Parish Plan Update
SMM Parish Plan Priority Area: Engagement - Year One
Goal One: A call to witness. Increase multi-generational participation and ministry integration in parish sponsored community outreach programs by organizing 3-4 service projects focused on poverty within the local community.
Actions to date: A Lazarus Ministry has formed out of an identified need to serve the working poor in our community, specifically, families and individuals living in extend-a-stay hotels along Lee Road. Since January 2020, the ministry has led five parish-wide outreach projects:
- A Spring Back to School Drive was held in January where parishioners generously donated school supplies and monetary contributions. A 5-minute difference was held after Masses was where more than 300 parishioners of all ages packed supply bags. More than 120 elementary, middle and high school students living hotels were supported with refreshed supplies.
- In March, a household cleaning and hygiene supply drive was held to support growing pandemic shortages and needs. More than 110 large laundry baskets full of parishioner donated supplies were distributed to individuals and families at the hotels. This drive was a collaborative effort of multiple ministries and parishioners, and filled a significant gap for those in need in the midst of supply shortages in our community.
- April thru August, a parish supported a hot meal delivery program in collaboration with the SMM school provided 25 families (serving 75 a day), four days a week the Lee Road InTown Suites community.
- In August, SMM augmented a community school supply drive with donations of masks, socks and undergarments for students living in the hotels. The SMM Community donated enough for a week’s supplies for each of 100 children. Additionally, there masks left over to donate 100 masks to Lake Weston Elementary School.
- Upcoming assistance needed with food delivery. Now more than ever during the on-going pandemic, those in need in our community are facing food insecurities. The Lazarus Ministry has three opportunities to distribute significant amounts of food to the Lee Road community on October 24, November 7, and November 24. The Ministry is partnering with Southeastern Produce Council, Catholic Charities, and our St. Margaret Mary Thanksgiving Store for food boxes. Volunteers are needed for each date, please click here if you are able to help, or email Tom Gawronski at [email protected] to learn more.
Goal two: Facilitate ministry collaboration for parish-wide engagement opportunities.
Actions to date: The Engagement committee in relationship with parish staff and parish ministries have begun working on encouraging cross-ministry collaboration on programs, workshops, and service opportunities, to deepen parish-wide connections and engagement. Examples of early collaborations have included The Haiti Ministry, Bridging the Color Divide, and Peace and Justice ministries planned and led a parish prayer vigil for interracial reconciliation on the Feast of St. Peter Claver via ZOOM, as well as Lazarus ministry parish-wide drives and volunteer opportunities in partnership with Men’s Bible, Young Adult, Mom’s Group, and the SMM school. When planning ministry events, consider extending invitations other groups and individuals to co-program or attend. It’s a wonderful way to meet other parishioners and enrich your programs.
SMM Parish Plan Priority Area: Spiritual Growth - Year One
Goal one: Increase participation in distinct faith formation offerings for all ages.
Goal two: Promote devotion to the Sacred Heart, as modeled by St. Margaret Mary, including increasing Eucharistic Adoration.
- Hosted a 24 hour “Adoration Challenge” to celebrate the feast of St. Margaret Mary, 2019. It was very well attended. (The “Adoration Challenge” we had planned for March 25, 2020 was cancelled because of the pandemic.)
- During May and June, leading up to the feast of the Sacred Heart on June 19, we did the following:
- Prayed a 9-day novena that was recited after the daily Mass leading up to June 19
- Asked 12 different parishioners to write a short reflection on a specific Promise of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary which was then posted online daily leading up to June 19
- Posted the Family Consecration to the Sacred Heart, complete with prayers, activities and history. Families were encouraged to pray this with their family.
- After cancelling First Friday Adoration in March 2020 because of the pandemic, we began this devotion again in July for a limited time period.
- We offered a 4 week ZOOM session in July to study the Bishop’s letter on racism “Open Wide Our Hearts”. As a result, a group who participated have become a subcommittee of the Peace and Justice Ministry whose focus is to promote an awareness of racial justice.
SMM Parish Plan Priority Area: Youth and Young Adults - Year One
Goal one: Develop a campaign strategy to actively recruit youth and young adults and involve them in parish-wide activities.
Goal two: Provide 2-3 of offerings for youth and young adults to deepen their personal relationship with Jesus through experiences helping them understand the sacraments, prayer, and community.
The youth and young adults subcommittee was formed with the goal of bridging the ministries and forming a stronger bond to the youth of the church. Over the past year, we’ve achieved that goal by working with both youth and young adults of the church to grow in faith and community. With our young adults, we organized and hosted a spring retreat. Young adults gathered in fellowship to learn from speakers and ministers and speak about topics such as having an awakening from God. For our youth, we’ve seen an amazing transition into virtual community through youth group, and the new release of a podcast featuring teens stories of hope and faith in Christ. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and excited to see what we can make happen this year.
A Message from Fr. Walsh:
In the Acts of the Apostles we read the following statement “The community of believers were of one mind and one heart.” Acts 4: 32. That brief statement describes the ideal parish. Perhaps it was a possibility in the very early days after the Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit, but the contemporary parish in the US or elsewhere is a very different reality. Perhaps there are as many ideas and approaches as there are people in a parish.
A parish staff has the responsibility of attempting to put some focus into its members, to get them moving in the same direction, to have an overall goal in mind. Toward that end, a number of our parishioners have been working along side the Staff on an overall plan for St. Margaret Mary Parish. It is my hope this plan will help our parishioners deepen their own spirituality and become more united as God’s holy family.Cover