Koffee Katches took place on June 26, August 14, September 25, 2016, and February 5, 2017. There were 111 attendees from seven (7) ministries: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors, Presiders at Liturgy of the Word with Children, Holy Name Society, Rosary Society, Adult Music Ministry, and parents of Children’s Choir.
Each attendee completed a survey form. Suggestions/comments from these forms were summarized, and the parish acted on some of them, as follows:
1. ON COMMUNITY BUILDING
A) Encourage parishioners to actively participate in the community
i. Organized an OLM chapter of Jersey City Together, currently with 50 members
ii. Worked with Jersey City officials to resolve a safety and quality-of-life issue affecting our parishioners in Country Village and streets adjacent to it
iii. 75 Parishioners participated in 2nd Annual Great Jersey City Clean-Up of part of Ward A, including areas surrounding our parish, from Country Village to Kennedy Boulevard
iv. On May 13, twenty five parishioners removed the dark spots and cleaned the interior walls of our church
B) Greet parishioners as they come to Church
i. Guidelines given to Liturgical ministers and Holy Name Society greeters encourage this practice
C) Home and hospital visitations by priests and extraordinary ministers of holy communion
i. Parish bulletin and web site www.olmnj.org include information on how to request this ministry
D) More choir performances outside the parish
i. Outreach to St. Ann’s Nursing Home
ii. Choir sang at the Columbia Park Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony
i. Fr. Tom Iwanowski conducted Lenten day of recollection attended by 60 parishioners
ii. 108 participants completed 5 sessions of Live Christ, Share Christ program
2. MINISTERS RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING
A. Contracts (1 or 2 years) so ministers don’t feel trapped
B. Removal of uncommitted ministers
i. 34 lectors and 60 extraordinary ministers of holy communion re-committed to a 2-year term
ii. Those who did not submit recommitment forms are no longer scheduled to serve
C. Multiple ministries at the same mass
i. Guidelines for lectors, extraordinary ministers of holy communion, and choir members inhibit
them from serving multiple ministries at the same mass
ii. Schedules coordinated for liturgical ministers to avoid multiple ministries at the same mass
D. Annual training sessions
i. Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion 6 lectors and 24 extraordinary ministers of holy communion attended training at the Newark Archdiocese center
ii. Liturgy of the Word with Children – Sr. Sandi di Massi trained 9 presiders
iii. Altar Servers – Fr. Nol Docabo trained altar servers, including 11 new altar servers installed May 21
iv. Protecting God’s Children – Two presiders at LWC renewed their certification
E. Recruit more members/ Welcome new talents
i. 17 Health care professionals organized themselves into a Wellness Ministry with Kathleen Pormento as interim chairperson. Plans underway for Health Fair and Blood Drive on July 9.
ii. Music Ministry – added 3 new members to Adult Choir during current year. Recruitment will start
again mid-August. Recruitment for Children’s Choir will begin in September
iii. Liturgy of the Word with Children – added 3 presiders and a music minister
G. Change mass schedule during summer months
i. Change in weekend mass schedule currently under discussion
H. Proceed with Bible Study
i. 18 participants and 7 facilitators currently attend Great Adventure Bible Study for 14 sessions over
A. Need better communication within and among ministries
i. OLM Web site
Redesigned the OLM web site for better aesthetics and to adapt to mobile Assigned a special section to “market” ministries
Allowed non-parishioners to register
ii Social Media (Facebook)
Established presence but still has to take full advantage of the platform
iii. Parish Bulletin
Redesigned to make it more enticing for people to take home and read
Made available for online downloading
Added pages for color and more information
B. More personal interaction with pastor
i. Koffee Klatches are on-going – personal conversations with pastor and other ministers
ii. More fellowships planned for the rest of the faith community
C. More open communications and suggestions
i. Parish bulletin includes announcement on a drop box for suggestions and questions.
To-date only prayer requests have been received.
D. Greater financial transparencies
i. Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2016 distributed in August 2016
ii. Pastor’s column in parish bulletin includes answers to questions about financial condition of the
parish. Only three questions submitted thus far.
4. FINANCIAL STATUS OF THE PARISH
A. Increase current church revenue
B. Reduce historical debt to the Archdiocese
i. Registered OLM on smile.amazon.com charitable giving program. OLM parishioners can direct a percent age of their purchases as donation to the parish
ii. Task Force for Fund Raising was formed with 16 members; Alton de Castro is overall coordinator.
At their second meeting, the task force brainstormed on various activities that will generate
additional revenue for current operations. Suggestions generated by Koffee Klatch surveys addressing financial issues were turned over to the Task Force for action.
iii. Effective July 1, 2016 the Archdiocese out into place a arrangement to apply a portion of rental income from Starting Points to reduce OLM historical debt. Starting Points rents the school building formerly occupied by Our Lady of Mercy Academy.
The small number of respondents does not provide a representative sample of our whole parish. We would like to hear what the “silent majority” think and feel. A parish-wide survey will be released some time this year, and we hope every one participates then.