Parish Life Survey Summary Highlights

Blessed Trinity & St. Patrick;

September 16, 2019

In the Spring of 2019, the parishioners at Blessed Trinity & St. Patrick parishes were offered the opportunity to complete a Parish Life Survey. In total, 224 surveys were returned with 208 from current parishioners and 16 from past parishioners. This Summary Highlights is offered to the whole community and is meant to be a bridge for Fr. Galens and Fr. White in starting new relationships with the community.

General Aspects of the Parish

  1. Not having a pastor since 2014 has led to feelings of being neglected by the diocese.
  2. There is a great deal of anger towards the diocese in how Fr. Valenti’s removal was handled.
  3. As a rural, multi-site parish, there are many challenges in the creation of the sense of community.
  4. The parish has a diverse population in terms of “traditional” and “progressive” ecclesial preferences. This diversity can be a source of vitality and can also be a source of tension.

Communication

  1. There is not an understanding of what specifically is needed and what types of outreach are available.
  2. There is a hope for more two-way communication with the Pastor and the pastoral council.
  3. More communication with the Pastor & Parochial Vicar would help build trust as decisions are made.
  4. Following up is needed with people when they offer their help to volunteer.

Evangelization

It is important to reach out to those who have left. Past parishioners referenced dissatisfaction with a priest as part or all of their reason for leaving, as well as changes in staff, the Mass schedule, and seeking a place that was more spiritually fulfilling. There is much interest in ongoing adult faith formation.

Gifts of the Community and Outreach

There is a need for people to be invited to participate in outreach, to know the needs of the community, to have their own gifts identified, and to feel recognized and valued in their outreach.

Experience at Mass

Roughly equal numbers appreciate more traditional aspects of celebrating the Mass, compared with those who prefer more progressive aspects. Need for homilies that are connected to the Scripture and relate to everyday life. All agree that well-planned, sing-able, and uplifting music is vital to the celebration. Hospitality and the use of greeters is appreciated, with a warm, friendly environment. Coffee hours are consistent, positive social time. However, it is easy for friendliness to turn to perceived cliquishness.

Plan for the Future

There is a sense of decline, with sadness that it is occurring. Without a clear idea where things are going there is not much hope that needs will be addressed. A long-range plan is needed.

Note: This is an abridged version of the full Parish Life Survey Summary, created by Shannon Kilbridge, Associate Director, Dept. of Pastoral Services, Diocese of Rochester. In her role as an independent and neutral professional, Shannon created the Summary, which was approved by the Parish Life Committee.

Copies of the full Parish Life Survey Summary, as well as Summary graphs for each numeric survey question for your specific Church, are available in the back of each Church. Additional copies can be obtained by calling the Parish office @ 607-687-1068. Thank you.

The purpose of the Parish Life initiative is to Increase the engagement of our parishioners and the vitality of our parishes.  It began with a Parish Life Survey conducted in March, 2019 under the direction of Fr Mitch Zygadlo.  A Parish Life Committee was then formed, comprised of three representatives from each of our four Churches.
 
On March 28, 2019 the Parish Life Committee held their kickoff meeting. Representatives from all four Churches discussed these foundational topics: our Committee roles, using consensus as our decision-making process, member introductions, member commitments for working together, why we are here – our “compelling reason for change,” our “Hopes” – expectations about what can be accomplished, our “Fears” – doubts about making an investment to work together, as well as next steps. (Minutes of this meeting can be located in the MEETING MINUTES section.)
 
On May 19, 2019, at the Parish Life Committee meeting, Fr Mitch explained that after we first met as a Committee on March 28, there was a change of plans.  Our original plan was to have Committee members transcribe the survey data.  After reviewing this approach, the Diocese of Rochester (DOR) appointed a neutral party within the Diocese to transcribe all the numeric data and written comments and remove any negative personal comments. The overriding purpose was to ensure safety for everyone.  After further consideration by the Diocese, the Diocese recommended that only the numeric portion of the survey should be transcribed.  That numeric portion is now complete.  The written comments have not been transcribed.  The intent was that all survey sheets would be given to the new Pastor for him to read and then decide what to do.  The near-term plan was to create a report with only the numeric data, and the written comments would be addressed after the new Pastor arrived.  Dick Orth (Chair) and Kelley Peron (Vice chair)  believed that creating a report with only numeric data would be incomplete and potentially misleading.  When a report is produced, it needs to contain both the summary of the numeric results and the written comments.  They requested that the comments be processed by an independent person.  The DOR honored that request.  That is where Shannon Kilbridge comes in.  Shannon is the Associate Director, Dept. of Pastoral Services, Diocese of Rochester.  She will be responsible for analyzing and summarizing the written comments.  Her final report will contain both numeric and written results.  Shannon has much experience with other large-scale surveys, which has given her a good background for such work. (Minutes of this meeting can be located in the MEETING MINUTES section.)

Parish Life Committee representative:

  • St. James: Laura Hoppe, Jim Simons and Jim Walsh
  • St. John: Mike Gillio, Mary Anne Hornick and Trudy Mertson
  • St. Margaret Mary: Dan Cacciaglia, Sharon Hickey and MaryAlice Natishak
  • St Patrick: Madeline Tedesco, Peter Kapuscinski and Brian Szymaniak

You can also contact Dick Orth from St John, the committee chair or Kelley Peron from St Patrick, the committee vice-chair. Thank you again for submitting your thoughts and recommendations to make our parish more vibrant and engaged.