With One Heart—Exploring Parish Priorities and Goals

If you look at the Mission and Vision page of the Mother of God website, you will see a neatly organized summary of our parish’s purpose, vision, values, priorities and goals. What you won’t see are the months of prayer, thought, discussion and hard work that went into creating this summary.

Jessica Adams, our consultant from the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI), guided our Envisioning Team through six months of spirited and Spirit-filled conversations about what makes Mother of God the community that it is—a unique space where people feel free to be themselves, regardless of where they are in their faith journey.

The team then carefully considered how to nurture those qualities that attract people to Mother of God and grow in our aspiration to “be the instruments of the peace of Jesus Christ.”

We limited ourselves to three priorities to increase our effectiveness in accomplishing the goals we set. However, we realize there is other work that must continue in the parish.

This week, we will focus on the first priority: Sustainability.

This priority is foundational to the others and purely practical in nature. We recognize that if we want to minister to others, we must be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to our care so we can be here for future generations. These gifts include our beautiful church, the rectory, St. Aloysius Center, several properties across the street and the east, west and north parking lots.

We must also ensure that we are adequately staffed to run the parish and that our employees and volunteers have the skills and tools they need to do their work. And finally, we must support our work financially and manage the income we receive wisely.

Thanks to the foresight and wisdom of parish leaders in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Mother of God is blessed to have a memorial fund, which is dedicated solely to the upkeep of the church and rectory. The interest from this fund has allowed us to replace the roof, paint the bell towers and do other maintenance as needed without having to dip into parish savings or hold a capital campaign.

Likewise, the fees we receive from parking space rentals cover the cost of maintaining our grounds, including snow removal and landscaping.

The leaders heading up the Sustainability priority will identify any challenges to the operations of our parish in the next five to 10 years and develop strategies to mitigate them. Examples of such strategies include:

  • Boosting our revenue stream from parishioners’ weekly offerings, as well as other sources, to keep pace with inflation, while being more intentional about every dollar we spend on operating expenses, non-emergent repairs, charitable support of outside agencies/causes or programs in which we choose to participate.
  • Developing business continuity plans for leadership roles (paid and volunteer) in the parish so that if someone is no longer able to fulfill their responsibilities, someone else can step in and keep things running smoothly until the leader can return or their successor can be identified.
  • Thinking creatively about how to get the greatest use out of the space we have in service to parish needs and activities.

Planning for the Future

Mother of God is doing well for now. But we must be proactive to ensure we maintain a strong financial position and parish leadership. This will be especially important when Fr. Comer chooses to retire, as our next pastor may only be part-time and need more administrative support.

Our two goals under the Sustainability priority are to:

  • Develop a robust sustainability plan to ensure the perpetual life of the parish based on sound financial processes, optimal personnel structure, and strategic use of campus resources by March 2025.
  • In collaboration with the pastor, staff, and key volunteers, create a parish operations manual outlining standard operating procedures by March 2025.

March 2025 was chosen as the deadline since that is the time when our diocese and our parish will take the Disciple Makers Index survey again to measure the results of our efforts.

More information will be forthcoming about our progress on this priority. If you have questions or skills that are relevant to these goals and would like to help, please contact Ian Munday at munday.ian@gmail.com or Cindy Duesing at cduesing@twc.com.