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Questions are a normal part of transition. Here are a few questions we have been hearing recently from the parish community along with our answers.

Question

What’s the future look like for St. Pat’s?

Answer

That’s a great question.  In a nutshell it’s bright and positive.  We have a great team of leaders on the staff and in our ministry groups, and a wonderful group of parishioners.  To prepare for the future, we recently assembled a Strategic Planning Team.  This team— facilitated by Barbara Eckert, who works for the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI), and comprised of representatives from our parish staff, various councils and commissions, and at large members will soon begin the process of developing a long-range strategic plan for the parish. Parishioners will be well informed of the process and provided opportunities to participate in shaping the future of the parish.  We can’t plan our future without your input.  Your parish staff is committed to being open and transparent throughout the entire planning process.

Question

Is St. Pat’s ready for the new Pastoral Leadership Model?

Answer

Absolutely! We have three exceptional Parish Priests to celebrate the Sacraments, an incredibly devoted Deacon who knows our St. Pat’s community, a Pastoral Coordinator with 4 years of experience running the day to day business of the parish, one of the best Principals in the state leading our school, a seasoned parish staff with over 75 years of combined pastoral service, and the best parishioners a community could ask for.  Fr. Seamus’ parting words were, “God saved the best for last.”   Well, the “best” is still filling our pews on Sunday.  We know that the parishioners at St. Pat’s will continue to live the faith and support one another just as we have for over 120 years.

Question

Is St. Pat’s a Jesuit Parish?

Answer

No.  St. Pat’s remains a diocesan parish, aided by the local Bellarmine Prep Jesuit community that has agreed to serve as parish priests to celebrate Mass and the Sacraments.  We are blessed with the unique charisms of these Jesuit priests, particularly during this historic time of the first ever Jesuit Pope—Pope Francis.  We are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Mass with three very exceptional priests who will each, in his own way, accompany us on our journey with Christ.

Question

Will we continue to receive information about what is happening?

Answer

Yes, our staff and parish leaders remain committed to keeping you informed of parish life at St. Pat’s.  In addition to checking the weekly bulletin, we strongly encourage you to visit our website, download myParish—a Catholic app for your phone, Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to us on YouTube.

Question

How long will we be using the new Pastoral Leadership Model?

Answer

The Jesuit community has agreed to serve St. Pat’s for one year.  At this time, we do not know what will happen in July 2016.  Until then, we are grateful to the Jesuit community of Bellarmine Prep for serving our Sacramental and Pastoral needs.  Currently there are six other parishes in the Archdiocese that are using similar Pastoral Leadership models.

Question

What is this I hear about other changes to churches in Pierce Deanery?

Answer

Due to the priest shortage in the diocese, Archbishop Sartain has started to make decisions regarding the assignment of priests to parishes throughout the deanery.  In addition to the new pastoral arrangement at St. Pat’s,  Fr. Jacob Maurer was recently re-assigned, on short notice to serve as pastor for multiple parishes in Lewis County, and Fr. Nick Wickert pastor of  Visitation was assigned as pastor for Holy Rosary and Priest Administrator for St. Joseph parishes.  That’s a big load for one pastor.

To assist Fr. Wickert with these additional communities, Archbishop Sartain has arranged for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to serve the St. Joseph community.  These priests will celebrate traditional Latin (Tridentine) masses each weekend.

Other changes are currently being evaluated by the Pierce Deanery.   A Deanery-wide meeting open to individual parishioners is scheduled for late September 2015.  Your awareness and participation in this planning process is highly encouraged.  This is your opportunity to express your views before final decisions are made.  Check the bulletin and website for details to come soon.

Question

What if I need to contact a Priest after hours for someone who is sick or dying?  Who do I call?

Answer

As in the past, call the Parish Center at 253-383-2783.  These are significant times in our personal and family life, and the parish wants to be there in your time of need.  Unfortunately, our three Parish Priests will not be as readily available as a resident Pastor would for short notice requests for a priest.  In recognition of this situation, one of our priorities is to establish a more robust Pastoral Care Ministry Group to tend to these very important needs of our parishioners.  This is an excellent example of how parishioners of St. Pat’s are able to help care for each other; by lending a hand or an open ear during another parishioner’s time of need.  If a priest is needed for anointing or confession, members of our ministry group will help make that happen.  If you are interested in serving as a member of this pastoral care team please contact the Parish Center.  We would love to see this Pastoral Care Ministry Group grow and serve the needs of our community.

Question

Who will be available for weddings and funerals?

Answer

Unbeknownst to many, Deacon Bill is empowered to preside over weddings and funerals.  The difference is that he cannot celebrate Mass as part of these ceremonies.

Fr. Jerry Graham, S.J., will be the lead Parish Priest for funerals that include a Mass.  Fr. Jerry Chapdelaine, S.J., will be the lead Parish Priest for weddings that include a Mass.

Please contact the Parish Center as soon as possible to make arrangements for a wedding or a funeral.  Since we no longer have a resident Pastor, there might be slight delay in arranging for these ceremonies for those wishing to incorporate a Mass.  We appreciate your patience and understanding and strongly encourage you to consider Deacon Bill to preside over weddings or funerals.

Question

I understand there have been some changes to the Parish Staff.  Who do I call now?

Answer

When Father Seamus retired, there was somewhat of a domino effect in the parish office. As Kevin Lovejoy’s duties changed, so did the duties of others; both at the parish and the school.

Key changes include the following:  Christy Johnson has been hired as the Parish and School Development Director, Sandra Kuharic has been hired as our Pastoral Assistant for Evangelization and Engagement (Communications); Mary Randall is now our Pastoral Assistant for Liturgy and Pastoral Care, and Kim Ward is our Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation.

At the school, Barbara Bolanos has assumed additional duties as Assistant Principal responsible for accreditation and professional development. Heather Maher is the Assistant Development Director and Communications & Marketing Coordinator.  Please check the bulletin or visit the parish and school website for details regarding other adjustments we have made at the parish and school in response to the change in our Pastoral Leadership Model.

Question

Why are the Pastoral Council and Stewardship Commission merging?

Answer

This change will promote greater transparency and more effectiveness for both groups. The role of the Pastoral Council is to help establish the mission and vision for the parish and to be the eyes and ears of the community. The Stewardship Commission focuses on parish efforts to help parishioners share their Time, Talent and Treasure in ways that enhance the overall engagement level of our community. The two groups will work in concert with each other to develop the long-range strategic plan for the parish. All parish councils, commissions and ministry groups will be asked to set goals for the coming year.

Feel free to share your questions and comments in the Glad You Asked Box in the vestibule of the Church.  You can also send us a message on Facebook or email us.