LESS IS MORE!

LESS IS MORE!

LESS IS MORE!

Last week a friend shared with me that earlier in the month he had a discussion with a few other men and some were lamenting the fact that they had 4 or 5 different Advent daily reflections being delivered to their email inbox.  Some were overwhelmed and felt like “failures” because they couldn’t get all of them read each day.  Too much of a good thing had quickly turned into a bad thing.

The solution?  “Just do 1 reflection and do it well!  Hit the delete button on the other four and don’t feel guilty about it,” my friend advised.

This is such a common problem in our culture.  We swim in the message that “more is better” and we believe it.  Very soon we are drowning in too many good options, ideas, programs and activities.  The good things we are trying to do to draw closer to the Lord or serve His mission become a source of stress and simply add to an already over-filled calendar. 

The Lord is inviting us to unclutter our hearts and find silence and instead we are drawn into even more frenzied activity. As I visit with parish leaders, I see this same thing happening within parishes and in our ministries as well.   Many people feel overwhelmed with too much to do already and feel pressured to take on more projects and tasks at every turn.

I don’t believe the Lord intends our service to His mission to foster this lack of peace and I am hopeful that the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish can assist parishes in fighting this tendency.  

The Characteristics can provide a framework that encourages strategic planning, team building and communication.  These tools can help clarify our mission, discern priorities and let go of programs and tasks that are not fruitful.  They can help build a more positive and collaborative culture within the parish that energizes those who participate in its ministry.  The Characteristics can also provide standards that help us all strive for excellence and keep our focus on the New Evangelization.  These tools used by those whose lives are firmly rooted in prayer can be very fruitful.

In those parishes where ministry seems to be vibrant and parish leaders remain energized and positive, I see leaders who have taken the approach of taking on one or two things at a time and doing them well.  

Faithful but small steps taken day after day cover a large amount of ground in the long run.  I have also observed them planning well so their direction is clear, and they aren’t tempted to get off track by the newest fad or trend.  They have structures in place and culture which encourages them to keep reminding each other of the goals they have set and primary reason they are there. They strive to be encouraging and inspirational and to pray and work for the perseverance to keep going; knowing that it isn’t about programs, it is about a Catholic Way of Life.  I am looking forward to working alongside parishes and celebrating the successes along the way in 2019! 

Merry Christmas! 

 

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

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VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

Tidbits from the Regional Stewardship Conference (July 2018)

Tidbits from the Regional Stewardship Conference (July 2018)

 

Last week I attended the Regional Stewardship Conference in Sioux Falls with over 200 others from Minnesota, North and South Dakota.  We were warmly welcomed by the staff of the Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota and the Parish of St. Michael’s.  I wanted to share some of the highlights of the conference with you

Keynotes:

The keynote addresses were live-streamed on Facebook.  You can access and watch them here:

Posted by Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota on Friday, July 27, 2018

In the first keynote,  the Most Reverend Robert F. Morneau shared five convictions regarding Stewardship.  He broke open the statement:  “Stewardship is to receive God’s gifts gratefully, to nurture and tend God’s gifts responsibly, to share them justly and charitably and to return God’s gifts abundantly.    Bishop Morneau has been writing and speaking about Stewardship for many years.

The second keynote given by the Most Reverend Donald Kettler, Bishop of St. Cloud Minnesota, focused on nurturing Stewardship in a small, rural parish or ministry – a topic which seems particularly useful in our Diocese.

Breakout Sessions:

The conference also offered 12 breakout sessions split into three sessions.

I enjoyed the opportunity to hear Dr. Chris Burgwald, Director of Adult Discipleship and  Evangelization for the Diocese of Sioux Falls speak on the importance of prayer.  He said, “If stewardship is the response of a disciple, what does it mean to be a  disciple?  It means to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, and the name of that relationship is prayer.”

Dr. Burgwald is a wise and delightful speaker and gave us many practical insights into persevering in prayer.  In the Catechism, the Church quotes St. Therese, “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”  (CCC2558) Dr. Burgwald witnessed to the transformative power of developing a habit of gazing at God when speaking of this quote.

When we remember to keep the eye of our mind and heart fixed on Jesus, it transforms our prayer.  Then we begin to intentionally dialogue with a person.  This deepens our conversation and assists us in developing the habit of listening to God and not falling into a pattern of doing all the talking.

I also enjoyed the presentation by Darryl Dziedzic, a Youth Minister from Altomonte Springs, FL.  Darryl shared his own story, growing up Catholic, spending some time discerning the priesthood, eventually leaving seminary, marrying and his career as a teacher and youth minister.  Darryl had good advice on how best to engage millennials and was a delight to listen to.

One interesting note:  Although Social Media plays a very important part in the life of a young person in our culture, a ministry’s presence there only becomes effective after engaging that young person in a face-to-face encounter.  Once the young person knows you, knows that you have a genuine interest in their well-being, then and only then, does a connection on social media with you become important to them.

Please keep in mind that this regional conference is held every year somewhere in Region VIII.  It is a good opportunity to learn more about Stewardship and how it can be lived out in the parish.  As
information becomes available about it, I will pass it on.

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

Inspiring through Communication

Inspiring through Communication

A couple of months ago, a friend shared with me some examples of church “stewardship” or “annual” reports.  Most of them came from churches in the Protestant tradition.  In sharing these with me, she
commented,  “These reports are exciting.  They are motivational; they are inspiring!  I mean, when I look at these I want to be a part of their mission.  They are making a difference in the world; their efforts and their money are making a huge difference!  We all want to be a part of something that makes a difference.”  I wholeheartedly agree with her.  We all want to make a positive difference and humans have a desire to be a part of something larger than themselves.  

I have had the privilege of being a part of projects and programs that were successful.  The sure knowledge of the good that you were a part of was contagious and motivating. I have also had other experiences where I felt like I was being asked to climb aboard a ship that was wandering aimlessly in the water.  Or worse yet, being asked to climb aboard a sinking ship.  Sometimes, these impressions
weren’t even accurate.  But those already involved either failed to communicate the mission and its purpose or they had become discouraged and disheartened and communicated that to others. 

As Christians we know that this human desire to do good and to be part of something larger is rooted in being created by Love, out of love and for Love.  It is the voice of the Lord beckoning to us and to be a part of His mission. 

Although I agree with my friend, I am also challenged by her words and the samples she shared with me.  And not because I don’t think our parishes are doing wonderful things. But producing a document like this takes skill and a great deal of data collection and tracking.  It takes some savvy marketing skills.  Even so,  I think it is worth thinking about and considering.  These are some of the questions these reports raised in me:

  • When we communicate with our parishioners, what message are we sending?  What is the overall impression they are left with?  The feelings our communications invoke?
  • And how often and what kind of information do we communicate?  Are many unaware of all that our parish does?  Do we tell the stories of how our parish impacts the lives of people?
  • Do our parishioners know the GOOD NEWS of what is happening in our parish?
  • Are they inspired?  Do they believe that by contributing to the life of the parish, they are making a difference in the world? 

Take a look around at some saavy annual reports and allow yourself to be challenged and inspired by the principle and the possibilities.  What might God be asking of us? How can share the Good News of our parish with others?

I am grateful for all the good things I see happening in Western South Dakota.  God is Good!

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

Stewardship Parishes Communicate Well

Yesterday, I came across a video of Fr. Adam Hofer, the Parochial Vicar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rapid City on Facebook.  Fr. Hofer is sitting around the manger scene inviting and welcoming people to participate in the Christmas Masses at Blessed Sacrament. He has a warm and joyful disposition about him as he invites people to gather around the Manger to welcome Emmanuel into their lives, families and world. It is a short 47-second video with a simple greeting of welcoming parishioners, guests and really all to Blessed Sacrament Parish for the Christmas Masses.  Check it out. Well done Fr. Hofer!  http://blessedsacramentchurch.org

I also noticed this post on Facebook this week: “Blessed Sacrament Church. St. Thomas More Students did an excellent job in decorating the parish hall for Christmas Eve. Thank you.” (8 pictures included in post.)

Posted on Instagram:  “Father Dillion took kids out caroling on a hayride, met with first communicants, and ended the night with adoration, a lesson on Lectio Divina, and confession (almost 2 hours). Great night in Bonesteel!”

The St. Francis Christmas play in Sturgis is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaintFrancisSturgis

Benedictine College posted a beautiful video for Christmas of a live nativity scene and Sr. Joan Kolbe Kjerstad plays the role of Mary:  https://www.thegregorian.org/2017/watch-benedictine-college-shares-evocative-nativity-story

As parishes work through the process of becoming a stewardship parish, the first phase or tier is to become a Foundational Parish.  One of the characteristics of a foundational Parish is: “Our parishes use a variety of communication methods that are useful and effective for the unique culture of the parish.”

The use of parish webpages and social media for your parishes can be a great way to form your parishioners in the faith and to attract new ones or those who have left the faith for a time, encouraging them to come back.

            As our Office of Stewardship visits with pastors and stewardship committees about becoming stewardship parishes, we encourage parishes to have to have current and up-to-date webpages. Here are some webpages that we think are pretty good:

www.olgcparish.net

www.stthomasmore.org

www.saintbenedict.ca

www.cathedralparish.com

www.blessedsacramentchurch.org

www.gods-call.org

            Thinking about all of this week after seeing Blessed Sacrament Rapid City, Immaculate Conception in Bonesteel, in St. Francis in Sturgis on Facebook and Instagram I came across 19 reasons* you should include visual content in your marketing. Here are a few that I think apply to the marketing we do and evangelization in our parishes and diocese.

1) 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and the Zabisco

2) 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco

3) Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source: AnsonAlex

4) Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz

5) Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured

6) Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. (Source: Shareaholic

7) 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females. (Sources: comScore and Nielsen

8) Over 60 hours of videos are uploaded each minute on YouTube.com. (Source: YouTube

9) 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. (Source: YouTube

10) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa

11) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos

*19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing. Written by Amanda Sibley @AmandaSibley

Parish App. Got one?


Several weeks ago, I stopped by the Cathedral office for a moment to see if Fr. Steve was in. The next thing I knew I was surrounded by three of the Cathedral staff who were so excited to share with me the new app for smartphones for their parish. They had me download the app right
there on the spot. I think it took me less than a minute or so to download the app for their parish and it’s pretty cool. There is lot of good information regarding the life of the Cathedral parish now available at our fingertips.

Technology is simply amazing. It can be a great tool to stay connected with the parish community as well as a tool for evangelization. More and more parishes around the country are embracing technology such as apps for smart phones as way to stay connected with their parishioners
Give the Cathedral app a try. It’s free! It is available for Apple and Android products. Just go to the App Store or Google Play Store and search for: Cathedral OLPH Rapid City.

The Cathedral app helps parishioners to stay connected with all Cathedral events, announcements, alerts, and much more! You can join a parish group which allows one to stay connected with a ministry such as Liturgy, Music, Formation, GOF, First Communion, Health Care, and Confirmation. The Cathedral app also connects one with links to the Daily Readings, Family Living, prayers, and even a daily reflection by Pope Francis. I encourage you to download the Cathedral app on your smart phone today and give it a test drive, perhaps it will inspire an app for your own parish.

Fr. Mark’s Musings