Last Week’s “Open Forum II” Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes for the St. Mary’s Parish Open Forum held on November 6, 2015

Meeting in Columbus Hall was started promptly by Fr. Shelton at 6:00 PM with a prayer.

Men’s Retreat announced to be held Nov. 21 at the Tennessee Theatre.

A Catholic Association of the Faithful known as the St. Vincent de Paul is to take over the operation of the St. Joseph’s food pantry.


  1. List newly deceased persons in the bulletin on a weekly basis.
  2. Update the parish map in the basement of the Church across from the elevator.
  3. Reduce Sunday (English) Masses from 3 to 2 and invite people to fill the pews, and to relieve stress on lay ministers.
  4. Identify people who are on the parish rolls but do not attend Mass.
  5. Father Shelton recommend the parish read the book entitled Rebuilt.
  6. Legion of Mary can be an effective tool for inviting neighbors to join parish/Church.
  7. Need more evening activities.

Ideas expressed on expanding the liveliness of the parish

  • Once people return to the Church, we must have something to keep the returnees here.
  • Must determine what it is that people need.
  • Shift-work is a consideration for the Mass schedule.
  • Liturgy/music tailored to the participants.
  • Need to partner with other denominational churches on bible studies and social action in order to attract outsiders to the Church.
  • Demographics of the parish as a consideration.

Perspective of a young parishioner

  1. A beautiful church is an asset for evangelization.
  2. Pictures of the staff should be depicted on the website.
  3. The weekly bulletin starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday so notification time for Sunday events is inadequate.
  4. Ushers and greeters at all the Masses is important particularly for new people and visitors.
  5. Calendar on the website needs to coincide with events listed in the bulletin.
  6. Start having a movie night.
  7. Provide email contacts for the events listed in the bulletin.
  8. Establish a Welcome Committee that visits new parishioners.
  9. Provide/display building maps showing locations of rooms.
  10. Provide signs for facilities.
  11. Sign up for activities.
  12. Have more activities for young kids (preschoolers?)
  13. Establish a children’s Mass (where the activity of the children is more likely to be “tolerated”.)
  14. Revisit the cry-room concept.
  15. Establish bilingual Masses with a “teleprompter” display of the liturgy.


  • Sensory lights along walkways
  • Youth participation at Second Harvest Food Bank used to bring money to the Food Pantry. Should consider implementing this activity again; however, this requires youth involvement.
  • Need to implement the Usher Guidelines.
  • Two kinds of organizations in a parish:
    • Organizations within the jurisdiction of the parish administration.
    • “Autonomous” organizations like the St. Vincent de Paul.
  • Need an interim procedure to get the food pantry supplied with food while St.V.dP is being started.
    • Make check out to St. Mary’s Catholic Church with St. Joseph Food Pantry indicated on the memo line.
  • Need for census of the parish with results input to the Divine Liturgy Committee.
  • Father Shelton: Home Campaign is opportunity to refurbish grounds and facilities, especial our “centers of welcoming”.
  • Need wheel chair access to one confessional.


Meeting adjourned with a prayer by Fr. Dustin.

[Meeting notes developed from a draft kindly prepared by John DeClue]