“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” (John 10:14)
These words spoken by Jesus are an ideal toward which all pastors aspire. Being known is a basic human need. Pastors and parishioners get to know each other primarily by celebrating weekly Eucharistic liturgies together. Spending time together in the context of Mass is the foundation for Christian community and it is the way pastors and parishioners build the bonds of Christian friendship.
A unique challenge is emerging in 21st century Catholicism in Youngstown. There has been an acceleration in the decline of the number of priests available to serve as pastors in parishes. The most recent effort to address this crisis is the assignment of lay Parish Leaders. Upon the retirement of Fr. Ken Miller as Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Austintown, Anthony Kobak was assigned as the Parish Leader in the summer of 2017. Fr. Gregory Fedor was named Canonical Pastor with two additional priests assigned to assist as Sacramental Ministers. Between September and December of 2017, other priests in addition to the Canonical Pastor and the Sacramental Ministers were needed to cover the weekend liturgy schedule.
Some Immaculate Heart of Mary parishioners expressed their concern about the inconsistent presence of priests at weekend liturgies. Parishioners were not feeling known; rather, they were feeling forgotten.
Due to scheduling challenges and the need for a healthy relationship between the priest and the people, it has become clear that there is a need for a Mass schedule change to allow the Pastor to be more present to his people.
The schedule change will take effect July 1, 2018
The Project Team
Fr. Fedor appointed Jim Merhaut, Ministry Consultant of Coaching to Connect, to lead a team of parishioners from both parishes to plan for the Mass schedule change. The team consists of Peggy Bennett (IHM), Tom McGahagan (IHM), Mike Metzinger (St. Joseph), and Susan Paczak (St. Joseph). IHM team members were appointed by Anthony Kobak. St. Jospeh team members were appointed by Fr. Fedor.
The Project Goal
The goal of the project is to facilitate vibrant Catholic worship and healthy spiritual formation through weekly Eucharistic Liturgy celebrated by the Pastor and the parishioners.
Fedor wants to hear from you before he decides how to adjust the Mass schedule. We understand how important Mass is in the faith lives of Catholics. There really is nothing more important, so we want to make our adjustments to the schedule carefully. So far, we’ve listened to other parishes who have done this in the past, we’ve been observing other parishes who are in the same process we are in, and we’ve listened to the diocesan offices guiding this process. Now we’re ready for the most important listening: listening to you.
We’ve developed an anonymous survey that will keep open until Sunday, March 25th. There is also a paper version available in the church office and after weekend Masses until March 25th. The digital survey allows only one survey per device, so if you have more than one family members wanting to take the survey online, they will have to do it on separate devices. The survey is accessible on computers, digital notebooks or iPads, and cell phones. If you have more people than devices, someone will have to use the paper survey at church.
The survey is designed to take less than 5 minutes of your time. Thank you for sharing your very important opinion with us!
Click on the red button at the top or bottom of this page to take the survey.