Attendees – Father Yarek (Pastor), Chairman Dave Wilson (and Strengthening Our Parish Representative), Gloria Bertsch (representing CWL), Mary McGinness (representing CWL), Ron Schreiber (Secretary and representative for CRCS), Patrick Lamontagne (representing K of C), Barbara Zimmer (representing pastoral care and St. Michael’s Parish), Marlene Peterson (representing pastoral care), Sr. Lucille (youth and adult ministries coordinator), Stephanie Krueger (representing liturgy committee and Mom’s Group), Julius Strachan (member-at-large), Nikki Doyle (representing CRCS)
Dave Wilson called the meeting to order at 7:33pm.
Nikki Doyle led the group in opening prayer.
The minutes of the previous meeting held January 9, 2014 were adopted following a motion made by Sr. Lucille and seconded by Mary McGinness.
Reports from Groups and Committees
Stephanie Krueger reported on the status and activities involving the Mom’s group. They meet weekly at 10:00am on Wednesdays at the Church and babysitting is provided by students from Holy Trinity Academy. Discussion ensued regarding the possibility of the St. Luke’s Outreach Centre canvassing for student volunteers to help with the babysitting as well. Stephanie pointed out that the Mom’s group is open to attendance by mothers at any stage of their maternal journey – be it past, present, or future – and certainly fathers would be welcomed as well. The group hosts guest speakers, presentation of DVDs, and hot topic talks – in fact, Dave Wilson, as representative of “Strengthening Our Parish Community” will be presenting to the Mom’s group in the near future.
Stephanie Krueger spoke regarding the liturgy committee. Of recent note, they have been investigating the installation of a water font for the small chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is normally placed. Discussion then ensued regarding duties pertaining to this committee.
Marlene Peterson reported on the status of pastoral activities in St. James Parish. Numbers at the various homes of elderly parishioners requiring the ministration of the Holy Eucharist are rising. There is a need for more Eucharistic Ministers trained appropriately in this task so efforts will be made in this regard. Father Yarek reminded the council that the pastoral ministers should also keep track of the need of these elderly parishioners for the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick so that he can visit them when needed.
Barbara Zimmer reviewed the status of pastoral activities in St. Michael’s Parish where a number of shut-in parishioners are visited and a number of elderly are picked up to attend mass. She stressed the importance of these ministers being properly trained and discussion then followed regarding the required training and the situations in which it is a necessity. Discussion also centered around the mechanisms whereby the need for the pastoral visits is made known.
Barbara Zimmer then reported on activities at St. Michael’s Parish in Black Diamond. She advised that there is an upcoming parish council meeting there next week and then reported on the Divine Mercy Sunday Service and the Stations of the Cross Lenten Service followed by a community soup supper.
Gloria Bertsch and Mary McGinness provided a report on CWL activities. They have moved their proposed Heart And Stroke Training Session (CPR Training) to the fall; they are preparing for the Calgary Diocesan Convention which will be hosted by the CWL organizations from St. James Parish (Okotoks) and St. Frances de Sales Parish (High River) and will be held in High River from May 2 to 4; and they have changed personnel on their Funeral Committee and are looking for more help with this Committee.
Patrick Lamontagne gave a report on K of C events and activities. Their planned couples night scheduled for Feb. 22 is ready to go and sold out; the recent Padre Night evening was a great success; they have taken over the Basketball Free Throw Contest for the Diocese having completed the first level and looking forward to hosting the second, regional level; they currently host Coffee Sunday after morning mass every third Sunday monthly; and preparations are beginning for the Llama Classic Fundraiser in September.
Sr. Lucille reported that activities with the Youth Group were going well. The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation held recently (February 2) at St. James Parish went well although some concerns were expressed with the date being very early in the year; it is very likely that the date will be moved a little later in the future. As part of the confirmation process for the students, they were required to prepare a journal outlining their mass attendance prior to receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation as well as their partaking of the Sacrament of Reconciliation – this worked very well. A new program for Confirmation preparation called “Chosen” is being looked at as a possible extra resource for the preparation of youth at St. James Parish.
Regarding adult formation initiatives, a new prayer group has begun originating in the Life in the Spirit Seminar presented last fall. This local prayer group is an offshoot of the Calgary Catholic Charismatic Renewal Society and it will meet Monday evenings at 7:30pm. Discussion followed regarding the large number of activities presently happening at St. James Parish and the necessity for extra space which will be the result of the upcoming expansion of meeting rooms, offices, and a church hall. Sr. Lucille also spoke to the startup of the Lenten Stations of the Cross observance on Fridays at 7:00pm through Lent beginning with a meatless soup supper from 5:30 to 6:30pm. She invited other groups to lead the Stations of the Cross as well as provide the soup for the supper. Sr. Lucille then reported on the Parish Lenten Mission which is to be held from March 31 to April 2 featuring Fr. Gilles Leblanc whose topic will be the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Fr. Yarek requested that any meetings held during this time frame would default to become attendance at this event. Sr. Lucille relayed the news that the NET team would be unable to stay and work in Okotoks this year but they encouraged the Parish to apply for next year. Discussion then took place regarding the potential hiring of a youth minister to work with the youth of the Parish. The process to enable this was also discussed. Basically, the first step would be gaining approval from the Parish Finance Committee; the next step would be gaining approval from the Diocese to add a position to the Parish team; and the final step would be the process of advertising the position, screening, interviewing, and choosing the successful candidate. Consensus of the group was that the presence of a youth minister in the Parish would be a great asset so the process to potentially hire somebody will be initiated. Finally Sr. Lucille reported on the ongoing successful presentation of Fr. Barron’s “Catholicism” video series as part of the “Welcome Home and Catholic Refresher” program being offered in the Parish.
Nikki Doyle reported on CRCS’ Faith Days which took place February 18 and 19 beginning with an opening mass presided over by Bishop Fred Henry. The first day’s keynote speaker was Mike Patin and his topic on the occupation of a Catholic Teacher was very well received. The second day was composed of a number of small sessions led by many of our own staff that Faith Days’ participants could individually choose to attend. These were also very well received. Overall, the two days of liturgies, meals, and speakers were very successful. The staff from Clearwater Academy in Calgary, which is a private Catholic School, was also invited and was very pleased with the conference. Discussion regarding the status of Clearwater Academy in regard to their desire to become an alternative school in CRCS followed.
At this time, 8:40pm, Mary McGinness left the meeting.
Ron Schreiber reported on the upcoming Catholic Education Symposium being held in Sherwood Park on February 21 and 22. Its theme is “Growing Forward” and it is concerned with what shape publicly funded Catholic education will take in the future and what role it may play in the “new evangelization”. He also spoke about safety issues arising out of the egress of the HTA parking lot at lunch time and at the end of school. With the upcoming annexation of these lands by the Town of Okotoks and the development that would follow, it is possible that in the future, alternate ways to exit the Church and School parking lots will come into existence. Ron Schreiber also informed the Parish Council about the Ward I Committee in Okotoks and the request that a representative from Parish Council attend the meetings to provide input from the Parish. Both Dave Wilson, the Chairman of the Parish Council, and Sr. Lucille, the Youth Coordinator for the Parish, volunteered to attend the next meeting of the Ward I Committee to be held on Tuesday, April 8 from 9am to noon at the Board Office in downtown Okotoks.
Dave Wilson, speaking on behalf of the Strengthening Our Parish Community initiative reported on the status and activities involved with this initiative. Regarding the care of the elderly, there is a video about an hour long concerning this, and the prevention of elder abuse, that Dave Wilson will be presenting to the Mom’s Group on March 12. Discussion about this followed and it was decided that Parish Council should view the video as well.
Dave Wilson then requested that the group go “in camera” to discuss some confidential issues. The group came out of “in camera” and Dave Wilson provided an update on the construction project for St. James Parish. Things are progressing well and it is hoped to have the project go to tender this summer.
Discussion regarding the timing of announcements occurred. It was decided to maintain the present practice of reading announcements at the conclusion of mass just prior to the final blessing.
Dave Wilson provided copies of a job description for Parish Council members and asked the group to take a look at it and report back at next meeting regarding its accuracy and applicability. This is a part of the “Strengthening Our Parish Community” initiative.
Dave Wilson then informed the group about the regulations surrounding the operation of the “Children’s Liturgy” program during mass. A person over the age of 18 years is needed for every 8-10 children. Because of the size of the program where sometimes 50-60 children come forward, it will be necessary to recruit more adults to operate this program. As well, regarding the timing of the return of the children to the mass, it was decided that the ushers would be instructed to alert the Children’s Liturgy teachers when the appropriate time to return had come. This appropriate time is at the Offertory during the collection.
Dave Wilson introduced Julius Strachan as the Member-at-Large for the Parish Council and Dave then reviewed what this role entailed; Julius is expected to be an “ear” for the parish, bringing any concerns that he hears forward to Parish Council.
The next meeting will be held Thursday, March 27 at 7:30pm.
Fr. Yarek led the group in closing prayer. The meeting was adjourned at 9:20pm.
God bless you all.