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Parish Documents

Report of the Parish Visitation of Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski

May 14, 2008

STATISTICAL INFORMATION

The parish of St. John the Evangelist is located in Anne Arundel County. The parish is bounded by water on the east and west. St. Bernadette Parish borders on the northwest and Church of the Crucifixion on the north. St. Andrew By-the-Bay borders the parish on the south. Currently, there are approximately 3375 registered families in the parish—a little over 2000 of which live within the parish boundaries. Approximately 1300 families live outside the boundaries but choose to worship at St. John’s. Conversely, about 800 families living within the parish boundaries choose to affiliate elsewhere. Socio-economically, the parish has little diversity with a median income of about $100,385. The largest registration age-group is the 40-59 age cohorts (31.61%). The smallest registration age group is the 60+age cohort (13.47%). In 2007, the largest age cohort of mass attendees was among the 40-59 age group—the smallest was among the 18-39 age group.

Senior parishioners (60+) continue to represent the largest number of those involved in ministries and organizations in the parish. Parishioners in the 18-39 age group continue to be the least represented in parish involvement. This has remained fairly consistent since 2003.

Ethnic and racial diversity is slight at St. John’s. The majority of parishioners are Caucasian. Registration indicates that there are 15 registered African-American families; 62 registered Asian/Pacific Islander families and 30 Hispanic families. The parish has a vigorous sacramental program with 104 Baptisms, 141 First Communions; 160 Confirmations, 16 marriages and 67 funerals in 2007.

The parish sponsors St. John the Evangelist Catholic School. The current enrollment is 474. The school has experienced a 20% enrollment decline since 1999. Currently, there are approximately 700 children enrolled in the faith formation program, which is administered by 86 catechists.

INTRODUCTION

As Vicar Bishop of the Eastern Vicariate, I take seriously my responsibility to visit the parishes within the Vicariate. I value the opportunity to spend a day in the parish listening and learning about the hopes and concerns of parishioners. I am keenly aware of the goodness of so many committed individuals who are working daily to carry out the mission of Jesus. The persons who are attended as a result of the wonderful ministries going on are a testament to the faith and devotion of both staff and parishioners. Spending 12 to 14 hours in a parish provides me with a good “snapshot” of the life of the community and offers me a firsthand glance at the good work carried out so diligently and humbly.

I thank you for your welcoming hospitality extended to me and to my pastoral team throughout the visit. Your warmth and your pride in your parish were obvious.

COMMENDATIONS

In this report, I hope to offer you support, encouragement and direction as you move into the future as a faith community.

Parish Community:

• I commend Parishioners for their generosity to the parish and its ministries.
• I commend the many Parishioners who volunteer time and talent to the many programs, ministries and outreach sponsored by the parish.
• I commend those who are involved in the ministry of caring to the elderly and homebound, which provides constant pastoral presence and comfort to the 1200 to 1400 persons who are served through this ministry.
• I commend the Parish Community for their welcoming hospitality and for their high level of energy, which is apparent to those who visit.
• I commend those parishioners who are participants in the “Why Catholic” program.
• I commend the youth of the parish for their responsiveness and enthusiasm to offer service when needed.
• I commend the Parish Community for forming sister relationships with St. Philomena and St. Margaret Mary Parishes in Mandeville, Jamaica.
• I commend the St. Vincent de Paul Society and its extensive outreach to the parish and surrounding area.
• I commend the youth of the parish for their pastoral sensitivity and care for a sick teenager in the parish and their many efforts to support her and her family. This kind of pastoral sensitivity will build these young people into adults with deep faith and integrity. It is a life lesson in progress.

Parish Leadership:

• I commend the Pastor for his excellent management skills and for his conscientious administration of the resources of the parish.
• I commend the Pastor for his initiation of a long range pastoral plan and for the development of an overall master plan to insure the future of St. John’s.
• I commend the Pastor for organizing a strong infra-structure to facilitate smooth day-to-day operations.
• I commend the Staff for their attendance at archdiocesan-sponsored workshops and conferences.
• I commend the Staff for their compliance to all STAND requirements.
• I commend the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Staff for their participation in the “Worthy of the Call” program.
• I commend those responsible for the weekly “Prayer Sheet” that is provided to all parishioners each Sunday for their use during the week.
• I commend those involved in the planning and implementing of the concert series and for efforts to make this an ecumenical project.
• I commend the members of the Pastoral Council who are travelling to Jamaica to visit the two sister parishes there.
• I commend the Staff for their focus on strengthening the parish as a welcoming community.
• I commend the Parish Leadership for establishing a Vocation Committee to foster vocation awareness among young men and women.
• I commend the Staff for their dedication, hard work and the level of experience and expertise they bring to their respective ministries.
• I commend the Staff for their engagement in master planning to enhance liturgy and participation.
• I commend the Pastoral Council for their commitment to Council ministry and for their expressed belief that they are personally enriched by one another and the ministry they perform.
• I commend the Pastoral Council for initiating the Strategic Plan.

Acknowledgement:

The purpose of the Pastoral Visitation is to gain a greater understanding of the parish on many levels. Time spent in the parish meeting with the parishioners, parish staff, pastor, lay corporators, council members, volunteers and various committees provides a lens through which the Vicar Bishop can gain insight into the many aspects of parish life and ministries of the parish. As such, the Pastoral Visitation does not include an in-depth assessment of the faith formation program or the parish school. The Division of Catholic Schools and the Division of Evangelization and Catechesis provide to the Bishop’s Office ongoing information and evaluation of both these entities.

Faith Formation:

• I commend the parish and school for the number of catechists who participate in formation opportunities leading to catechist certification. The school has 9 persons who hold current catechist certificates. The parish has 14 catechists who hold current certificates.
• I commend the Faith Formation Staff for their catechetical outreach to adults and children with developmental disabilities.
• I commend the DRE for his work to make catechesis for human sexuality and child protection a part of his religious education program next year.
• I commend the Adult Faith Formation Coordinator for the diversity of her outreach for AFF.

Catholic School:

• I commend the Principal for her continued commitment to the growth and viability of St. John’s School.
• I commend the Faculty, for their continued energy and hard work in striving for academic excellence within the context of a faith community.
• I commend the school leadership for the outstanding project work that has paved the way for the school’s national commendation as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
• I commend the student body’s reverent and active engagement in the Eucharistic Celebration.
• I commend the Pastor’s support and appreciation of the school as integral to the parish’s mission to preach the gospel.
• I commend the School Service Club for collecting coins for a graduate who is in the Peace Corps to build a library in Gambia.

Facilities

St. John the Evangelist Parish is situated on 16.5 acres off Cypress Creek Road and Ritchie Highway. The church has a seating capacity of approximately 900 persons.

• I commend the Parish leadership for engaging Ruebling to develop a master renovation plan to address long standing concerns and for the time and effort to study and assess all parish facilities.
• I commend the many enhancements to the parish plant including—
 the full security system in the school (by next year)
 the spacious and attractive Youth Ministry area
 the new windows in the school (reducing utility costs by 20%)
 the state-of-the-art science lab and language lab

Financial Management:

• I commend the parish administration for converting to QuickBooks Online.
• I commend the administrative staff for the level of experience and the credentials they bring to the administration of the parish plant.
• I commend the efforts to develop awareness and use of Faith Direct, which is currently at10%.
• I commend the Controller for providing monthly variance reports as a means of monitoring the budget.
• I commend the Development Director for efforts to develop institutional advancement.
• I commend the Parish Leadership for building the three existing endowments—school, the poor, and the church.
• I commend the Finance Council for their conscientious monitoring of the parish’s assets and for the expertise they bring to this service.
• I commend the Lay Corporators for the Property Replacement Reserve Study and for their dedication to their fiduciary responsibilities to the parish corporation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

A significant purpose of the Pastoral Visit is to bring to the attention of the Pastoral Leader, the Staff and Parishioners specific recommendations and directives that should be addressed. These are based on observations and information gained through the pastoral visit and through various archdiocesan offices that track specific data. As Bishop, I wish to bring these matters to your attention in the firm belief that you will make every effort to attend to them to strengthen the administration and ministries of the parish and the community.

Planning

• I ask the Pastor, Staff and Pastoral Council to strategize ways to communicate the current realities of staffing—both priestly and lay ecclesial ministry—to the community and to develop educational opportunities to further inform parishioners regarding alternate models of parish leadership, which could affect them in the future.

Parish Life and Ministry

• I ask the good people of St. John the Evangelist Parish to renew efforts to engage in parish life in all its many aspects, i.e., generous financial support for future capital expenses, active and enthusiastic participation in the liturgical life of the parish, generous offering of service through membership on committees, and volunteering when needed. Older generations have been good stewards of the parish’s ministries and it is now time for younger parishioners to step into their shoes. The mutuality of what one gives to the parish and receives from the parish is critical for the life and vitality of any parish community.

• I ask the Parish Leadership to continue to discuss and implement creative ways to organize and broaden evangelization effort throughout the area.

Staff and Council Development

• I ask the Pastor to work with the Staff and Pastoral Council to organize and participate in ongoing formation, including in-service, retreats, and planning days to insure greater cohesiveness and common understanding of the mission of the parish and the broader mission of the Church. Many ecclesiologies are at work in the parish. This has the potential of being life-giving and enriching. Likewise, it has the potential of becoming a source of division and tension. It is important for parish leadership (Pastor, Staff, Council) to develop spiritually as well as professionally.

School

• I ask that both Parish and School Leadership develop regular opportunities to interface with other parish ministries to more effectively support and coordinate the mission of the parish.

Development

• I ask the Development Director to work with the Pastor, Principal and School Board to determine means to offset a deficit budget and to find creative funding sources to secure the viability of the school. In addition, I ask that all work together to explore marketing strategies to recruit and retain students.

CONCLUSION

During the pastoral visit, I was aware of the pride that parishioners, staff and pastor have in the parish. It was obvious to me that parishioners care deeply about their parish and take great pride in its vitality and diversity. I sensed a strong energy among parishioners and parish leadership and have no doubt that you will continue to bring the Gospel message to many. It was a pleasure to be with you. As your Bishop, I promise my support and prayers as you continue to be the presence of Christ in the community and in the neighborhood. I ask your prayers and support as I continue my ministry to the parishes of the Eastern Vicariate.