Pastoral Council August Update

From the SJTW Pastoral Council:

After taking some time off in June and July to enjoy the summer, the pastoral council regrouped in August. Our new staff members Ann Siriani and Lizz Parsons were introduced to the council and received a warm welcome.

Our Sister Parish

The May 2019 minutes were approved with minor adjustments. Much of our meeting was spent on two of our goals: Haiti sister parish and Amazing Parish Initiative. We will await a report from Deacon Bill after his recent visit there in July. We will work to then answer some important questions including: Does our parish have a desire to continue this relationship? So far it has received mostly financial support by a few individual donors. And, are there people who are committed to doing the administrative work required? Who will take charge of growing and sustaining this relationship? How do we communicate this responsibility to the parish?

Social Justice

Much of our movement forward needs to explore our parish philosophy on charitable giving. What do we value and is it in line with the Church? The budget for social justice has recently been approved however we will work to set appropriate guidance for the SJ committee. For example, we may conclude that we would like to focus our charitable efforts on 30% international; 20% US; 50% local (of which 1/2 is Dubuque; 1/4 is archdiocese; 1/4 is local not Catholic). This will be accomplished in dialogue with SJ Committee as those who know the big picture. As a pastoral council we are aware that we DO need to do things that challenge our comfort; including “taking action,” not just writing checks.

Pastoral Council’s Responsibility

We reviewed our responsibility, as a pastoral council, which is to provide the context and experience of God’s love so that parishioners can give themselves into a relationship of loving God with all their hearts, and their neighbor, as themselves. We do that primarily by:

  • identifying needs and opportunities that shape parishioners’ ability to experience the love and presence of Christ in their lives.
  • creating goals with the committees to address needs and make available opportunities in the spiritual, physical, and emotional realms of human life.
  • oversee goal achievement by committees and coordinate efforts between them to maximize the effectiveness of the parish in its mission.
  • reviewing goals for effectiveness, support committees in ways needed to carry out their work.

Amazing Parish Leadership Team

We continue to work on the creation of an Amazing Parish leadership team. The function of this team will be to empower committees to implement ideas that serve the mission. There are currently 4 applicants. Our hope is that a team can be operational in early Fall. An initial focus may include a theme for advent as well as providing young families with support. For example, how do we engage the parents and young families who attend St. Joseph the Worker daycare?

Every Drop Counts

Finally, our focus moved to the physical structure of the church and the Every Drop Counts Campaign. We are just over half of our $400,000 goal and the cost of the roof is covered. The Martin Hall tunnel project has been put on hold at this time. Several parishioners have voiced concern regarding our large endowment and whether it can or should be used for parish improvement projects such as this. The PC discussed setting a policy where Endowment funds could be matched by parish giving. This may help us better identify which projects have the approval of the larger parish. Our October meeting will include an overview of the current status of the Endowment by our finance chair, Kevin Schmitt. In the future, it will be important to also have a discussion with the parish about tithing as it’s been nearly 10 years and adult giving continues to decline.

Letter to a Suffering Church

A new book from Bishop Robert Barron called Letter to a Suffering Church, was introduced by Father Tom as a possible parish read later this year. It addresses the notion that 37% of self-identified Catholics say they might leave the church over the abuse scandals. This book addresses how we got here, why we should stay and what we can do. It would be offered to parishioners for free.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 10, in the parish office.

View the official report below: