Fabulous February Fare
Don’t just sit there twiddling your spiritual thumbs waiting for our Lenten programs to begin – Ash Wednesday won’t arrive until March 2! Apropos of Black History Month, the Jesuits in St. Louis are sponsoring a series of three webinars on Wednesday evenings during February on “Ignatian Spirituality and Antiracism.” The presenters look to be top-notch. See the notice elsewhere in this eNews for information and registration (free).
You may recall that back in the “B.C.” era (Before Covid), the parish had undertaken surveys, listening sessions, and focus groups to make a complete update of our strategic plan. We were already well along in our efforts when the Archdiocese asked each parish to develop a Mission Strategic Plan, and our Jesuit Province (to which our parish is an accountable ministry) asked us to complete a Parish Examen, a self-assessment of the Ignatian/Jesuit character and effectiveness of our parish. Although the pandemic severely disrupted all these processes, our devoted Parish Council has been quietly at work over recent months to digest all the gathered input in the light of current conditions and has now completed the Jesuit Parish Examen. The results will first be committed to writing and then communicated to the parish as well as to our Jesuit Provincial Superior over the next few months. The results of this process of Ignatian reflection, discernment, and planning provide exciting directions and compelling goals for the mission of the parish members, committees and staff for the coming years.
I would like to introduce another recent planning effort in our parish. Working together with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, I have developed some planning goals for the Committee in its service to the life of our parish community. The scope of the committee is broad and concerns issues of race and ethnicity, interfaith relations, gender and orientation, and the differently-abled. They have already begun and will continue to build collaboration with their counterparts at Gesu Parish whenever possible. I imagine that many parishioners aren’t even aware that this committee exists – so one of its first principles is to increase engagement with the committee. Consider the five areas I’ve outlined for our efforts, listed below from the easier to the more challenging. If you’re interested, please email us (here)!
- Website and communications. Improve diversity and inclusion on our digital media.
- Hiring Protocols. Develop steps to take when hiring to ensure a diverse pool of applicants and equitable interviewing and hiring decisions.
- Parish Committees and Ministries. When the pandemic wanes and parish groups begin functioning again, the committee will make efforts to recruit more diverse representation in these groups.
- Parish Programs, Events, and Education: Formation about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Over time, developing formative programs and events would be the main work of the committee; it touches on the heart of our mission of providing for our ongoing spiritual formation as followers of Jesus.
- Inviting people to join our parish. This includes reaching out to any who may have left because of a negative experience at an earlier period in the parish, but more especially developing strategies for inviting new people to join us, such as building connections to the alumni of the Jesuit schools.