I remember in Canon Law Class in the seminary reading an excellent article entitled, “Shared Responsibility in Ecclesial Decision-Making” by Robert Kennedy.  Summarily put, the process of making a decision involves, in a cyclical way: the generation of ideas, research into factual data, the choice between alternatives, implementation, and evaluation.  Considered this way, some of the most influence a person can have is not necessarily found in having vested power to choose but very well could be in and often comes through their participation in the process as a whole.  Where would we be without viable alternatives and good ideas?  What if the provided data is misleading?  What if it was implemented poorly?  What was the feedback and did we learn from our mistakes?  Indeed, the ship can be steered at any level.  While this certainly has application to many facets of our lives, the same holds true in the Church as the Holy Spirit gives each of us great and unique gifts, prompting us to put them at the service of the Body of Christ.  All of us have a part to play.  Remember St. Paul’s great image of this in 1 Corinthians 12 we heard not too long ago?!?!  I am grateful for the many wonderful folks here at our parish who have and continue to build up the Body of Christ by taking their shared responsibility to heart.  This is discipleship in action.  Thank you for your insights, reflection, collaboration, hard work, and feedback!

     In any event, there is a great opportunity at hand for us to participate in the decision-making of the Church.  You may have recently noticed in our communications some passing references to a “Disciple Maker Index Survey.”  This survey, sponsored nationally by the Catholic Leadership Institute, is meant to give us, from your direct input, an objective snapshot into our values, beliefs, relationships, satisfaction, participation, and demographics here at St. Mary’s and within our membership.  Where does this survey fit in?  It is those research and evaluation pieces that will validate or inform our current parish priorities and plans for our parish leadership; it will identify for us common challenges and opportunities among our Families of Parishes in the backdrop of the Road to Renewal; and it may help obtain particular Diocesan resources – ultimately it is so that we, collectively, will make good decisions for our Church going forward.  We value and appreciate your participation!  Please, see the information elsewhere in the bulletin, on our website, or through our other communications for more information as to how to take the survey and help our parish and Diocese move into the future.  Thank you.

Keep Smiling,

Fr. Luke 😊