Our Pastoral planning team just returned from two sessions designed to help us understand the results of the recent DISCIPLE MAKER INDEX survey that we participated in early in Lent. 394 individuals filled out the survey so we have a statistically significant picture of the parish. Before I begin to share the results, let me tell you a parish story that will help to explain the results.
Last night we had Mass and dinner for 21 graduating high school seniors. There was such a sense of community at the dinner. At the end, a number of our teens commented on how accepted they had felt, as well as in some cases, looking upon Joe and Daniela O’Callaghan as second parents. We had over 100 people at the dinner and you could see that we are doing a great job with our teens. When you see Joe and Daniela, congratulate them.
Just two weeks earlier, we had 45 children receive First Communion and Kathy Coyne, our DRE, did another fine job in creating a sense of community with these parish families. When you see Kathy, congratulate her as well.
As for the results, we were compared to 250 parishes around the country that have taken the survey. In two areas we ranked number three nationally. The one of which I am most pleased with was the one that ranked us in our ability to help people build their relationship with God. There we had 66% of the respondents strongly agree that the parish helps them to grow spiritually. The national average for strongly agreeing was 41% and the diocesan average 42%. That is an excellent result.
One area where we need to grow, however, is to increase the number of our people who have a personal relationship with Jesus. 23% of our people claimed to have such a relationship. The national average was 32% and the diocesan average was 31%. The national leader had an amazing 72% of respondents who would claim to have such a relationship. That is one parish I would love to visit!
Fr. Rojin will be our data master on this survey, and he will study it in depth. We will tell you more in the weeks ahead as we prepare our pastoral plan for the approval of Bishop Caggiano.