According to Canon Law and the Statutes of the Archdiocese of Miami every parish must have a Finance and Parish Council who serve as advisors to the Pastor. On Monday night, Father Joseph and I met with the councils in a listening session to learn about the pride and disappointment of the parishioners of Saint Paul. The goal of the council meeting is to listen to the concerns of the people and bring their stories to the table. Overall, the meeting was positive and informative, centering on the following.
- Every parishioner must take seriously the ministry of hospitality by welcoming and inviting all.
- The celebration of the Eucharist must be revered as the “Source and Summit of the Activity of the Church” (Constitution on the Liturgy).
- Ongoing information and formation is necessary for all who have offered their time and talent to serve as ministers of the altar (e.g. ushers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, musicians and choir members).
- Many of the uplifting spiritual experiences of our parish are unknown to the people at large (e.g. confessions, Wednesday night Novena, Friday devotions, Rosary after Mass, ministries to the poor and the missions).
- Many non-parishioners who use our Parish Hall are unaware of the jewel that is Saint Paul’s. Encourage our Catholic leaders in Scouting, A.A., Knights of Columbus, etc., to share information.
- Taking up the Church collections needs refining; too much time is wasted.
- Clarity and transparency are needed regarding the purpose of the collection and how it relates to our stewardship of time, talent and treasure.
- The need for a “quiet Mass” at 7:30 a.m., distinct from Masses with music and song.
- Need for clarification regarding who brings up the gifts (everyone invited/enlisted.)
- Need for more ushers and altar servers, including altar girls.
- The music ministry and how it had enhanced liturgy but had, at times, been divisive due to the manner of the presentation.
Father Joseph and I have taken these reflections and concerns seriously and will use them as the primary source for enhancing the quality of our celebrations as well as the participation of our parishioners.
Rev. Willie Dever