As a courtesy to you, I am including a copy of the electronic report that I sent to the diocese by the deadline of June 8 as each of us pastors was requested to do regarding our parish feedback regarding the last Parish Groupings of On Mission for Church Alive. Enclosed is the feedback form that I sent. I want to thank each of you for your feedback, prayers and participation in this process. It’s now in the hands of the bishop and his advisors. He will announce his decision for all the parishes next March. In the meantime, let us continue to pray to the Holy Spirit to guide our bishop and his team with their prayerful discernment for the final groupings of parishes in this process.
Fr. Joe Luisi
1. Vicariate 2
2. North American Martyrs, Monroeville
3. Date of District Consultation – May 3, 2017
What are the strengths of the Parish Grouping?
The grouping of the two Monroeville parishes with the three Penn Hills parishes provides the greatest potential capital savings as it minimizes the total number of groups and would allow the closing/sale of the most church buildings. However, it totally neglects the inherent geographic and sociological divisions and was unanimously rejected by all 402 respondents on their feedback forms which included 270 people who attended our Town Hall meeting.
Is this Parish Grouping the best relationship of parishes? Why or why not?
In the initial feedback from North American Martyrs Parish after the parish power point presentation and our six focus groups, our Mission Team and parishioners soundly rejected any grouping between the Monroeville parishes and the Plum Borough parishes for reasons of: driving distance, minimal relationship with parishes, different school district, etc. The grouping of the Monroeville parishes with the Penn Hills parishes is worse and fails to fulfill all of the 21 criteria established by the diocese, especially criteria numbers 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12. Even Fr. George Dalton said that the Monroeville/Penn Hills grouping “is cobbled and gerrymandered.” Our parishioners would say it’s contrived and foreign. North American Martyrs Parish does not border any of the three Penn Hills parishes. Many parishes in the Diocese of Greensburg are closer to our parishioners than the Penn Hills parishes. I cite as examples the driving distance to various Catholic churches from North American Martyrs Church: St. Regis, Trafford (2.4 miles), Mother of Sorrows, Murrysville (6.8 miles) Immaculate Conception, Irwin (9.1 miles), St. Barbara, Harrison City (9.3 miles), St. Bartholomew, Penn Hills (10 miles). Many parishioners on their feedback forms said that they would go to churches in the Greensburg Diocese or to a non-denominational church rather than going to the Penn Hills parishes. Instead of the bishop’s projection of a 25% gain of parishioners, we project a 25 to 50% loss of parishioners if the current diocesan grouping is finalized.
What alternative would you propose to make this grouping better?
The best grouping is between St. Bernadette Parish and North American Martyrs Parish in which the 21 criteria established by the diocese are fulfilled. If the Penn Hills parishes need a financial lifeline then they should be grouped with St. Joseph, Verona and St. Irenaeus, Oakmont with whom they have been grouped for 10 years (same district). To say as some have suggested that the parishes should follow the confines of the river is absurd. Nobody takes a boat to Mass.
St. Bernadette Parish is already carrying a debt over a million dollars. North American Martyrs Parish can help it by: providing additional seating capacity for crowded Masses, by providing more accessible parking, by providing room for expansion with our 25 acres whereas St. Bernadette Parish has no room to grow.
There are several points of commonality between the two parishes including: many parishioners already going to each other’s Masses, pastors helping each other with confessions and emergency anointing of the sick, St. Vincent de Paul conference includes all of Monroeville, Knights of Columbus has a Monroeville Council, shared summer service trips between the two youth groups and a three year history of both parishes co-sponsoring the New Evangelization for the New Millennium Conference at the Monroeville Convention Center. Finally, both parishes are located in the Gateway School District.
What are your concerns/suggestions related to implmentation for this group?
If the grouping of the Monroeville/Penn Hills parishes is finalized then our On Mission Team and parishioners would be frustrated, disappointed and angry that the diocese was not very collaborative by grouping us with not only St. Bernadette Parish but with the three Penn Hills parishes which not one person asked for in our parish which I verified after I read the line-by-line report of the Catholic Leadership Institute feedback report. Not one person asked for it in any of our six Focus groups which I attended. Furthermore, not one person asked for such a grouping at St. Bernadette Parish (says Fr. Gargotta) and not one person asked for such a grouping in either St. Gerard Majella Parish or St. Suzanna Parish (says Fr. Barkin).
Perhaps the team didn’t accurately hear what the people had to say. While we are receptive to the ideas of “phasing” and “more campuses”, this seems to be an effort that only hints at collaboration. If the team had really listened to the parishioners of these four parishes, then this grouping would have never been conceived. The natural, logical grouping of the Penn Hills parishes is with their neighboring parishes of St. Joseph, Verona and St. Irenaeus, Oakmont.
Please note top themes of feedback from parishioners related to this parish grouping:
Most parishioners feel that the bishop is using a business model rather than a pastoral model in this proposed grouping and are concerned that the bishop may want to sell our 25 acres of prime real estate. I remember the bishop asking us clergy to rank the four categories of the 21 Criteria according to importance. Our rankings were: Pastoral Care (41 %), Clergy Distribution (25%), Mission Territory (23%) and Financial Viability (12%). In the spirit of collaboration, we think it is better to prioritize the Pastoral Model above the Business Model. As pastor, I remain cautiously optimistic that the bishop and his team will hear our appeal and group North American Martyrs Parish with St. Bernadette Parish which makes the most sense from a geographic, relational and socio-economic point of view to best serve the needs of the Catholic community of Monroeville.
4. What are the strengths of the Parish Grouping?
5. Is this Parish Grouping the best relationship of parishes? Why or why not?
6. What alternative would you propose to make the grouping better?
7. What are your concerns/suggestions related to implementation for this group?
8. Please note top themes of feedback from parishioners related to this parish grouping:
We now have a site for all of your NAM BINGO needs. You can click HERE to get all of the information regarding Bingo dates and specials
Call your friends and get a group together for a night of fun and winning! Reserve tables for groups of 4 or more. All proceeds help fund NAM school.
Here's What's Going On...
Substance Addition Ministry Rosary for Recovery Meeting - Wednesday June 21
The next Substance Addiction Ministry Rosary for Recovery meeting will be held in the church Wednesday, June 21 at 7:00 PM. The Rosary will be followed by an informal gathering for all who are afflicted or affected by addiction. It will be a safe, confidential place for people to seek education, referral and support. For more information please contact Noreen at 412-296-1709.
Festival or Praise for Vocations - Thursday June 22
Come to praise God for the five men to be ordained to the priesthood and pray for an increase in priestly vocations at the Festival of Praise for Vocations, Thursday, June 22 at 7:00 PM at St. Paul Cathedral. The night includes Adoration, a reflection from Bishop Zubik, praise and worship music by Carl and Erin Stuvek, Evening Prayer sung by the St. Paul Cathedral Schola, opportunity for confession, and a light reception. For more information, contact Theresa Sullivan at email@example.com or 412-456-3123. For additional information and Map, click HERE.
Breakfast with the Bishop - Saturday June 24
College and post college men, come to enjoy Breakfast with the Bishop on Saturday, June 24 at 7:30 AM in Synod Hall of St. Paul Cathedral, before the priestly ordinations. Father Nick Vaskov will cook breakfast, Father Mike Ackerman will speak on how to discern your vocation, and Bishop Zubik will host a Q&A session. It all leads up to the outpouring of grace upon the Church to occur with the ordination of five men to the priesthood at 10:00 AM. There is no cost. To register for the breakfast, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food Bank Weekend - June 24 & 25
Next weekend, June 24 & 25, the last weekend of the month, is Food Bank Weekend at both our churches. As you know, this collection benefits those of our neighbors who, through no fault of their own, are less fortunate. The food collected at NAM will benefit Crossroads Food Pantry of Monroeville and the food collected at St. Michael will benefit Pitcairn Food Pantry. Please deposit your non -perishable food donations in the main vestibule of either church. Thank you for your generosity.
Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities trip: June 23 - July 1
Single women, age 18 and older, are invited to join the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities as we travel to David, Kentucky June 23-July 1 to repair homes for people in need through our Franciscans in Action service retreat. While giving of your time and talent, you’ll also experience personal and spiritual growth in the Franciscan tradition. To register, please contact Sister Donna McGartland, OSF, at 315-420-5039 or at email@example.com. For more information go to www.sosf.org.
Don't Miss Quo Vadis Days: Sunday-Tuesday July 16-18
High school men, don’t miss Quo Vadis Days, three days dedicated to learning more about the priesthood, deepening your faith, and better discerning God’s call in your life. Quo Vadis Days will take place at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, Sunday-Tuesday, July 16-18. It will include brotherhood, Mass, sports, adoration, and dynamic talks. All men entering 10th, 11th, 12th grades and freshman year of college are welcome. The retreat costs $40; scholarships are available. Register by Friday, July 7 at PGHPriest.com.
NAM Flea Market - Saturday August 5, old
Consider donating some of the following:
Housewares, working small appliances, lamps, china, dishes, kitchenware, like-new pots & pans, pottery, knick-knachs, frames, gift items, office supplies,Sterling Silver, Silver-plate, ladies compacts, purses, barely-worn hats, men's cufflinks, jewelry, jewelry boex, dolls, toys, games, puzles, tools, holiday decorations, furniture; one piece or the entire set, electronics in working order only, old zippo lighters, new or old musical instruments old sheet music, ephemera, framed prints, old post cards, old advertising items, lawn furniture, books, books on tape, videos, dvd's cd's, records, pet supplies, sporting gear, baskets, cameras, etc.
THIS YEAR WE ARE NOT TAKING:
Go through your attics, basements & cupboards. Tell your friends, neighbors and relatives that now is the perfect time to clean out and down-size while donating to a good cause.
We are aiming for $15,000 this year. Tax receipts will be provided upon request.
Contact Kevin and Patty Toohill firstname.lastname@example.org or Kevin's cell: 412-377-2796 or Patty's cell: 412-612-7061
Mark you calendar for the NAM Flea Market on Saturday, August 5, 2017. It's time to find those 'treasures' in your house that you CAN live without for the NAM Annual Flea Market, the Largest Fundraiser of our school year.
Wild Goose DVD Series - February 6 through August 21
The Wild Goose is an uncommon name given to the Holy Spirit. If you allow him, the Wild Goose will lead you on an adventure greater than you can imagine. The Spirit will lead you to a place of mercy, healing, peace, and presence. The Holy Spirit has been given to us not as a possession to be tamed or controlled, but rather as a Person that will lead us to the Heart of God. The Wild Goose series will help you experience a deeper relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit, and as you come to experience God’s presence and power this very same Spirit will transform you and bring you freedom.
The Wild Goose Series is fourteen independent talks on DVD dealing with different experiences of the Holy Spirit. For the most part, each segment stands on its own so you do not have to watch them in any particular order. However, the first three segments give a type of foundation to the others. Even if you can't attend all 14 sessions, it is worthwhile to attend as many as possible.
Please call the rectory at 412 373-0330 ext. 10 to register for this course with your name, phone number and email address, if you have one.
Stitching Angels Baby Shower - August 19 & 20
The Stitching Angels of North American Martyrs Parish will hold their annual Baby Shower the weekend of August 19 & 20 this year. All the handmade items will be donated to Catholic Charities Women In Need. If you like to knit, crochet or sew and are interested in making a few items, please let me know. Usually we make baby blankets, sweaters, hats, burp cloths, bibs, receiving blankets, etc. So if you are interested in helping out this year, please call Mary Harrill at 412-372-3181 or email@example.com.
Pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, Santiago de Compostela - September 13 - 23, 2017
NAM Golf Outing - Sunday September 16
The 2017 NAM School Golf Outing, to benefit the school Technology Fund, will be held Saturday, September 16 at Butler’s Golf Course – Lakeside Course. Please come and join us for golf and a delicious buffet dinner. Sign-up forms as well as forms allowing businesses and individuals to make contributions to the Golf Outing / Technology Fund will be coming in the near future.
Prayer Meetings - (Twice a month)
Is God calling and you can't find time to listen? Is He trying to tell you something, and you just can't figure out what it is? Are you looking for a time of fellowship and prayer? Join us on the 1st and 3rd Monday's of the month at 7:00 PM at St. Michael's Church. Anyone from the parish and community is welcome to join us for a time of singing, teaching, and prayer. Our next meeting is Monday, January 18. Call Elizabeth if you have any questions or need more information 412-374-3980.
A parish newsletter is sent via email by a parishioner every Sunday and when there are special events at the parish. If you are interested in being added to the list, sign up on our online form here. Your email address will not be shared with others and all names added are BCC'ed when emails are sent.
Children's Liturgy of the Word (CLOW)
CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD (CLOW) is in need of volunteers to share the Word of the Lord with the children of our Parish during the 11:00 Mass. The Leader and the children leave the church before the Liturgy of the Word begins and congregate in DeLuca Hall to break open the Word of God. The schedule is done in two to three month intervals. The leaders are usually scheduled once a month as long as we have enough volunteers to rotate. Please consider sharing your faith with our 4 year old to 1st graders during the Mass. If interested please contact Cindy Capell who is in charge of the scheduling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Card Players Needed
Do you enjoy playing cards? Then we would like to have you join the NAM sponsored card flights. We are now in the process of organizing the flights which resume in September. We currently have openings in all flights: ladies and couples/mixed pinochle; ladies and couples/mixed 500 and ladies bridge. It is a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or evening and a nice way to meet new people. If you have played with us before, why not consider joining us again and renew “old” acquaintances. For further information on Pinochle and 500, contact Evie Welsh at 412-372-2123 or for bridge, contact Marilyn Murray at 412-372-0772.
Catholic Singles Club
SINGLE, 21 & OVER (or know someone who is)? - Looking for a new way to meet people and have some fun? Check out the Catholic Singles Club of Pittsburgh. We offer a variety of different activities including parties, picnics, hiking, volleyball, sports leagues, dinners, trips, community service, and many other great events. For more information, please visit our website at www.cacpittsburgh.org, check out our Facebook page, CAC of Pittsburgh, or call 412-341-4070. Give yourself a fall present and join today. We think you’ll be glad you did.