Open Forum Minutes

Saint Mary Parish Open Forum,

Spring 2016


The Meeting in Columbus Hall on April 16th was started promptly by Fr. Shelton at 6:00 PM with a prayer lead by Fr. Collins.

Fr. Shelton handed out a draft flow chart of the parish organization (work in progress).


  1. Reception of Holy Communion at sanctuary step has been facilitated by installation of a back pew into the vacant space that was the transverse aisle in the center of the Church.
  2. The Choir, Holy Communion, and the choir loft.
    1. Choir should begin Communion song at the inception of the celebrant’s Communion.
    2. Silence after Communion should commence when the celebrant returns to his chair.
    3. The Period of Silence should last between 2-3 minutes.
    4. 2nd collection after Holy Communion could disrupt the Period of Silence.
    5. Changing when the 2nd collection occurs could facilitate the Period of Silence.
    6. Consideration should be given to installing Holy water founts in the choir loft.
    7. These items are to be addressed by the Divine Liturgy Committee.
  3. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMOHC’s)
    1. Meeting should be held to discuss procedures
    2. Rules should be published.
    3. Annual gathering should be considered.
  4. Funerals
    1. One person from outside the Church was so impressed by a funeral and the welcoming atmosphere that this person chose to attend RCIA – evangelization at work.
    2. Renovations in the Church basement making a social hall will be conducive to a welcoming environment.
  5. The Statue of St. Mary of Oak Ridge has been so vandalized that the crown is severely damaged.
  6. Chapel and Adoration Chapel
    1. Locksmiths finally located parts to repair the exterior combination lock on the double doors of the Chapel and it works again.
    2. Installing a peep hole in side door must comply with code for the Chapel door to be a fire door.
  7. Vincent de Paul Society (St. P.)
    1. The Poor Box on the table in the back of the Church (narthex) pertains to St. P.
    2. The Poor box is identified by the emblem on it and a small label at the bottom.
    3. The St. P. has its own IRS Tax Identification Number.
    4. Finances of the St. P. are now separate from the Church
    5. Checks should be made out to “Saint Vincent DePaul Conference 7572” or “Saint Vincent de Paul Oak Ridge.”
    6. Money in St. P. Collection envelops goes directly to our Oak Ridge Conference.
    7. Checks made out to Saint Mary Parish do not go to the St. P.
    8. A financial statement for the Conference is being created by their Financial Officer.
  8. Other charities
    1. Proceeds from the White Elephant go into our Parish Charity account.
    2. Charity account used for a variety of charitable needs.
  9. On-line giving to be reviewed by the Parish Finance Council
    1. Several choices available: Parish designated, Parish school, Parish Charity, and Other.
    2. “Parish Charity” does not describe what the charity is and how the funds are used.
    3. The “Other” category is undefined and guidance should be provided on how and when to use it.
  10. Parish funding and use of funds
    1. The “rainy-day” fund is at ~ $245K. It is a deficit fund for St. Marys’ to borrow against when weekly collections are insufficient to cover immediate and essential expenditures.
    2. Repair of an obsolete HVAC unit for the school this past December was an emergency issue that had to be addressed immediately. Whereas, the parking lot is in need of repair but repair has been delayed over many years to the point where repair is now costly.  Repair will be delayed until it becomes imperative or when the required thorough job can be done.
    3. The Home campaign is for capital expenditures to address facility issues not covered by parish collections (or the deficit fund). Some building issues require immediate attention while others are not an immediate threat.  Priorities have been set by recommendations from the Parish Council.  The parish is about people so there is a balance in the focus on infrastructure and on people.  The walking trail projects an inviting image to the community and renovation of the Church basement into a social hall makes possible a place for socialization.  This helps St. Mary’s to become an inviting place not only to the parishioners attending St. Marys’ but to the community at large creating an opportunity for evangelization.
  11. Electronic Communications
    1. Email has been very helpful in combating a feeling of disengagement.
    2. There should be an announcement that the bulletin is again accessible online.
    3. Assessment of the modes of communications finding ways to communicate as effectively as possible.
  12. Day Care Center (DCC) and Signage
    1. It is prohibitively expensive to bring the old Day Care Center up to codes. There is no issue with asbestos in the building.  The car port was removed due to issues the power company has with overhead power lines.  The option presented itself to give the building to a company for one dollar and the company would take possession of the building and move it offsite.  The house will be removed from the property if the Pastor gives the approval.
    2. Removal of the DCC will make buildings on campus (Columbus Hall, the Gymnasium and the east end of the school) visible from the street.
    3. Buildings on Campus now have their own street numbers registered with the City. However, the land is zoned residential.  Compliance with City Ordinances prevents the Church from putting up signs advertising activities and events.  If an inspector sees a sign from the street, the fine is $50 per day for each member of the parish staff who knows about it.
  13. Prayers of the Faithful
    1. Parishioners asked that veterans and refugees be acknowledged.
    2. Deacons are responsible for composing the Prayer of the Faithful. Deacon Gary leads when he is ministering at Mass.  When John DeClue is ordained a deacon he will be responsible for leading this prayer at the Masses at which he ministers.
    3. Requests should be sent to John DeClue regarding the Communion services and Masses at which he serves (in the absence of Deacon Gary.)
  14. Open Forums planned quarterly, at least for the foreseeable future, with the next gathering to be announced.


Meeting adjourned at 7:03 pm with a prayer.

*Minutes prepared from notes kindly taken by Acolyte John DeClue