Survey results are in!

fish fryThe survey responses have been compiled and the complete results may be viewed HERE.

SUMMARY: The bulletin continues to be the primary source of information about the parish and most people feel they receive information in a timely manner. The International Food Festival, Fish Fry and the Guadalupe Party are the most popular events held here at St. Mary. Adult education appears to be satisfactory to the parish with room for additional classes.

The survey responses about youth involvement in the parish was positive except in community outreach. The parish expressed a desire to support this ministry and the children can be a part of the effort. Many ideas were offered for community outreach and interest expressed in joining existing outreach ministries and resurrecting defunct outreach programs.

The one area identified as an area in need of work in the English-speaking community was opportunities to socialize. The Hispanic community did not find this to be an issue as they often work together to organize events. More events can be arranged with cooperation from our parish family.

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Mission Statement

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St. Mary Help of Christians parishioners seek to model their lives after Jesus Christ, who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Spirit, in the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacraments, helps them to live in accordance with God’s will, to share the Gospel, and to serve others in the parish and the community.

Pastor’s Vision Statement

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“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  Or what can one give in exchange for his life?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory and repay everyone according to his conduct” (Mt 16:24-27).

  1. Mary Help of Christians Parish, in Cleveland County, North Carolina, is called to live out these words of Christ. Every baptized Christian has a vocation to become holy, so he can experience eternal life with God in heaven one day. Parish life should encourage everyone to work toward this goal in faith and love. All parishioners should celebrate the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist on Sunday. People who no longer come to church should not be forgotten. They should be invited to return to the parish.  Everyone should be encouraged to participate in the various apostolates and ministries that are a part of parish life—especially spiritual activities like daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, novenas, retreats and to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
  1. The first words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of St. Mark are: “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). The disturbing trends of the present culture are leading to a growing religious indifference and secularism particularly among the “millennial” generation. Many young people who have been confirmed no longer attend Mass on Sundays.  The parish must provide opportunities for youth and young adults to grow in their knowledge and love of Christ. The parish also needs to actively reach out to those young people who no longer come to church.
  1. Pope Saint John Paul II also spoke repeatedly about the increasing number of violations to the dignity of each human person in today’s culture–abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking and slavery, pornography, teen suicide, materialism and rampant consumerism. Parishioners should be informed about these threats to each person’s dignity and be encouraged to witness to the beauty of all human life. The parish needs to offer opportunities to for people to learn more about these issues because there so much misinformation in the media today.
  1. The 20th century was the most violent time in the history of mankind. This trend is continuing. Parishioners need to respond to this increased violence with acts of love. They should be encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to serve others in the parish and the community. In the words of St. Mother Theresa, “”We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
  1. Prior to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, he prayed for the future Church and promised to send the gift of the Holy Spirit: “When He comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth” (John 17:13). Each parishioner is called to share the Gospel through what Pope Saint John Paul II called the “New Evangelization.”  Evangelization includes those who have not heard the Gospel and those Catholics who need to hear it in a new way.  This task will not be accomplished by any one particular “group” in the parish. Parish unity means unity in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. It does not mean uniformity in culture, language, or in ways of praying. The local population speaks both English and Spanish.   Evangelization should respect the culture and language of each person.
  1. Jesus Christ told his Apostles: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Therefore, what God has joined together, let no human being separate” (Mt 19:6). Faithful couples who are living out their marriage vows should be recognized and supported. Parishioners are called to witness to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony that is a life-long exclusive union between a man and a woman.  Opportunities to grow in the graces that Jesus provides in the sacrament (retreats, talks, prayer time) should encouraged.  The Good News of the Church’s teaching on matrimony and sexuality should be communicated joyfully and frequently to the youth of the parish who are being bombarded by contrary messages and examples.

December 5, 2017

Parish Survey

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An important part of the Five-Year Pastoral Plan is a survey for registered parishioners age 16 and older.  If you have not already completed the brief survey it will be available at Masses the weekend of December 9-10. If you will be out of town the survey will be available to fill out at the parish office the week of Monday-Thursday, December 18-21, during normal office hours.  You may also click the Parish Survey link below, print the survey, and return it to the church or parish office before December 21.

Parish Survey 2017 FINAL

November 13, 2017

Register in the Parish

sandamianocrossAn important part of the Pastoral Plan is gathering an accurate census of parishioners.

If you have not registered in the parish please take a few moments to fill out the basic registration.

You can also use this form to update an existing registration.

 

October 29, 2017

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“From the Pastor” Parish Bulletin Article 10/29/2017

Pastoral Plan—Always Forward

The theme of the five-year parish Pastoral Plan is “Always Forward.” “Always forward” was the motto of Saint Junípero Serra. Junípero was born Miguel Serra on the Spanish island of Mallorca in 1717. At the age of 17 he entered the Franciscan order he took the name Junípero after Brother Junípero–one of one of earliest followers of St. Francis. (The name Junipero refers to a little juniper tree.)

Junípero spent most of his time in the classroom as a student and a professor. But at the age of 35 he made the dramatic decision say goodbye to his family and island home to become a missionary in New Spain. After a long journey across the ocean he arrived at Veracruz, in New Spain (now Mexico). He walked the 250 miles to Mexico City instead of riding a mule. On the way he was bit by an insect that caused a wound which made it difficult to walk for the rest of his life. For the next 18 years he worked with the indigenous people of the Serra Gorda in central Mexico and later in Baja California. His compassion and love for the native peoples was universally recognized.

Around this time, there was a fear that the Russians would invade what was then known as Alta California from their base in Alaska. The Spanish King Charles III ordered an expedition to this remote land to claim it for Spain. The military governor persuaded Junípero and a small group of Franciscan friars to join him on the 900-mile-long journey to establish missions in various places. The first mission founded by Junípero was San Diego in 1769. Other missions followed in quick succession: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death.

Junípero fought for the rights of the Indigenous people. On one occasion he asked the military commander to extend mercy to an Indian that had murdered one of the friars. His work with the Indians of California culminated in the famous government “Regulation” that guaranteed protection for the Indians and the missions. This regulation was the first significant “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans.

Junípero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death. Through it all, his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. The length of his travels was the equivalent to circling the earth. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel. Pope Francis canonized him in Washington, D.C., on September 23, 2015. His statue represents the State of California in the Hall of Statuary on Capitol Hill in Washington.

“Always forward” was Serra’s motto. The love of Jesus should motivate our parish family to move “always forward” to spread His light into our families and community. God bless you this week as you “go forward” in Christ.

—Fr. Kottar

 

October 22, 2017

“From the Pastor” Parish Bulletin Article 10/22/2017

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On July 11, 1937, the little stone church St. Mary Help of Christians on Beaumonde Avenue in Shelby was blessed for a small group of Catholics.  Eighty years later, many things have changed but the proclamation of Jesus Christ has remained a constant.

In 2001 the parish undertook a ‘Pastoral Plan’ to examine future needs for the following three years. It was completed in the fall of 2002 and approved by the Diocese of Charlotte in 2003.

The 21st century has brought a lot of changes to the parish and once again it is time to thoughtfully plan for the next 5 years. I asked the Pastoral Council in the Spring of 2017 to consider undertaking another Pastoral Plan for St. Mary which would include Christ the King.  The Council agreed and the Vicar General, Msgr. Mauricio West, gave his approval to start the process. Since then, the Pastoral Council has been working hard. The plan will be concluded and submitted to the Diocese for approval in the Spring of 2018.

At this point in the process, I want to inform you of the following:

  1. Communication: A complete journal of this process can be found on the WordPress blog https://SaintMaryShelby.wordpress.com.  For your convenience, you can also access this blog via the parish website SaintMaryShelby.org. I will also give shorter updates via the parish bulletins in both English and Spanish.
  2. Census: An important part of the plan will be updating the parish census.  Please let the parish office know of any changes of address, email, phone, or the number of persons who are in your family home.  If you have not registered, forms are available in the church. You may also stop by the parish during office hours to register.
  3. Pastoral Council: The Pastoral Council is an advisory council for the Pastor. The constitution as well as the approved minutes of each meeting can be found on the parish website.  (See list of Pastoral Council members at www.SaintMaryShelby.org/pastoral-council.)
  4. Parish Commissions: Diocesan policy is to have Parish Commissions to help organize parish life. The commissions have been reorganized and revitalized. Thank you to our volunteers who agreed to head each one.  (See list of Commissions and Heads at www.SaintMaryShelby.org/pastoral-council.)

St. Mary’s is a vibrant and active parish.  Just last weekend we celebrated our 2nd Annual International Food Festival. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk with so many of our parishioners who gathered to celebrate the unity and cultural diversity of our parish. I am proud to say that we are truly “catholic.”  We are the most culturally and ethnically diverse parish in Cleveland County. That is something to be proud of!

It is my hope that the new Pastoral Plan will revitalize and develop new ministries to help us serve God and our neighbor even better.  Stay tuned for more details as we continue this process.

—Fr. Kottar