FROM THE PASTOR . . .
As we mark another year honoring our parish patron, it offers questions about how we can better communicate with our parish family, and even more importantly, who is part of that family with which we wish to communicate. In the coming months, the diocese will be implementing a new database. Part of that process is to make sure we know who is part of our diocesan community, and to which parish they belong. Included in that is the ever-increasing desire to communicate not only by mail, but email and even texts – with so many people having cell phones. That is a process we certainly need to look at here on the parish level. Over the course of each parish’s history is the phrase “another parish census”. And so indeed, here at Saint Michael, it’s time for “another parish census”.
This census will be done in phases. It is unnecessary to print and mail a vast questionnaire to everyone for whom we have a mailing address. The first phase that will occur in the coming weeks is to simply mail a “survey card” to every household. Our parish office will be taking time over the coming weeks to prepare the Survey Card and accompanying letter to begin phase one of our parish census. Expect the mailing some time near the end of the month. As stated, our ultimate goal is to have better forms of communication (and more immediate) with everyone who belongs to the Saint Michael Parish family. main focus of the survey is to find out where everyone is – not only physically, but spiritually. By the fact that you receive the card, it will tell us that we have the correct physical address for you. If the envelope is returned to us, it may provide a new address or tell us it is undeliverable. That physical component will then invite a little more work to see where everyone is. Some people register for a wedding or baptism and then move, and we are unaware. Some adult children move from their parents’ house, and we don’t know that. Some people move out of the area for jobs or other reasons and we don’t know that either. One little bit of information, if you move to another community that precludes the ability to drive in every Sunday for Mass, it is imperative that you register in and participate in a parish near you. It is wonderful to consider Saint Michael your “home parish” (where you grew up), but it is so important to engage with a new community near your home.
The second aspect of the survey card is that of one’s “spiritual location”. The vast majority will undoubtedly check the box that indicates they are part of Saint Michael Parish and intend to remain so. However, there will be some who for the physical location stated above, or for other reasons, have chosen to participate in another Catholic parish, a Church of a different denomination, or for some reason, have chosen to no affiliate with any religion. There are no judgement calls on marking any of those boxes. Each person’s expression of their relationship with God is ultimately their choice. We simply need to know those choices as we seek to enhance our forms of communication with our parish family. Another vital aspect of this process is to better assist the diocese as we communicate with various parishes, deaneries, and the whole six-county community of faith.
Once we have the response from the “survey cards”, we will then move to phase two to better understand each currently registered family in the scope of our parish community. I ask that when the letter arrives, you take time to respond. The fact that you are reading about this in the bulletin would indicate that you most likely are an active part of our family. We are very blessed to have so many wonderful members of our parish community. Thank you for your efforts in helping us stay connected.
Happy Feast Day!