Dear St. Mary Parishioners,
As part of the diocesan planning process, all parishioners were asked to take part in the DMI survey at the beginning of Lent this past spring. The survey was not so concerned with measuring preferences, but instead was intended to give a snapshot of active parishioners in the areas of Catholic beliefs, participation in parish activities, and overall satisfaction. The survey also collected demographic information.
As with any survey, assembling the data is only one part of the process. Once we were given the data, I put together a “renewal committee” of parishioners to help me interpret and communicate this information to all of you. These are the members of the committee: Patty Barajas, Andres Bell, Cy Cottrell, Janine King, Andy Mackey, Renee Olney, and Steve Thieken. They will also assist me in the ongoing Real Presence, Real Future (RPRF) planning process. If you have not already, I encourage you to sign up for email updates on the RPRF website (realpresencerealfuture.org). Feel free to contact Andres Bell (email@example.com) if you have particular questions about the survey results or RPRF process.
This insert, prepared by members of the renewal committee, is meant to communicate some of the key findings of the survey. It is only a snapshot (and one taken during a pandemic), but it still provides valuable data that will help our parish to meet current needs and to plan for the future. I plan to dig deeper into different areas of the survey in the future, but for now I would like to draw attention to one overarching trend:
We have received and accepted the essentials of the faith, but most of us do not feel comfortable sharing in the Church’s mission of evangelization. In other words, we believe in what the Church teaches, but we do not feel equipped to share that faith with others.
In the weeks and months ahead, I would like all of you to reflect on this information. How is it affirming? How does it challenge you? What opportunities does it present?
Our forebears lived in a culture that accepted and affirmed Christian beliefs, but that is no longer the case. We now live in times similar to the first Christians, who lived alongside a pagan culture that was hostile to their faith. As St. Peter counseled his fellow Christians, we must “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks us for the reason for our hope” (1 Peter 3:15).
May the example of Our Lady, who brought Christ into the world, embolden us to share our faith with others.
Yours in Christ,
-Fr. Brett Garland