St. Mark's Review of "We Walk by Faith"
1. What programs, ministries, activities and resources does the parish offer to help enliven and deepen the faith of its members? Attendance? Frequency? Identify parish committees.
Annual Parish Retreat
Weekly Bible studies
Religious formation opportunities throughout the year
Liturgy committee sponsored formation programs throughout the year
Attendance varies by activity, from small groups to maximum Great Hall capacity of 300
2. How does the parish actively invite all its members to take part in the sacramental life of the Church?
Religious Formation is responsible for the sacramental life at St Mark through all its programs. St Mark actively invites its members to participate.
We offer Baptism, First Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, and Marriage programs. The community is invited to be part of the actual preparations. Baptism, Confirmation, First Eucharist, and Marriage are celebrated in the weekend liturgies.
3. How does the parish share its ministries and resources with other neighboring parishes?
We share with both Catholic and non-Catholic parishes in ministries such as clothing ministry, garage sales, food pantry, and Habitat for Humanity.
St Mark works with Cluster parishes to share priests for Reconciliation , Confirmation retreats, youth activities and Adult Formation.
4. Through what programs does the parish express its commitment of outreach to the poor, the sick, and the homebound, the youth and young adults, the elderly? How many parishioners are involved? Who coordinates? How successful has the faith community been in implementing these programs?
Justice and Peace Committee coordinates the food pantry (XX families serviced monthly), feed our neighbor (monthly), visits to the sick, and dinners for ill parishioners.
St Mark is a twinning partner with Maison Fortune Orphanage in Haiti. We make two mission trips a year to Haiti with about 15 participants annually Approximately 30 families make regular monthly contributions to the orphanage.
We have an active seniors group with 40 participants. We do not have an active young adult group.
We have middle school and senior high youth groups with approximately 25 youth participating. Confirmation candidates participate in community service activities.
St Mark has participated in Work Camps for the past 5 years, with an average of 36 youth and adult participants each year.
5. To what extent does the membership of this parish honestly reflect the ethnic and cultural make-up of the wider community in which it is situated? Are the traditions and practices of these cultures adequately and appropriately integrated into faith activities and sacramental preparation and particularly into liturgy and worship?
St Mark is not situated in a specific ethnic or cultural environment that requires extending resources to these groups. The membership of the parish is about 30% Filipino and their representation is high on all committees and as liturgical ministers. The pastor has met with a Filipino group to learn of ways to include their culture in the parish life of St Mark. Each year the Filipino parishioners sponsor a novena and a social activity.
The African American parishioners have not had any specific liturgical requests.
6. How are parishioners who are college students or young adults encouraged to take an active role in the various ministries of the parish? How are their talents and skills properly recognized and adequately employed for the benefit of the whole community?
The Liturgy Committee reaches out to Confirmation candidates to participate in Liturgical Ministries such as Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, and Ushers. If they attend local colleges they continue with these ministries.
7. How are former members who return to the parish and members who participate less frequently welcomed by the pastoral leaders and parishioners? Are they invited to become more active in the community?
All new and returning parishioners are welcomed to participate in the spiritual and social activities of St Mark. They are welcomed by members of Parish Council through a re-registration process and informally by parishioners. Through a coordinated stewardship program they are invited to become active members of the standing committees as well as liturgical ministers.
8. What are some of the concrete challenges to families living in the area and what is the parish doing to help families meet the challenge?
St Mark has a very robust food pantry ministry that works in conjunction with the Social Services Department of Virginia Beach to assist the needy in the local community. There is a weekly food pantry food of the week that is announced each week and is published in the bulletin. Parishioners are very supportive of the food pantry ministry.
9. To what extent does the parish actively seek out, extend an invitation to and consciously welcome into the community immigrants and people from different cultures and inactive Catholics and the unchurched?
St Mark is not situated in a community of immigrants and has not determined a need for a ministry.
We do not knowingly seek out inactive Catholics or the unchurched, however we have an active, well publicized RCIA program. The parish encourages both non-Catholics and returning Catholics to attend RCIA inquiry sessions to ask their questions about St Mark, Catholicism, or whatever they wish to ask.
10. In what ways does the parish actively engage in dialogue, joint ministry and fellowship with other Christian denominations and with congregations from other faith traditions?
St Mark has established an ecumenical relationship with local non Catholic Christian churches in the area. We have several shared spiritual services and social activities throughout the year.
11. Is the parish and its leadership well-known to the local community and recognized for its participation in various local activities? Are these leaders representative of the parish community in terms of age, race, and culture?
St Mark is not well known in the community, but our updated web-site should give us more visibility. Our community service participation through the Justice and Peace Committee makes St Mark well known by organizations that also assist the needy in our area.
Although not well known in the community, our leadership (Parish Council and committee chairs) are representative of the parish community in terms of age, race, and culture.
12. What methods does the parish use to communicate with all its members?
The primarily method is through the weekly Bulletin and announcements during Mass. We post the bulletin and other information to our newly enhanced web site.
Significant events (deaths, illnesses, tragedies, schedule changes) are communicated through various committee email and phone trees.
13. How does the faith community use media and personal contacts to identify inactive and alienated Catholics. Are settings provided in which people feel comfortable to express concerns which may keep them from participating in the church? Does the parish address these concerns? How do we warmly welcome into our parish those who take steps to return?
St Mark has no formal way to identify inactive and alienated Catholics. Individual with concerns are encouraged to speak to a member of Parish Council. A suggestion box is also available. The emails for the Pastor and the Parish Council Chair are published in the weekly bulletin.
This St Mark community believes we are welcoming to members and non-members through our liturgies. A Parish Council member is always available after mass.
The parish encourages both non-Catholics and returning Catholics to attend RCIA inquiry sessions to ask their questions about St Mark, Catholicism, or whatever they wish to ask.
14. What are some of the gifts present in the parish that the members would offer to other local churches or ecclesial communities? What are the gifts in other churches or ecclesial communities which would enrich the parishs Catholic life?
· We have a well-organized/active Justice and Peace and Faith Formation programs.
15. How does the parish recognize and support absent members of the community ie, those who are sick or serving in the armed forces or are incarcerated in local jails and prisons?
Our parish supports those who are ill or in need of food at home by providing meals and transportation as well as Communion for the Sick. Our youth group has sent personal supplies to the military. We have a list in the weekly bulletin of those requesting our prayers.
16. How might the staff of the diocesan offices assist your parish to develop programs and processes important for full implementation of the COMMUNITY dimension for WWBF?
· Sharing successful practices from other parishes and other Diocese.
Word Worship Service