Archive for June, 2006|Monthly archive page

Historical Recap – Part 7

The Steubenville Task Force’s research was not all numbers. Much of the research came from interviews. At one point, each pastor was interviewed and asked very specific questions about his parish’s baptismal preparation program, parish school or religion (CCD), adult education, etc. What we found was that individual parishes were able to do some of these programs better than others.

The Task Force’s conclusion was that if the parishes in the City of Steubenville were to combine their resources we could do all of these programs better. Our decision was that all sacramental, RCIA, social outreach, family and catechetical programs would be done in common across the city. That very thing is beginning to happen today with such things as Samaritan House, RCIA and parish school of religion. They will all be in common a year from now.

Fr. McGuire


Historical Recap – Part 6

Numbers, numbers, numbers! By the end of summer 2004, the Steubenville Task Force had gathered a huge amount of data. In order to look at trends we decided to compare the year 1952 with 2002. (Remember, this is just a sampling of a huge amount of data. Also, remember that in 1952, Holy Family, Servants and St. Pius X did not exist.)

We looked at growth or loss in the number of individuals registered at each parish. This is what it looked like from 1952 to 2002:

  • Holy Name down 81%
  • Holy Rosary up 93%
  • St. Anthony down 77%
  • St. Peters down 63%
  • St. Stanislaus down 87%

One good forecast of the future is the number of Baptisms. Again we compared 1952 to 2002:

  • Holy Name: 130, down to 1
  • Holy Rosary: 31, down to 26
  • St. Anthony: 123, down to 7
  • St. Peter: 108, down to 19
  • St. Stanislaus: 36, down to 0

We all took a nervous gasp of breath.

Fr. McGuire

Historical Recap – Part 5

During the summer of 2003 the Task Force went to work. A steering committee was formed to set out how we would proceed. We formed ourselves into six committees: liturgy, education and formation, family life and pastoral ministry, social justice and ecumenical, new evangelization. Each committee was to spend the summer gathering information – huge amounts of information about programs, personnel and facilities. Some examples of the information we sought include:

  • evaluations of each building’s condition
  • capacities of churches and schools
  • numbers attending Mass
  • numbers of deaths vs. baptisms
  • sacramental preparation programs
  • ecumenical involvement
  • social ministries
  • numbers of students in our schools and their budgets
  • numbers of parish employees
  • and more.

Next week I’ll give you some examples of the information these committees put together.

Fr. McGuire

Historical Recap – Part 4

Each member of the Task Force was given a copy of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, for the Closing of the Jubilee of the Year 2000 (see Perhaps the key statement in this document by our late Holy Father was:

From the beginning of my pontificate, my thoughts had been on the Holy Year 2000 as an important appointment. I thought of its celebration as a providential opportunity during which the church, 35 years after the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, would examine how far she had renewed herself in order to be able to take up her evangelizing mission with fresh enthusiasm.

The Task Force’s top priority became, not the status quo, but the mission of evangelization.

Fr. McGuire

Historical Recap – Part 3

By the end of the first meeting of the Task Force (5/29/03), we were ready to start in earnest. However, the bishop had just one more point to make: we must pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, remain hopeful and be of generous heart. He quoted Pope John Paul II:

Let us go forward in hope! A new millennium is opening before the Church like a vast ocean upon which we shall venture, relying on the help of Christ. The Son of God, who became incarnate two thousand years ago out of love for humanity, is at work even today: we need discerning eyes to see this and, above all, a generous heart to become the instruments of his work. (Novo Millennio Ineunte)

And, when we finished our work two years later, we believe we had discerned the will of God and responded with a generous heart.

Fr. McGuire