2017 FOLLOWUP - Parish Meetings

FOLLOWUP.  Parish Meetings

In October Fr. Tom conducted a number of parish meetings, in homes of parish families and a final in the parish hall.  The following is a response to questions that came up at the various meetings.

(The full list of responses are available at www.stolaf.cc)

CHAPEL ACCESS.  The design of the chapel incorporated a plan to give parishioners access to the Blessed Sacrament even when the building is not open.  Any parishioner wishing access to the chapel, outside of office hours only, can fill out a request form, available from the office.  Anyone using the chapel after hours must agree to comply with certain requirements.  The afterhours code will only give access to the chapel, and no other part of the building (including the sacristy or bathrooms).

MASS TIME CHANGE.  Moving the 10:00am Sunday Mass to 11:00am to accommodate scheduling elementary religious education for 9:30am was discussed.  Due to the difficulty of changing a parish mass schedule, no change will go forward without a clear preference from the families of students.  A survey of families of students will be conducted this winter, and further action then determined.  At the same time we will consider a request to move the 5:30pm Saturday Mass to 5:00pm.  Any change will not take place until September 2018.

PARISH MINISTRIES.  Interest was expressed about informing parish families about ministries in the parish and inviting their participation.  Information on parish ministries is currently on the parish website, but we will be updating the information and creating a booklet that will be available, as well as having “ministry fairs” (winter, 2018).

PRIESTS.  Interest was expressed concerning about how long Fr. Tom might continue at St. Olaf and the potential of having a second priest assigned.  Every priest serves at the pleasure of the bishop who determines how priests are assigned.  A parish having a second priest is affected by the size of the parish and the wishes of that parish’s pastor.  A second priest is usually and international priest.  When a new bishop is named he will be important in determining the terms of pastors and assigning of second priests.  We will just have to stay tuned.

HYMN BOARDS.  Because of the size and configuration of the church, it would take a number of hymn boards and boards of considerable size to be visible to all parts of the congregation.  Hymn numbers will continue to be announced, and a season hymnal insert is being explored that will have hymn numbers and other information about the Masses.

ALL ARE WELCOME.  The “All Are Welcome” which had been in the commons before the construction should be reinstalled before the end of the year.

SOUND SYSTEM.  We are aware of the challenges we have been having with the sound system in the church.  We continue to train ministers in how to optimize the equipment and are working with the company that installed it on the issues.  We have heard that the loop for those with hearing aids is functioning well.

MISSALS.  Some asked whether we can subscribe to seasonal missalettes to be available in the pews so people can follow along with the readings.  The preference is that the readings at Mass are heard as a community, rather than read (which is individual).  Missalettes are disposable, can get dog-eared, and generally not considered a worthy instrument to contain the Word of God.  Those who need or prefer to follow along with the readings are encouraged to buy a Sunday missal which would be a resource both at Mass and at home.

VIGIL CANDLES. 

Some expressed a desire to have vigil candles that would be lit to mark various intercessions.  These are being used less frequently in churches due to insurance sensitivities.  We continue to study this in light of diocesan guidelines.

HANDICAPPED PARKING SPACES

With people entering the facility through the central doors of the commons, some have pointed out that some of the handicapped spaces are now far from the entry doors.  We are looking at redistributing handicap spaces to nearer the front doors, but will since this require relining the parking lot may have to wait until the spring.

HOSPITALITY

Although we have a number of social events where families can meet each other, we will reinstitute new member receptions this January, with three receptions planned throughout the year.  This way, new members who wish to can attend to meet other new members and ask any questions.   The first event will be January 12, 2018.

We are also looking for to begin a ministry of people who will staff an information desk in the commons before and after weekend Masses.

SECURITY

A new policy book from the diocese has been issued to address emergency procedures should an incident occur when people are gathered.  These include incidents from medical emergencies to fires to active shooter situations.  Administration and ushers will be studying these procedures and working toward compliance.

Some expressed concerns that sometimes the parking lot lights are not illuminated.  These issues have been addressed and all lights are currently working and lights are illuminated until midnight.