Minutes of Parish Pastoral Council Meeting – January 21, 2016

Attending:  Father Yarek, Father Dennis, Dave Wilson, Leanne Plamondon, Ron Nelson, Keith Hartman, Julius Strachan, Tara Epp, Ron Schreiber

The meeting was called to order at 7:04 pm

Dave Wilson led the group in an opening prayer.

Kevin Hartman moved the adoption of the minutes from the November meeting; seconded by Father Dennis; carried.

Father Yarek provided a report on happenings in the Parish. Things are very busy with school events, baptisms, and personnel issues being particularly busy. Father requested prayers for vocations to help address these needs. Some discussion followed regarding the role of deacons and duties that they could perform. Father spoke about the need for people to come forward with their ideas and follow them through as well. As well, people need to help with existing initiatives to ensure they are successful as the introduction of too many new things can spread these giving people out too much so nothing is accomplished.

Father Dennis reported that things are going very well. However, he will be returning to India at the end of July. It is not known at this time if the Parish will be able to obtain the services of a second priest.


Stewardship Progress Update – the sign-up Sunday with the pancake breakfast was well attended. As well, after 7 pm mass, the congregation was invited to the hall for coffee and sign-up; about 30 people attended this event. This coming Sunday, there will be coffee and sign-up again with the school staff from the Centre For Learning providing the labour and goodies. Thanks was expressed to Tara for helping to organize this. A sign-up event was also held where the parents of the youth being confirmed were invited to investigate the various ministries and become more involved. After Easter, there will be a focus on the formation of Ministry Sunday Teams.

Youth Ministry Status – Maria Van Kampen has now  left. There were a number of applicants for the youth ministry position and the Youth Advisory Group short-listed them to two strong candidates. The interviews for them will be held tomorrow, January 22. The Youth Minister position to be offered will be part-time at 14 hours weekly until the end of August. At that time, the position will be re-evaluated. Father Yarek suggested that perhaps the Youth Minister could be available for some vacation fill-in time at the office over the summer holidays and this was incorporated into the interview questions for the candidates.

Update on Celebrating Year of Mercy Activities – at CTR Catholic, the schools will all have their main doors decorated and designated as “doors of mercy” serving as a reminder to staff, students, and parents. This will also be augmented with a focus on mercy-related activities in the schools. At St. James Parish, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be recited prior to mass every 3rd Sunday. At St. Michael’s in Black Diamond, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is being recited prior to mass on the first Sunday of every month. As well, their Spiritual Sub-Committee of their Mission Council yearly focuses on 3 activities – one in Lent, one in the fall season, and one in ordinary time – intended to grow the faith of parishioners. In addition to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, they have embarked on a program called “33 Days of Mercy” which focuses on the sacred heart of Christ. Council members agreed that initiatives of this sort would also work at St. James and some discussion occurred regarding the different population dynamics in the different communities and whether retirees involved in St. James might be the ones best able to lead an initiative of this sort. Tara Epp then updated the group on the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the work that it has been doing. She highlighted the formation of a youth arm of this group that includes 60 youth and the activities that this group has been involved with including the Food Bank, Inn From The Cold, Feed the Hungry, and the Mustard Seed. Father Yarek advised the council to read the Papal Bull on the Jubilee of Mercy where a large focus on social justice and forgiveness is demonstrated.


Lenten Way of the Cross Schedule – the schedule of groups hosting the meatless supper and Way of the Cross through Lent was discussed.  Couples For Christ will lead on February 12; the RCIA will provide soups and Parish Council will provide the buns/pickles/cheese for February 19; the CWL will take care of it on February 26; the Moms’ Group (along with the Boys’ and Girls’ Groups) will be responsible for March 4 where Father Yarek will preside over the Way of the Cross; the Youth Group will lead the March 11 events; and the K of C will lead on March 18. It was decided that the Way of the Cross would begin the evening events and after its completion, the supper would be held.

Holy Thursday Mass Time – This year the mass will begin at 7:00 pm (versus the 7:30 start in previous years).

40 Days March For Life – A silent vigil at the Kensington Abortion Clinic will be held on Friday, March 18 from 7 am to 7 pm. To register for a 2 hour shift, please contact Dave Wilson or email Loretta at  loretta_reid@telus.net

Year End Financial Summary – Dave Wilson provided a financial report. There are 1467 active families in the Parish of which 700 use envelopes for weekly donations. If each family were to increase their donation by $10 monthly, the revenues would increase by $60,000 which would go a substantial way to offset the operating deficit of approximately $100,000 and the building loan annual repayment of approximately $90,000. If those giving now were to increase their annual giving by a little less than a third, the increased revenues would balance all the expenses. Father pointed out that those who exceed the normal amount are critical to meeting the expense needs of the Parish. A focus on trying to meet our expense needs will be continuing. It was also pointed out that at the root of this is the Stewardship Campaign which aims to increase the time, talent, and treasure that parishioners are able to give.


Father Yarek reiterated the importance of our spiritual fight and pointed out that we need to strengthen our faith life and our prayer life. If this is done, it will be ever more evident that there are very good people here.

Leanne Plamondon reported on the Hall Stewardship Team meeting; they are discussing the rules to be followed with the use of the new hall. A few more people will be needed to properly carry out the duties and decision-making required. As well, the Kitchen and Fellowship Teams will be meeting shortly and volunteers will also be required to enable these groups to carry out their work.

Leanne also reported on the status of sacramental preparation; there will be 56 youth being confirmed by Bishop Henry on Feb. 7; reconciliation is complete already; and there are about 80 youth registered for First Communion at this point.

Ron Nelson gave an update regarding Pastoral Care in the Parish and he pointed out that, in some cases to minimize conflicts with existing lunch schedules, they deliver Communion to shut-ins on days other than Sunday. He also highlighted the fact that some of these people really prefer having the same person deliver Communion all the time as they have developed a good relationship with them.

Keith Hartman provided some updates for St.Michael’s in Black Diamond. He also reported that registration for the fund-raising “Bunko Night” in the new hall was going very well.

Julius Strachan, on behalf of Couples For Christ, reported that a new instalment of the Christian life program, Life In The Spirit, will begin March 27 for 8 Sundays. It is also presently being run in High River at St.Francis de Sales Parish throughout February. Julius also reported that the Couples For Christ choir is going along well at St.James. He then reminded the Council that the Christian life program includes a financial stewardship aspect.

Tara Epp provided a question from the CWL regarding door entry to better allow access to the kitchen for funeral preparations. She also gave an update on the St.Vincent de Paul Society which has been extremely busy throughout December. She expressed great appreciation to the Church and Staff for the help that they have provided.

Keith Hartman raised the issue of the priorities and duties of the St.James Parish Council; some discussion followed. Father Yarek put forward that the Parish Pastoral Council, made up of representatives from the various Parish ministries, has as its main role to counsel the Pastor; although parish pastoral councils are not a necessity in Canon Law, priests are encouraged to support them in their parishes. Dave Wilson said that the Parish Pastoral Council is meant to help set the direction of the entire parish and the presence of representatives from the various ministries provides input for this regarding both the direction and effect on the parish.


The next meeting will be held Thursday, March 10 at 7:00pm.


Dave led the closing prayer at 8:57pm.