Parish Discernment Process — Wave 2 findings

Your Parish: The Body
of Christ Alive in Our Midst

Parish Discernment Process

The publication of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz’s pastoral letter, “Your Parish: The Body of Christ Alive in Our Midst” on the Feast of the Holy Family, December 30, 2016, launched a parish discernment process within the parishes of the Archdiocese of Louisville. Six parishes participated in a pilot phase in the spring of 2017, 13 in the first wave during the fall of 2017, and 26 in the second wave in the winter of 2018. The third and final wave will take place during the spring of 2018.

Included below is a summary of the responses that participating parishes in the second wave developed as they discerned how they are being called to grow and how they will facilitate this growth in the three priority areas established by Archbishop Kurtz: Family Life, Education and Lifelong Formation, and Service and Outreach.

Some parishes in the second wave continue to work on their priorities or are adapting the process to align with current parish planning and so will be reported with the third wave of parishes. In addition, Saint Catherine, New Haven and Immaculate Conception, Culvertown from the first wave are included with this report.

Saint Aloysius

Pewee Valley

Family Life
• Emphasize family participation in the Eucharist as center of parish life and develop a coordinated process to invite and celebrate the Eucharist with parish/school teams, groups, committees, and their families.
• Engage purposefully youth and young adults, ages 13-25, in parish life by personally inviting those confirmed under five years to a class reunion weekend to engage them socially and in parish ministries and by creating a program to match the gifts of young adults to the needs of the parish.
• Host multicultural events with the Korean community and hold a multicultural Mass and social gathering during the season of Pentecost.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Build a passion for the Mass by structuring, during the Bread of Life discourses in the Sunday lectionary, a rotation of targeted small group learning sessions focused on tying the Eucharist to everyday life.
• Build a passion for the Catholic faith among youth and young adults and develop a deeper and more diverse leadership structure to support the parish youth minister in engaging a broader young adult audience.

Service and Outreach
• Challenge parishioners to go out of their comfort zones to serve as the Body of Christ and foster the gift of time for service.
• Establish a structure for a Service Outreach Committee.

Saint Ambrose


Family Life
• Strengthen family life by forming a Family Life Committee that will host family-oriented activities.
• Encourage greater unity within the parish family by completing a pictorial parish directory with updated information.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Establish parish religious educational activities for adults, youth, and children to increase and enrich faith formation. Examples include bus trips to the Kentucky Holy Land, Bible study, or other faith related studies.
• Providing local training for areas of parish ministry, including Eucharistic Ministers, Altar Servers, Lectors, Homebound/Hospital ministry, and other areas of parish ministry where needed.

Service and Outreach
• Solidify continuing efforts to make our place of worship a welcoming environment for all through the establishment of a Maintenance Committee and a Liturgical Committee.
• Broaden efforts in homebound/hospital ministry and strengthen efforts to reach out to those who no longer attend church.
• Develop and foster a closer relationship with Saint Ignatius, Saint Ambrose’s clustered partner, by involving Saint Ignatius in planned activities and study groups,
• Increase involvement in ecumenical activities in the community.

Saint Athanasius


Family Life
• Spread Christ’s love through teaching and evangelization.
• Develop additional lay leadership and hold quarterly potluck celebrating a few ministries and providing information about the ministry and how new members can get involved.
• Develop a date night that includes childcare for married couples.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Embrace the rich diversity in the parish by clearly outlining the diverse groups in the parish and by holding listening sessions with various groups to seek a better understanding about how to engage them effectively in the community
• Evangelize to all generations and cultures and teach common virtues that all can rally around.
• Engage the leadership to drive increased participation of all generations and cultures within the parish
• Hold a “Taste of St. A/Heritage Weekend” to familiarize all with our past and to celebrate the current makeup of the parish

Service and Outreach
• Focus on awareness and intentionality of “new needs” as they arise.
• Hold a welcome meeting for the new pastor that highlights the parish’s various “good works” organizations, ministries, and services and inviting new participants to engage.
• Improve our communication using multiple types of media with consistent messages that outline our mission focus of feeding, healing, and shepherding with clear information about how to request assistance from various ministries.
• Establish a new parishioner orientation that welcomes new members and outlines opportunities to engage in feeding, healing, and shepherding ministries.

Saint Brigid

Vine Grove

Family Life
• Deepen our Catholic faith and enrich spiritual practices by increasing participation in family life programs through the establishment of a family ministry team to coordinate family-centered social, educational, and service outreach experiences that appeal to all ages, based on parish demographics.
• Utilize family ministry team to increase involvement of families in parish liturgies.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Deepen Catholic faith and enrich spiritual practices by increasing participation in education and lifelong formation programs and by adding members to the current formation/education team who will create family-oriented programming for all ages.
• Encourage education about the basics of the faith through the Mass and by connecting the homily to an “action of the week” geared to all ages.
• Strive for improved parish communication by establishing points of contact for existing and new programs, establishing a parish resource booklet, a quarterly calendar leaflet, a welcome packet, and by the timely updating of parish website and social media platforms.

Service and Outreach
• Deepen Catholic faith and enrich spiritual practices by increasing participation in service and outreach programs through the establishment of a service outreach team that will enhance current efforts by increasing community-oriented experiences (e.g. Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, events for veterans) for the whole family.
• Strengthen parish unity and connection through a mentor/buddy system for families to assist other individuals or families such as widows, military families, elderly, those who are ill or lonely, new parents.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

New Haven

Immaculate Conception


Family Life
• Build community among parishioners and improve family engagement by creating a job description for a full-time Parish Activities Coordinator, with an anticipated hire date of June 2018.
• Establish, under the direction of the Parish Activities Coordinator, formal parish groups in order to socialize, share faith, and build community, including a women’s group, men’s group, youth group, seniors group, and couples group.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Enhance adult formation by charging the Parish Activities Coordinator to provide a point of contact and a resource person to organize, coordinate, and provide resources, in order for adult faith formation to occur. The coordinator should choose “facilitators” to lead the adult formation sessions and report to the coordinator on results.
• Offer additional adult studies (Marian Study group, Women’s Bible Study), either yearlong or of short duration for those who cannot commit to attending a long study session due to family commitments.
• Collaborate with the Vacation Bible School partner at First Baptist Church to negotiate an alternating schedule each year so the parishes can host Vacation Bible School, as requested by our children, or establish a parish-based Vacation Bible School if a new hosting arrangement is not possible.

Service and Outreach
• Enhance the already strong ministry offered through parish bereavement committees by providing bereavement luncheons after parish funerals.
• Provide Christmas or special holiday meal services to the homebound or elderly of our communities and begin a meal train for new mothers.
• Promote devotionals for the entire communities to attend, such as Corpus Christi, Rosary, and Stations of the Cross.
• Invite speakers to address the parishes on topics such as addictions, mental health, and end-of-life care/planning, with the parish becoming a center for information-gathering in the local community.

Saint Dominic


Family Life
• Create an atmosphere of “invitation” to all families, especially those who feel separated from the parish, so that they will feel welcomed and wanted and establish a “Visitation Ministry” to determine needs of individual parishioners and families, especially school families.
• Strengthen efforts to incorporate school families into the life of the parish.
• Unite the Hispanic and Non-Hispanic communities into one great family by using liturgical and communal celebrations, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day, parish steak supper, and so on to bring together Hispanic and non-Hispanic families.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Promote more effectively the existing formation programs in the parish by establishing a “Spotlight” weekend that will highlight a specific formation ministry program at Masses and that includes an article in the bulletin and on the web site about the spotlighted area of ministry.
• Expand the current adult formation program, including Bible study groups with Hispanic and non-Hispanic parishioners, establishing neighborhood and household Bible groups that reflect the diversity of the parish, and inviting current and potential new Bible study leaders to attend ongoing formation in Scripture study and small group facilitation.
• Create a process to discover what young adults need for their faith formation by establishing a core team of young adults to engage other young adults in the community to determine their needs in the area of formation and education.

Service and Outreach
• Promote more effectively existing service/outreach opportunities already in place, along with a more intentional effort to establish small service groups or communities to help with specific needs, such as the nursing home ministry. Establish a “Spotlight” weekend that highlights a specific service and outreach ministry program at Masses and includes an article in the bulletin and on the web site about the spotlighted area of ministry.
• Establish a “Backpack” ministry that will complement the already existing “food bank” ministry and that will encourage other parishioners to participate in this area of service and outreach.
• Create more service opportunities for young adults so that they experience a better sense of community and connection with the parish and in order to expand Saint Dominic’s presence in the greater community. This effort can be realized by inviting public schools with Spanish classes to attend Saint Dominic bilingual celebrations as a way to experience the local Hispanic community and culture and by establishing an “Adopt a Parish” program in Eastern Kentucky as a way to involve more young adults.
• Establish a process to connect with Hispanic adults who are not connected with the parish due to work schedules by providing more bilingual Masses on a regular basis, especially on Holy Days of Obligation and possibly the Thursday evening Mass to offer more options for Hispanic adults.

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton


Family Life
• Celebrate the church family by encouraging parishioners to share good news with the whole parish family and by organizing activities such as movie nights, dances, appreciation dinners, and pot luck dinners to bring parish families together.
• Explore ways to involve youth and young adults in parish life and invite youth and young adults to work with parish staff on social media strategies that will reach out to the youth and young adults in the parish family.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Encourage all parishioners to continue to grow in their faith by attending faith formation programs for children, youth, and adults.
• Offer Bible study and programs during Lent and Advent.
• Nurture the youth and young adults in their faith, particularly after receiving the sacraments, and invite youth and young adults to suggest ways for the parish to help them enhance their faith.
• Appoint a youth and young adult to the Parish Council to give input on decisions affecting the whole parish community.

Service and Outreach
• Enhance the parish communication process, both in digital and written form, by sending emails and texts, posting on Facebook, keeping the website updated, encouraging members to read the bulletin, and hosting a town hall meeting
• Inform residents in the surrounding community about the parish and its activities and share information about the parish with surrounding neighborhoods and new housing developments.

Saint Francis

Holy Cross


Family Life
• Develop and administer the parishes’ visitation program to the homebound and inactive or past members of the parishes by having a “point-person” assigned to help schedule, coordinate, and oversee the program, establishing a team to track visits and maintain sustainability, and by creating a mechanism for feedback when family members are ill or not at Church.
• Increase the involvement of children in Mass and parish life and encourage them to become involved members of the parish over time by instituting a form of Children’s Liturgy of the Word at the Masses that families attend and establishing a team of adult volunteers to manage the program.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Create a new adult Bible Study program for the parishes, to be held no less than every two weeks. This approach will likely be lectionary-based and group-led with ideal scheduling on Wednesday evenings, when children attend parish religious education programs.
• Schedule and offer more frequent and diverse faith formation events, including the planned marriage retreat in September, a panel discussion on what the Church really teaches, and Church history utilizing the rich resources in the Kentucky Holy Land area.
• Poll regularly parish membership for other formation ideas.

Service and Outreach
• Plan more community-oriented, food-based events throughout the year such as chili or bean soup suppers with early advertising and signage throughout the community and including personal invitation to community members who are not parishioners.

Good Shepherd


Family Life
• Create a platform to reach out to former active families and current non-member families who are participating in parish functions by establishing a process for parishioners to make one-on-one contact with former members and non-members to invite them to a family-focused reunion-style event, such as a dance or social.
• Reach out to former members and current non-member families by passing out the bulletin at parish events that non-parishioners attend.
• Expand the invitation circle to already existing family-focused activities, such as the communal “Easter Egg Hunt” or embrace new community events like “Trunk or Treat” during the Halloween season.
• Create opportunities for interaction with Community Catholic volunteers, parents, and children by assisting with the Community Catholic kick-off days or last day of school events, or other opportunities that may present themselves to engage the families: special blessings, providing supplies, ice cream socials, meet-and- greets, and so on.
• Host a non-money making booth at the Portland Festival to promote the parish, especially the parish’s family-focused activities, by distributing information and “give-away” items with the parish name on them.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Develop an adult formation program, such as a pastoral process to invite adults to a Bible study or some other small group formation experience, especially adults who attend Mass but do not receive the Eucharist.
• Develop children’s formation opportunities for parishioners, Community Catholic children, and neighborhood children.
• Provide digital learning opportunities to parishioners, including adults and children.
• Create a multigenerational, family-focused learning event during Advent and/or Lent that would include opportunities to create something that families could take home.

Service and Outreach
• Create a platform to discover the economic, medical, social, and spiritual needs of the greater community/neighborhood by creating an outreach “Information Card” or “Information Form” that would be available in church and at community functions to be filled out to let the parish know about the individual needs of neighborhood folks/non-parishioners and also possibly parishioners. Make an online version of the form available.
• Develop relationships with other community organizations, such as Love City, Catholic Charities, and Hand-in-Hand Ministries to expand what the parish is already doing and to interweave the work of the parish with the work of these community organizations.
• Invite the community in general to be a part of Good Shepherd’s outreach opportunities by supplying articles to the regional newspaper, The Portland Anchor.
• Encourage parishioners not involved with service and outreach to get involved through visual aids, posters, organizational charts, social media, and so on.

Saint Helen


Our Lady
of the Caves

Horse Cave

Family Life
• Invite new parishioners and establish a Family Life Committee, which will review and implement ideas and events to encourage current and new parishioner involvement.
• Catechize the youth by implementing a monthly parish event, which will include a vocation day, youth Mass, potluck movie night, breakfast after Mass, older youth mentoring younger youth, and a family catechism night.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Offer adult catechism on Wednesday nights starting once a month.
• Provide ongoing support for married couples through testimonials and small groups.
• Connect English and Hispanic communities through the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, praying the Living Rosary, and offering a bilingual Mass.

Service and Outreach
• Build faith and relationships through small groups.
• Inform parishioners and community of the “what” and “why” of parish events and express parish vision through personal testimony and through catechism classes.
• Invite migrant workers to a Mass and potluck dinner on a Sunday evening in August.

Holy Family


Family Life
• Engage and encourage new members to join the parish family and encourage lifelong members to share their voices.
• Invite and make personal contact with all who join the parish through smiles, introductions, welcoming packets, and making a place for everyone.
• Re-engage parishioners who have left and reach out to individuals and families in the neighborhood with a welcoming spirit.
• Create opportunities for families to come together for growth and celebration both socially and spiritually.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Provide opportunities for lifelong learning about the Catholic faith and heritage, with courses offered before and after Masses featuring Bible study, social justice, family life, and “real world” practical solutions needed in our society.
• Become cheerleaders of service by addressing our attitudes about need.
• Hold a parish mission or retreat to gain participation and excite parishioners about their faith.

Service and Outreach
• Utilize the wealth of talented people within the parish community with life experiences who can share their talents and experiences with others in the parish and neighborhood.
• Create a centralized communication system to identify needs and match those needs to talents.
• Provide a network of outreach to assist those seeking social justice, or living on the fringe of society, through participation in agencies such as Saint Vincent de Paul, Little Way Pregnancy Resource Center, Franciscan Kitchen, food banks, utility assistance, and other agencies who serve persons who are homeless and hungry.

Saint Ignatius

White Mills

Family Life
• Develop joint family events with clustered partner, Saint Ambrose Parish.
• Update the pictorial booklet for the parish.
• Establish meal committees for parishioners who are sick or have a death in the family.
• Create a “one call” phone service for parishioners.
• Develop a “feature column” in the bulletin to report accomplishments of parish families, including milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Develop enrichment in Catholic studies for all age groups, including Bible study, Vacation Bible School, and religious education for children and youth.
• Organize a community youth group for Saint Ignatius and Saint Ambrose.
• Create a social group for adults (age 21 and over) for Saint Ignatius and Saint Ambrose.

Service and Outreach
• Create a men’s group to help with small household chores needed by seniors, with the phone numbers of the men who can help listed in the bulletin.
• Establish a youth helper day when youth of the parish can rake leaves, paint, and perform other tasks for the elderly in the community.

Saint John the Baptist


Family Life
• Develop a welcoming committee to improve our outreach to those who are new or visiting the parish and hold a stewardship fair following Masses to recruit parishioners for the welcoming committee and other events.
• Enhance communication within the parish by developing a website with information on Mass times, events, and announcements.
• Increase family life offerings by hosting family events once per quarter to bring families closer to each other within each family and among other families in the parish.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Strengthen the education and formation of young adults by focusing on those in age groups 18-24 and 25-30, both single and married.
• Develop a woman’s group, offering daytime and evening meetings for those who want to deepen their faith and develop stronger relationships with other parishioners.

Service and Outreach
• Increase communication about existing service programs by utilizing a new website that will be developed with the help of parishioners.
• Increase service outreach within the community by coordinating with parish groups (both existing and new) to take on local service projects.
• Develop a service and outreach committee, utilizing parishioners involved in local charities who can be the focal point for outreach and who will help parish groups with projects. This effort will focus on charities with whom the parish is already involved.

Saint Lawrence


Family Life
• Strengthen the Eucharist, the Mass, as the focal point of parish and family life by engaging parish committees, especially the Worship and Hospitality Committees, to drive this effort, by focusing on youth and young adults and by utilizing social media.
• Increase communication on all levels throughout our parish family by utilizing popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to improve communication within the parish, specifically with the youth and young adults.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Concentrate on faith formation that targets parish members of all ages and that builds stronger relationships with our members by educating parishioners about all of the various ministries available to them within the parish and growing faith formation efforts where necessary.
• Increase faith formation efforts by concentrating on youth and by extending children’s church to a year-round ministry.
• Work with surrounding parishes to build a strong youth ministry program.

Service and Outreach
• Strengthen outreach by creating a detailed booklet of current programs that also explain how parishioners can get involved.
• Identify new opportunities to get the parish involved in service and outreach, both internally and externally, by soliciting ideas from parishioners about how to increase the parish’s outreach.

Saint Leonard


Family Life
• Attract, engage, and empower younger members (under 40) by reviewing successful youth/young adult ministries at various parishes, determining what is viable for the parishes, and developing a program for Saint Leonard and Saint Frances of Rome, Saint Leonard’s clustered partner.
• Designate a staff person to develop and manage the youth/young adult program with a goal of forming disciples to serve the church.
• Build and improve bridges with existing groups associated with the parish, school, and community by recruiting non-parishioner Mass attendees to join the parish, inviting parishioners and school children to collaborate in identifying areas for joint activities, restructuring and defining responsibilities for the area rep program, increasing the presence of pastoral staff in the school, and encouraging personal interaction among parishioners, school families, the clustered partner Saint Frances of Rome, and the community.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Improve communication in/with parish, school, Louisville community, and clustered partner Saint Frances of Rome by communicating with one another through every possible media, including bulletins, website, apps, and other forms of social media and by ensuring the information is pertinent and timely.
• Increase multigenerational spiritual growth opportunities through improved connections between Saint Leonard and Saint Frances of Rome, including sharing of sacramental preparation, Bible school, monthly youth/young member Mass.
• Improve stewardship at Saint Leonard through increased opportunities for multi-generational participation, such as younger parishioners participating in an off-site service project with veteran parishioners providing meals for meetings and preparations.

Service and Outreach
• Increase parish membership and interpersonal connections through a recruiting/retention plan for members with a focus on a grassroots approach.
• Develop a marketing/outreach campaign to attract diverse membership.
• Increase awareness of services provided by the communication of service opportunities already in place to parishioners and prospects.
• Increase services to the local community through participation in more organized service opportunities for a large parish contingency, such as Habitat for Humanity, Mayor’s Give a Day.

Saint Luke


Family Life
• Expand adult leadership in the parish and ask parish youth minister to provide a description of the type of adult assistance needed in order to formulate a plan of action.
• Keep senior parishioners integrated into the parish and form a committee that would have the task of keeping the parish community informed about illnesses and hospitalizations and that would organize sending get-well cards and arranging for visitations.
• Enhance communication between parish and parishioners and among members and create a questionnaire that surveys general family information as well as employment, interests and talents of members, email addresses, and children’s names and ages in order to create a database of members.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Foster reverence in sanctuary before Mass by asking the lector, after completing the announcements, to ask the assembly to remain quiet and prepare their hearts and minds for Mass.
• Foster religious education for all ages by sustaining children’s liturgy, children’s religious education, and RCIA programs. Utilize the parish database to send reminders about programs and registration dates and encourage parishioners to participate in RCIA.
• Identify young families and personally invite them to help with all areas of parish ministry. Utilize an “Invitation Sunday” once per month, encouraging parishioners to invite someone to Church and to coffee and donuts afterwards.

Service and Outreach
• Continue Saint Vincent de Paul donation services, Siri Mission donations, and Angel Tree programs.
• Utilize the same committee established to keep parish informed of illnesses and hospitalizations to keep parish informed of the needs of those who are homebound.
• Encourage adults and youth to work together on service outreach programs.

Saint Rita


Family Life
• Teach the youth and adults in our community through prayer and Mass involvement.
• Create one community among the diverse parish members and increase communication of all activities in the parish by establishing a communication committee that will utilize all media to ensure everyone is informed.
• Organize a multicultural parish family potluck where all families can come together as one community, with the main purpose being fellowship and allowing all ages of the parish to get to know one another better.
• Strengthen the family by creating more family-friendly activities and by encouraging Mass attendance as a family.

Education and Lifelong Formation
• Increase youth participation in the church community and encourage youth to participate in Mass by inviting them to plan liturgies through the school and religious education program.
• Enhance communication of the youth Mass and encourage participation of the youth in it by providing additional programs in conjunction with this Mass.
• Foster respect and unity within our diversified parish.
• Promote continued religious programs for both youth and adults.

Service and Outreach
• Provide communication of the needs of the parish members as well as those of community neighbors and make available the list of external services and resources to the entire parish membership.
• Investigate where there are gaps in services so that needed services can be identified and made available to those who need assistance.
• Establish a Stewardship Committee to determine what committees exist and where additional committees are needed and to ensure that parish members know how to get involved.
• Promote cultural unity within the parish and promote diversity within the parish committees by ensuring that a Hispanic member is on the Parish Council to help with identifying others for participation in the many stewardship activities.

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