On October 29 the parish conducted a town hall meeting to engage in dialogue with parishioners about life at St. Patrick Church as it looked to find new ways to make this faith community stronger. The meeting used a seven person panel with a question and answer format moderated by Kevin Quinn, co-president of the pastoral council. The gathering was attended by about fifty people including parish staff and the Pastoral Council. The seven panelists responded to questions that pertained to Liturgy: Fr. Chris, Faith Formation: Veronica Gibbons, St. Patrick School: Mary Donohue, Finances: John Reichard, Pastoral Social Outreach: Barb Cappucci, and the mission of the parish. As most will recall, in preparation for the town hall meeting we solicited questions from the parish in the weeks leading up to October 29. About fifty questions and comments covering a wide variety of topics were received. These submissions helped the Pastoral Council to structure the meeting, and insured that the evening addressed topics of interest to the parish community.
I, as a member of the panel, opened the gathering with a prayer and brief welcome statement. Each panelist then presented a brief opening statement that addressed many of the questions and comments received in advance. The hope was that these well-prepared opening statements would be an overview of each area, address many questions submitted beforehand, lead us into discussion with those in the audience and allow us to cover as much as possible in our ninety minute session.
The dialogue throughout the evening was good as those in attendance provided a range of views on the topics that were discussed, as one would expect in a vibrant faith community. A quick review of the night led me to believe it was a success. People had the ability to render honest discussion on issues/questions that were pertinent to their presence in the parish and the audience and panel engaged respectfully whenever opposing viewpoints came forth.
As a follow-up to town hall meeting, questions and answers will be presented in the bulletin over the coming weeks and cumulatively published here.
In Christ’s Love, Fr. Bob