2 CREATING PARISH VITALITY
Regionalize outreach efforts to create viable parishes filled with vitality.
Prioritize efforts that promote vocations.
Offer ongoing and inspiring clergy formation opportunities for all priests and deacons, especially international clergy.
Create strong pastoral and finance councils, develop strong lay leaders, and attract new volunteers to serve parishes.
Much of the discussion during the synodal listening sessions focused on the “math problem” in the Diocese of Greensburg – mainly that the number of native-born priests in the Diocese of Greensburg is expected to shrink from about 37 to 15 in the next 8 years.
There is great concern about vocations and the engagement of young people. Most participants believe youth and young adults will respond to mission-oriented parish work, as well as creative and new evangelization and faith formation. There was a call from many for family-oriented catechesis, youth-focused Masses, retreats and social activities to make the parish the center of spiritual life for families so that parents will prioritize involvement. The assistance of well-trained lay leaders was viewed as a necessity so that priests can focus on the sacramental needs of the parish. Regionalization of resources could be an effective tool in assisting smaller parishes to deliver the catechesis and ministries if they are willing to enter into collaborative agreements.
ACTIVE NATIVE-BORN PRIESTS
IN PARISH ASSIGNMENTS
The need for ongoing clergy formation opportunities was clear during the clergy listening sessions, which called for additional assimilation assistance specifically for international clergy. Specific needs were also revealed in a pastoral connectivity survey taken by more than 10,000 individuals throughout the Diocese of Greensburg:
- I can explain the mission of the Church to others.
43% said yes, definitely.
- I leave Mass feeling spiritually fed.
68% said yes, definitely.
- My parish is sensitive to the major needs of parishioners.
58% said yes, definitely.
- The music at Mass helps me enter into a prayerful attitude.
65% said yes, definitely.
- The homilies at Mass are relevant and meaningful.
67% said yes, definitely.
- The money spent by my parish reflects its commitment to the mission of the Church.
57% said yes, definitely.
- The religious education at my parish is forming well-rounded disciples.
45% said yes, definitely.
- My parish communicates with me about opportunities for worship and service.
81% said yes, definitely.
- I feel that my parish welcomes my ideas and participation.
52% said yes, definitely.
- I feel that I am an integral part of the parish community.
50% said yes, definitely.
- I participate in activities of my parish beyond Mass attendance.
43% said yes, definitely.
- The Church is a visible, integral part of my neighborhood and the larger community.
59% said yes, definitely.
- The Church reaches out to those who feel disenfranchised.
37% said yes, definitely.
The Synod Committee of the Diocese of Greensburg organized an event to engage active pastoral and finance councils throughout the Diocese of Greensburg. On Feb. 6, 2022, pastoral and finance council members from 10 parishes were invited to Mass and brunch with Bishop Kulick, and 92 attended.
Most councils believe they are successful because of the diversity of talents around the table. They value transparency, parishioner and pastor input, and the ability to listen to one another. Many of the councils thought it was important to clearly communicate the “state” of the parish yearly, by providing a written or electronic report to ensure parishioners are aware of the opportunities and challenges facing each parish. All stressed the need for new, younger members who can bring valuable insight to the parish mission and activities.