Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Words from Fr Ed (From May 9th, 2010 Bulletin)

Happy Mother’s Day!
Thank you to all our mothers who gave us natural life and nurtured us in so many ways. May God reward them
for their sacrifices. We know from Jesus’ own mother how generous a mother can be. May Mary watch over every mother
and give her the joy of seeing their children grow in grace.

Seminarian Coming Soon!
Brian Thompson, 1st year Theologian, currently studying at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., will be with
us from May 21st until August 15th this summer. He will be the first seminarian to stay at St. Stephen the Martyr in recent
memory (25 yrs?), so I hope we can provide a great experience for him. He will be staying here at the interim rectory
and assisting in several areas of parish life. Brian has a special interest in education and liturgy. As the 5th child in a family of 10, he also
knows a bit about family life! We will be welcoming Brian at the liturgies on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd. Please help make this a wonderful
stay for our first seminarian in a long time.

ME 25
As you may have read elsewhere, we will be doing the Gallup ME25 in-pew survey next weekend (15th/16th). This is an essential
part of the Engaged Church program which we have subscribed to. The ME25 measures the ‘engagement’ level of a parish. Through 25
carefully crafted questions, we will be given an idea of just how ‘engaged’ we are as a parish. The results divide the respondents into three
categories, ‘engaged’, ‘actively disengaged’, and ‘not engaged’. Catholic parishes tend to average 15% engagement levels. This is typical in
any organization, but it leaves 85% of the assembly not using their gifts for the Body of Christ.

Remember that “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Cor 12:7) One thing that Gallup Poll
has found that ‘engagement’ in an organization goes up when a person is able to use their strengths. That’s why the Engaged Church program
comes with the StrengthFinders tool that we have started to make available to the parish. You should see sign-ups for this test and
small group processing this weekend. The StrengthFinders identifies your top five ‘signature themes’. Knowing these can help you invest in
your strengths and become more engaged.

There at least four outcomes when a person becomes more engaged, they:
- are nearly three times as likely to be extremely satisfied with their lives
- are more than ten times as likely to invite friends to their faith community events
- volunteer more than two hours per week in their communities
- give up to three times more money to their faith communities
. . . as members who are either Not Engaged or Actively Disengaged.

These are significant outcomes. A Catholic parish back east has incorporated the Engaged Church program and has risen to about 45% engagement.
Each year they see an increase in that percentage. Gallup claims that any organization that sees a 38% engagement level creates
a climate of participation. A guest walking through the door will feel that 100% of the people are engaged. The culture has shifted to one
of engagement.

I’d like to see St. Stephens progress in this direction. We don’t know our engagement level. It could be 10% or 20%. We will find out
with the ME25 and make prudent decisions based on the results. The results will also be helpful as the Pastoral Plan nears its completion. I
hope you enjoy the survey. There are interesting questions that can, of themselves, make one consider becoming more engaged. It has me.

Eye Report
Thanks for all your prayers. My eye has improved since getting an Avastin shot two weeks ago. The glaucoma was causing severe
bloodshot eye and sensitivity to light. Please pray it continues to heal.

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