Fr. Greg welcomed the Commissions to their first working meeting of the year and provided an update on the December Parish Council meeting. One of the roles of Parish Council, working closely with the Pastor, is to provide a common direction and focus for the Parish as a whole. The Council has started discussions about how to extend the spirit of a welcoming Parish more intentionally across everything we do, and now, the Commissions will have an opportunity to expand on the theme in their Annual Assessment meetings with Fr. Greg by proposing specific ways we can build deeper relationships with current parishioners, those not yet registered, and those we seek to attract and engage in our Parish.
Following their working sessions on Leadership Night, the Commissions gave these summary reports:
Formation Commission was joined by Barbara Nelson of St. Agnes’ Ignatian Spiritual Life Center in their meeting. It is Fr. Greg’s intention to enhance opportunities for our parishioners to learn and live the Spiritual Exercises and to make retreats and spiritual direction around the Exercises available. St. Agnes does a great job of this and Barbara shared some of their best practices with us. We will be following up with her and convening a planning group for making more opportunities in the realm of Ignatian Spirituality available for our parishioners later in 2018.
Outreach Commission begins the new year with gratitude for all of the wonderful work by volunteers across our Parish social ministries and for all the Advent Season efforts. Thanks to our incredible faith community, we celebrated the joy of Christmas by caring for those in need and supporting one another. We are very proud of the revitalization of our Neighbor to Neighbor program, an initiative to bring together parishioners in need of assistance with volunteers to help them with such things as rides to the doctor's office and help with grocery shopping. Thanks to strong leadership of this ministry, the program, formerly known as Helping Hands, has gained more than 100 new volunteers. As a goal for 2018, Outreach identified making an intentional effort to do similar "health checks" on all our social ministries and care efforts for community and Parish, to ensure they have sufficient resources to do the most good.
Community Commission celebrated the success of their new Senior Ministry, which had a very well-attended and fun Christmas Party, and is working on an exciting Pasta & Bingo event for families to be held on Saturday night, February 3. They also discussed how to assess the potential need and interest among parishioners for a new bereavement ministry for the Parish.
Admin Commission is working on an approach for a simple registration effort to be conducted over the next months with the intent to welcome and connect with new and occasional attenders who come to our church for Mass, but have not registered as a parishioner. The broader initiative is a Parish-wide census that will capture updated and new information about parishioner families, demographics, community interests, and what excites parishioners about ministry and service.
Worship Commission celebrated the success of their first parish Simbang Gabi Mass and reception, which was attended by ~150 people; will continue to hold this event annually and to reach out to the SF Filipino community. Commission discussed how to encourage a culture of welcome and strong worshipping assembly at all Masses. Suggestions are to hold hospitality after the 5 pm Sunday Mass every other week to determine interest and to develop a way to direct parishioners to Fromm Hall for hospitality after the 9:30 am and 11 am Masses. Commission debriefed their successes and learnings from the Christmas season, which was attended by 1500-2000 people. The environment, music, lectors, and ushers were all fantastic. Need more greeters, especially at the Midnight Mass, in the future. Commission also discussed how to further engage ushers and greeters in the ministry of welcoming throughout the year.