Ministry
Action Team

Vision Statement

We live the Gospel through enhancing and expanding our ministries to all of God’s creation – to our parish community, to our local and global communities, and the earth. As a stewardship community, called to charity and justice, we respond to the evolving needs for social justice, education, faith formation, the environment, generational needs and worship.

Update

The Ministry Team has been working on a forum to provide presentations on some of the good work which has been going on within our parish and wider community — named "The Gospel in Action." They've created an opportunity not only to hear about the work, but also to engage people in a way that connects us to these good works or agencies. The first such opportunity will take place at the Masses on the weekend of Oct. 8-9. The team is also considering work on other ministry initiatives.

The Gospel in Action
Receiving and Assisting the Word of the Gospel in Action

We're invited to dream, explore and become ... together.

We've listened to you. In last year's Parish Survey, our parishioners spoke loudly and clearly about their vision for our parish's future and ministries. Our highest-ranked future vision matched our present perception, and a consistent identity emerged of who we are: A parish that is welcoming, charitable, and empowered to live the Gospel. While we showed support for many ministries, the Top 5 areas of highest interest suggested a methodology for the Ministries Action Team to:

  • Focus action on the areas of Poverty & Hunger, Homelessness and Social Justice, and
  • Apply this action in ways that enhances personal Spiritual Enrichment, while increasing our sense of Community.

With this in mind, a program was created to inform and inspire parish members about local ministries that demonstrate the "Gospel in Action" today, and to also provide a easy means to assist in ministries with time, talent, treasure and prayer. This has been put together by the Ministries Action Team, and the local ministry was selected by our Parish Council.

The program's intent is to benefit and connect three constituencies: The organization itself, the people and community it serves, and the people and community of our parish. The idea is simple:

  1. We've invited a representative of a non-profit charity organization to speak at OMGC Masses on Sunday about its mission.
  2. The Team will host a coffee & donuts reception after Mass to meet the speaker and learn more about the non-profit.
  3. Free-will donations will be accepted in special collection boxes at the back of church for the next four Sundays.
  4. Literature about the organization's mission and ways to help with time, talent and prayer will be displayed as well.
Dawn’s Place

A Ministry to Trafficked Persons and An Expression of Holy Daring

As the Ministry Action Team brings before the parish community the mininstries that confront the reality of Human Trafficking, it is helpful to explore the issues relating to a ministry to such persons. It is reported that 12.3 million adults and children were trafficked in 2010 for the purpose of commercial sex work or forced labor. Eighty percent of the victims are female and 50% of these are minors. The perpetrators of this evil have made billions. After drugs, Human Trafficking is the second most lucrative criminal activity and the U.S. is a major receiver of trafficked persons. Close to 18,000 are trafficked into the U. S. every year. This does not account for the numbers within our borders who are usually forced into prostitution or pornography by physical or verbal force. The above are facts and figures but the trafficked have names and stories to tell. Whether enslaved for labor or sex work, (often it is a combination of both), these, our sisters and brothers are a reminder that the eradication of slavery is a yet unfinished business.

In the early 90's, Catholic Nuns, all over the world, were encountering and becoming increasingly concerned about, what they believed, was a growing reality, i.e. Human Trafficking. The U. S. government was also becoming aware and in 2000 established the Trafficked Victims Protection Act. In the Philadelphia area, a coalition of Catholic Sisters determined to do something about the issue and in 2004 sponsored a conference on human trafficking held in Philadelphia. Over 200 attended this conference and representatives from various social service and criminal justice entities were present. It was through this conference that the Philadelphia Anti-trafficking Coalition emerged. During the early days of the Anti-trafficking Coalition, a member of the Sisters Coalition and the Philadelphia Defenders Association began discussions regarding the feasibility of providing a residential program for women who have been trafficked across borders, as well as within our borders, for commercial sex work. From this collaboration, in 2007, Dawn’s Place, a residential program for trafficked women, came into being. Since that time 19 women have found a caring home where healing can begin to take place. Mental and physical health care, vocational training, counseling, substance abuse programs when necessary, English as a Second Language, Pilates, art and a supportive living situation are provided.

Dawn's PlaceDawn’s Place was named in memory of a prostituted woman who had been murdered and the symbolic concept of dawn being a new day. Dawn’s Place is a pilot program and exists with limited government funding but mostly through the generosity of people touched by the terrible reality of modern day slavery and the evil perpetrated on its victims.

Sr. Terry Shields, of the Holy Rosary Missionary Sisters and a member of our Parish, will speak to us at Mass about Dawn’s Place. After Mass, please also plan to take a few minutes to stop by and share some hospitality with us and talk with Sr. Terry and her colleagues in this ministry. (See event details)

Survey Responses

Parishioners were asked to rank from 1-5 how much they agreed with these statements:
(1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = neutral; 4 = agree; 5 = strongly agree; not all answered)

1. Our parish today ...

1

2

3

4

5

4s + 5s

...is a welcoming parish

2%

1%

7%

21%

63%

85%

...encourages members to live out Gospel values

1%

3%

7%

30%

49%

78%

...has a focus on charity

2%

3%

10%

26%

50%

76%

...has a commitment to ongoing religious education

2%

5%

13%

32%

39%

71%

...attends to the needs of the less fortunate

1%

4%

15%

32%

38%

70%

...is concerned with social justice

2%

3%

16%

29%

41%

70%

...attends to the needs of our seniors

2%

4%

17%

34%

33%

67%

...has a commitment to adult spiritual growth

1%

4%

23%

29%

30%

58%

...attends to the needs of the youth within the parish

1%

4%

24%

29%

28%

57%

...acts with concern for the environment

2%

6%

35%

23%

22%

45%

2. Pick 3 statements that reflect your vision for Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish 10 years from now.

Top choices: (1) Most welcoming parish in the Archdiocese, (2) Empowers parish members to active participation and leadership in ministries; (3) Lives the Gospel through its charitable outreach.

3. With which of the following ministry areas do you feel a personal connection and interest?

Top choices: (1) Poverty and hunger; (2) Sense of parish community; (3) Spiritual enrichment;(4) Homelessness; (5) Generational needs – seniors and youth.

4. In what ways would you be willing to promote parish interest/activity in the areas you have selected?

Learn more – 46%; Commit my talents and time – 46%; Help raise awareness – 19%; # people who checked one – 69%.

Survey Notes

The survey shows a majority of parishioners with a positive perception of our parish’s direction and activities. With our highest-ranked future visions matching our present perceptions, a consistent identity emerged of who we are: A parish that is welcoming, charitable, and empowered to live the Gospel. All proposed ministry areas of interest received support, and the top ranked ministry areas (Question #3 above) also coordinate with our present and future “identity.” Nearly all responders had active interest in ministry areas, with a majority (69%) willing to participate and help in some way. The majority also felt empowered and saw that as important in the future. Important questions arise for further discussion: How can we tap our community’s interests to help more people? How can we structure ministries’ actions to make it accessible to more parishioners? Perhaps answers to these and other questions may emerge at our next visioning session.