Pastoral Council Minutes – September 2017

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St. Stephen the Martyr Pastoral Council


September 26, 2017


The regularly scheduled meeting of the Pastoral Council of Saint Stephen the Martyr  (“Council”) was held on September 26, 2017, at 7:00 PM, Central Daylight Time, in the Gonderinger Parish Center.


I.                    Call to Order

President Aaron Keller called the meeting to order.  Hope DeLuca, Secretary, recorded minutes of the meeting.


II.                 Roll Call

The following members of the Council were present:

  • Father Dave Belt
  • Dean Baumert
  • Katie Corrigan
  • Hope DeLuca
  • Aaron Keller
  • Mike Maier
  • Greg Weiss
  • Michael White
  • Nancy Williams



  • Deb Saraka-Rubin



III.              Opening Prayer

Mrs. Corrigan led the Council in a prayer to open the meeting.



IV.               Unfinished/Ongoing Business

Stewardship & Operations Reports

  • The Stewardship and Operations Reports were added to the unfinished business, with the thought that they will be discussed at the beginning of each meeting if need be. Reports will be sent out to the Council prior to each meeting. Father Dave hopes to add the Finance, Religious Formation and School Board reports to this list as well.




Stewardship Report


  • The Ministry Fair is coming up October 21-22nd. We won’t make any changes this year, as plans are already in place. Father Dave mentioned that St. Pat’s historically did their ministry fair in conjunction with a Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast. Tables for the various ministries were placed around the perimeter of the dining space for parishioners to take a look at. The thought was to generate a little more foot traffic for the ministry fair.


  • The Welcome Retreat, both men’s and women’s, is currently in formation. Mrs. Corrigan asked for prayers for the presenters, and parishioners that will attend the retreats. The next stage in the formation process is discerning the roles of the team members. It’s been an overall great experience so far.


  • The Parish Festival was down in numbers this year. Why was that? Can we start planning it earlier next year? Should we market it more as a celebration, than a fundraiser? Should we have parishioners send personal invitations to their families, friends, Fish groups, sports teams, etc.? What about having the theme developed and unveiled at Martyr Madness in the Spring? It might drum up some excitement, and save the date in people’s minds.


Operations Report


  • There’s been an increase of vandalism on the interior of the school building.


  • The sprinkler system at the rectory was just replaced. The rectory roof is going to be replaced due to storm damage.


  • Basketball hoops in the gym are scheduled to be fixed in October



Adoration Space – Mr. Weiss


  • The changes proposed to the adoration space were announced in the bulletin, asking for feedback. A number of parishioners responded. Many of the comments echoed the plans that were proposed.
  • A few new ideas were to add kneelers to all of the chairs. Parishioners often give up their seat if someone comes into the chapel. This is causing people to leave out of kindness for their neighbor, rather than to stay in prayer with our Lord.
  • Many people mentioned sound disturbance, with the confessionals in the same space.
  • The maintenance department asked to be involved with the changes.
  • Overall parishioners are excited and encouraged to see the potential changes.
  • On top of bulletin announcements, Mr. Weiss emailed the parishioners already signed up as adorers, through AdorationPro.
  • Father Dave would like to look at how the room can be reconfigured, and how the confessionals could be sound-proofed.
  • The budget is tight. We might look into presenting the proposed projects to the parish, and see if we could get help funding them. We will first need to come together and determine the cost of the project.
  • Weiss will work with Dcn. Marty Warwick on quotes for the project.
  • It would be great to see if we could find an architect and interior designer within the parish to look at the project. We also may have construction/skilled workers within the parish that could help.
  • Loseke at St. Charles Borromeo is excited about the possibility of partnering with St. Stephen the Martyr on perpetual adoration.


Archdiocesan Pastoral Vision Workshop


  • Father Belt, Father McKercher, Dean Baumert, Dan DeLuca, Mike Maier, Trinette Shamburg & Nancy Williams will be attending the workshop on October 2nd. The priests will stay through October 3rd. They will bring back information at the workshop to work through into the future. The initial group of five parishioners that attend the meeting will likely expand to others as a committee takes shape to help guide our parish into the years to come.


Ministry Structure


  • Keller had a conversation with a ministry head that wanted to know who their point of contact was on the Council. Their old contact person was no longer on the Council.
  • It would be good to touch base with our old assigned ministries. We could possibly mention marketing their ministry in the bulletin down the road.
  • Keller will update the previous ministry contact list with the new Council members and send out to all the Council members to contact the ministries.



V.                 Father Belt’s Report

Two Priests

  • We are now down to two priests. Fr. Hall retired. We will have two priests at least until next July, and it may be that way in the long run. We need to discern a new way of being a church. The current way isn’t working. How are we going to care for our people with two priests? Each will celebrate three Masses each on Sundays. Please continue to pray for vocations.


Updated Facilities Use Policy

  • Father Belt has been contacted by some groups about using our facilities. He found out that we are currently not following the Archdiocesan policy. We are not supposed to be allowing activities to take place on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening, so our kids and families can get a chance to go to Mass or religious education classes. This was not the case previously at St. Stephen the Martyr. This rule was first issued in 2007 by Archbishop Elden Curtiss. It was made policy in 2013 by Archbishop George Lucas. This would apply to activities like evening ball practice, and other extracurricular activities.
  • Our staff has been working on drafting an updated Facilities Use Policy. Father Belt would like the Council to review it, hopefully at the October Council meeting. He’s hoping for an approval on it at that time.



  • Father Belt has been working on getting the “Bits & Pieces” weekly email back and working. There was a naming contest for the staff, and they came up with “The Pastor’s Connection”.
  • Father has had conversations with Mr. Marble about untangling the website. Mr. Marble was told not to change anything until Father Belt had started at St. Stephen the Martyr. Now Mr. Marble has the go-ahead to being working on it. There is going to be separate webpages for the parish, school and religious education.


Board of Education

  • The Board of Education has been through a discernment process. It was established at the very beginning of St. Stephen the Martyr’s history. Most of the attention was placed on the school, and not on the religious education side. The Board of Education voted to dissolve itself. They voted to establish a School Advisory Board to focus on the elementary school and a Religious Formation Board to focus on Religious Education and Youth Ministry. Father would like 12-14 members on the Religious Formation Board. The School Board is working on writing their by-laws. They are meeting next week, and will be working on developing a school mission statement.



  • We have room to grow. Father Belt is talking with Dr. Ashton, the Archdiocesan superintendent, every couple of weeks. Father is getting great advice from him. We are sending out a climate study to stakeholders. We need to get baseline information about feelings/perceptions of the school. Once we have that, we’ll be able to see how we’ve grown in a few years. The climate study will include family, students, faculty as well as former families and faculty. Dr. Williby would like to look at the retention of students and faculty. The School Board is taking the lead on getting that information.
  • Keller added that it might be wise to include former Teacher Assistants in the climate study. They might have some good insight.
  • The administration will go through self-evaluations. The School Board will participate in evaluating the principal. Father Belt would like to see our administrators be successful in their roles.




  • Father Belt spoke with Juli Han. She mentioned that several weeks ago, she had to withhold payment of bills, because we didn’t have the money in our account. This has not happened in a number of years. Enrollment at the school is down 40 children from last year. We need to look at making responsible decisions about money. The finance council will have a first draft of the 2018/2019 budget by Christmas. Hiring should be looked at.
  • We need to look into salaries for our teachers. We also need to make pay scales where they should be. Teachers are usually given pay increases based on a grid. Our current model of pay increases does not follow a traditional grid, as it should. Base pay seems to be in line with other Catholic schools, but salary increases is not.
  • Father Belt would like to pursue reenacting our endowment, which can supplement teacher salaries. The endowment board should also be reestablished.



Job Descriptions/Reviews/Handbook

  • Father Belt is working on job descriptions, performance reviews and the employee handbook. This all needs to be approved by the Archdiocese. The structure of the staff is changing. Some individuals have been shuffled under different management.



Mass Changes

  • There have been several changes to our liturgy. The Chancery officials are making sure that we’re following the guidelines. Changes were made for the altar servers. Mr. Weiss put a video together to train the servers. The deacons and sacristans have been trained. Announcements will be moved to before Mass. The time after communion will be left for reflection and unity with the Lord.
  • Belt has asked that all parishioners kneel during the Eucharistic prayer. Those in the very back against the wall or in the gathering space should stand during this time. Those that are unable to kneel because of health problems, advanced age or holding a baby may sit. This posture is dictated by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).
  • There seems to be an overall lack of a sense for the Sacred. We will continue to look for ways to reinstill this sense in our parish.


Next Meeting

  • Father Belt invited the Council to the rectory for the October meeting. There’s a large area that would accommodate the group.


VI.               New Business

Knights of Columbus Rosary

  • The Knights of Columbus will be hosting a rosary in the Worship Space on October 13th at 7:00 pm. This is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions of Our Lady. The Knights of Columbus may be looking for individuals to lead a decade of the rosary.


Ministry Fair

  • The Ministry Fair is October 21-22nd. The Council will have a booth. There will be a Sign Up Genius for time slots to help after each Mass. It might be good to have Council members direct parishioners into the dining room for the event.
  • The stewardship talks will be taking place that weekend at all Masses.




Council Email Address

  • The Council has an email address. Mr. Keller discovered it on the parish website. It was currently not functioning. Mr. Marble was asked to take it off the parish website. We could reenact the email address, and possibly link it to our Google Drive. All Council members would then have the ability to reply to any emails that come to that address.


Council Get-Together

  • October 14th will be a social get-together for the Council. The details will be determined at a later date.




VII.            Closing

Being no other business, the Council closed the meeting with the Prayer for Vocations.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:26 pm.



Author: tmarble