Greetings of peace in this new year of 2018. The Christmas season ended last week and we now begin the season of Ordinary Time, with Ash Wednesday and Lent not so far off. Once again thank you to all who helped with our Christmas celebrations.

As we begin this new year, I want to give an update on the parish survey we conducted in November/December. You’ll recall that we worked with a consulting company called Lynch Development Associates, and developed a survey which was sent out to all parish households. Our goal was to get a measure of what you, the people of the parish, thought about a number of different things: our Sunday liturgies, faith formation, outreach, parish life, schools, finances – your overall sense of this community of St. Francis at this point in time. We received just over 500 completed surveys. These surveys were sent directly to Lynch Development and processed through that company’s office; the surveys were anonymous to us here at St. Francis. What did we learn from the process? Overall, things are going well here. There is an overall sense that this is a good parish doing good things. However, after reviewing the report from Lynch Development, what’s clear to me is that we need to develop a way to engage the parish in a wider process of pastoral planning – looking at where we’ve been, where we are now, and where God is calling us to be in the future. We also need to do a better job of communicating financial information about our parish and schools, and we will be looking at different ways of doing that. There was, for many years, a stable group of friars here at St. Francis: Fr. Mark Reamer for 19 years, Fr. Bill McConville for 14 years, and Fr. David McBriar for twenty years. A lot of stability for
a lot of years, and then each of those friars moved on to other assignments in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In that time, we friars – Steve K., Jim, and myself – have been learning the parish, and I imagine the parish is still learning us, amid those major changes.

In the coming weeks, as we begin this new year, I will be having conversations with staff and with others about beginning a wider process of pastoral planning, how to go deeper into our call to follow in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, who himself looked to follow the risen Christ. Thank you to all who responded to our survey, and we will keep you informed as we look to next steps.

Blessings on your week!