additional sources of revenue from local foundations and civic organizations to assist with underwriting the cost of updating the playground.

Faith Formation Update (Corinne Cathcart)

Corinne described the Faith Formation program for this fiscal year. An outline of her presentation is attached which includes the new Confirmation schedule and the format for elementary Faith Formation programs. This year’s program theme is ”Kingdom Builders” — what can we do to build God’s Kingdom on earth? This topic is derived from several Catholic social teachings including the need to build a holy and just society. Jesus called us to care for “the least of these.”

There is a change in the Confirmation program. It will be a two-year program beginning at age 12 or later. We and Assumption are piloting the “Purpose” by Life Teens curriculum that’s been approved by the Diocese for use in all parishes. Elementary Faith

Formation has been designed to include kids and their parents to experience the program together. Parents are the first and most influential catechists for their children. The program will empower them to raise faithful, faith-filled, life-long Catholics. There will also be a good deal of family fun components including the Trunk or Treat evening, Euchre, a chili cook-off, game nights, and the like. This year’s outreach will be a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee.

Corinne closed her presentation with a list of important Faith Formation program dates as indicated in the attachment.

Finance Update (Patrick)

  • The parish fund balance increased by just under $28,000 year-to-date through August 31, 2023 to a total of $2.9 million.
  • Despite lower weekend collections, our revenues slightly exceeded expenses due to memorial donations, higher interest income, and lower expenses across most categories except utilities.
  • Our 2022-23 Christ Mission Appeal effort ended at 83% of our $250,000 target, about $42,000 short of our goal. Our 2023-24 goal has been increased 9.2% to $273,000. A contributing factor to this large increase is that the Diocese uses US census population and income data in their calculations rather than parish-specific information.

Roundtable Updates

  • Jim Mahoney—discuss greeters to welcome and orient newcomers to the parish
  • Jeff—we should make sure that we select the right candidate for Justin’s replacement even if it takes more time to find that person
  • Annette—the “One Week-One Street” program is in the works
  • Cathy—the women’s Christ Renews group is discerning their next steps—22 people are involved
  • Fr. Rob—we need help recruiting Eucharistic Ministers, lectors, choir members, etc. Please invite people who may have an interest.
  • The next meeting of the Pastoral Council is November 8, 2023

The meeting was adjourned at 8:03pm

Joint Pastoral and Finance Councils Meeting Minutes | June 7, 2023

Blessed Sacrament Parish Joint Pastoral and Finance Councils Meeting Minutes | June 7, 2023 

Attendees: Annette Clark, Dick Dolinski, Joe Dostal, Kathy Fothergill, Pam Gandy, Fr. Rob Howe, Jim Marinek, Lyn Pajk, Jeff Paulus, Patrick Regier, Cathy Richard, Dennis Thiel, Barb Warczinsky 

Excused: Judy Gross, Dan Kozakiewicz, Jim Mahoney, Andy Pasztor, Kevin Spencer 


  • Meeting began at 6:34pm 
  • Jeff Paulus moved and Annette Clark seconded the approval of the minutes of the April 19, 2023 Pastoral Council meeting. The motion carried. 

Opening Comments—Fr. Rob and Patrick  

  • An agreement in principle has been reached with the city of Midland to accept the Blessed Sacrament playground as city property. The city will be responsible for all maintenance, liability, and any other obligations as sole owner. The current equipment has deteriorated, cannot be repaired, and must be replaced to meet current standards and mitigate potential future injury-related liability claims. In turn, the parish will provide funds not to exceed $200,000 to purchase new playground equipment to meet existing standards including Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements. Funds will come from COVID-related federal funds that have been received from the government by the parish. This is a “win-win” situation; the city (and the neighborhood) gets the playground as part of Wallen Park and the parish no longer has maintenance, insurance, and liability risk-exposure costs. 

Faith Formation—Lyn 

  • Lyn updated the Council on the various Faith Formation programs  including the following: 
  • Cedar Point Trip—45 youth are registered to date for the trip. 
  • Outreach—Justin is leading the trip leaving on June 11 with about 17 youth who will be working on four projects including a soup kitchen and fire damage repairs. 
  •  Planetarium Trip—visit to the Delta Planetarium in Bay City is scheduled for middle school students on June 14. Faith and science will be part of the discussion.  
  • Baptisms—Baptisms are up—described as “blocks of babies!” 
  • Vacation Bible School (VBS)—VBS is coming soon. About 70 youth are already registered. The program is in partnership with St. Brigid and Our Lady of Grace.  
  • Adult Faith Formations—The program is proceeding well. 12 new small faith groups have been formed. A current project is making prayer beads. Another session of Theology By The Glass is scheduled for June 14.  
  • Corpus Christi Bike Ride—The annual “procession” will be the bike ride from the Tridge to the Cottage Creamery on June 8.  
  • Garden Stroll—Four parishioners’ houses will be open for a stroll through their gardens at the end of this month. 
  • Emily Janoch Presentation—Greg and Nancy Janoch’s daughter, Emily, is employed by CARE working on various projects assisting the poor. She has just returned from a project in Ethiopia and will be speaking about her experiences there at the Parish Center on June 27 at 1:00-2:30pm. 
  • “Kingdom Builders” will be the theme for next year’s programs 
  • Organization Changes—With Lyn’s retirement, Justin Rose will become the Director of Youth Programs and Christy Granda has been hired to be the Director for Adult Programs. She will begin on June 22. 

Finance Update—Patrick 

  • Patrick reported on Parish finances through the period ending May 31, 2023. The balance sheet increased by $652K to a total of $2.84 million largely due to a $333K payment from the federal COVID program, the $187K bequest from the Glenn Waters Estate, and higher weekend collections. 
  • The Christian Service Commission outreach balance was reduced reflecting the payment of $125K made to 50 different recipient non-profit organizations. 
  • Weekend collections through the end of May are up $75K over budget. Overall expenses are higher than the budget by $23K driven primarily by increased utility costs and a CMA deficit of between $30-45K.  
  • The 2023-24 budget was approved by the Finance Council at their last meeting in May. It calls for Revenues of $1.7 million and an “Operating” surplus (excluding Major Expenditures) of $136K. This is an increase of $11K from last year. Wages are projected to increase 6% and Benefits by 4% while other expenses are expected to remain flat. An overall budget Revenue less Expenses shortfall of $64K is planned after anticipated expenses of $136K for Major Expenditures.  

Roundtable Updates 

  • Annette—reported that “One Week, One Street” program is underway. 
  • Jim and Barb—expressed heartfelt appreciation to Lyn for all of her contributions to the parish with her many skills, competencies, and enthusiasm along with her unique joy-filled personality. They wished her well and Godspeed in her future endeavors. 
  • Barb—reported on the CRHP 17 celebration at Richard’s home and their desire to keep the effort moving forward. An 85-year-old woman is interested in participating next year. 
  • Lyn—had the last word (as usual?) 😀 She thanked the Council members for the gift of their time and for being the first line of parish support. She urged the Council to continue doing what St. Mother Teresa always advocated, viz., “do small things with great love!” 
  • The next meeting of the Pastoral Council will be held on September 6.  

The meeting was adjourned at 7:19 pm followed by refreshments in honor of Lyn. 

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