Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Helen Family,
Most Catholics look to their parish as their spiritual home. The parish is a center for worship and the sacraments, Christian education, pastoral care, charitable works and mission outreach. As Catholics we believe that the mission of Jesus Christ gives a parish its purpose and direction. While the mission of Christ remains at the very heart of all parishes, how that mission of Christ is lived out depends on the spiritual needs and the local demographics found in each community. Overtime parishes need to adjust their approach to ministry and pastoral care in light of the changing culture and needs of its people.
St. Helen Parish is a good example of a community that has changed over the years. With the arrival of new neighbors the makeup of the community and its relationship to St. Helen continues to change. While our Catholic faith remains the same, the way we pass it on and apply it to our lives continues to change. The right question to ask is: “How can we effectively further the mission of Jesus in this time and place?”
Throughout the Archdiocese we recognize how the fast pace of change is affecting our Catholic lives and parish communities. One of the ways the Archdiocese of Chicago is addressing these changing dynamics is through a special initiative called Parish Transformation. Parish Transformation is a twelve week process of spiritual renewal that gives each parish an opportunity to take a close look at its current life and practices, to study the surrounding demographics, and engage in a prayerful discernment of the human and spiritual needs of the community. After a thoughtful review, each parish then strategizes for the future. How can we be more effective in spreading the joy of the Gospel? How can our parish community be more vibrant and alive by participating in Christ’s mission today? What needs to change? How can we respond with faith and imagination to the questions and issues we face in contemporary society?
I am happy to announce that we are starting Parish Transformation process of St. Helen for the next twelve weeks, on Wednesdays, at 7:00 pm, in the Bingo Hall at School. Every parish in the Archdiocese will eventually participate in Parish Transformation. But in order for Parish Transformation to be effective, I need your help. I have some ideas about what directions we can move, but I don’t have all the answers or ideas. The Holy Spirit works through all of the baptized and so we need your input, your observations, your dreams and visions for how we can renew our parish for the future.
Over the course of 12 weeks we will have the advantage of an experienced facilitator provided by the Archdiocese to help us step back and look at all the dimensions of our life as St. Helen parish. This will be like a prayerful retreat, a time of spiritual formation and catechesis, a time for building a stronger community spirit, a time to dream about the future. In the end we will outline a strategy for the months and years ahead and the steps we will need to take to realize our hopes and dreams.
We need all of you to participate in the Parish Transformation process. You don’t have to have any special church experience nor do you have to be involved currently in parish ministries or organizations.
The first meeting will be on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, at 7:00 PM, in the Bingo Hall at School. I hope you will consider participating in the process. This is an exciting time for St. Helen and it will be a rewarding experience for everyone who chooses to participate. Please take that extra step as a Parishioner and Friend of St. Helen and join us on September 9, 2015, so you can learn more about the Parish Transformation process.
I ask each of you for a daily prayer for a fruitful Parish Transformation process of St. Helen.
GOD BLESS US ALL!
Rev. Franciszek Florczyk
Notes from Parish Transformation Meeting nr 2 – September 16th, 2015
Parish Transformation Meetings 3 – September 23rd, 2015
Parish Transformation Meetings 4 – September 30th, 2015
Parish Transformation Meeting 5 – October 7th, 2015
Parish Transformation Meeting 6 – October 14th, 2015
Parish Transformation Meeting 7 – October 21st, 2015