Brief Feedback on the Parish Census

03-16-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

My Dear Friends,

“However big a tree is, it cannot make a forest” (African Proverb).

This past weekend, we had our Parish Census exercise during which over 600 of you registered or updated your information. Since I do not have any precedence to compare these numbers with, I consider the entire exercise, a great success already. This fact is also corroborated by numerous positive feedback I have been receiving during this entire week. Know that the Census is still ongoing for those of you who have not yet done so till mid-April.

For those of you who have participated, I sincerely express my profound gratitude for your active participation in this important exercise. In particular, I want to thank my diligent parish and school staff and volunteers who helped with the exercise this past weekend. Your active and collaborative involvement contributed immensely to this success.

As I mentioned in my previous article, this Census will be followed by a Survey with specific questions which would enable me to determine what your realistic needs are in order to design appropriate pastoral and spiritual strategy to address them. In order to have your voices heard and included in the plan of action to follow, please complete the Census if you have not yet still done so because the Survey questions will only be sent to those who have registered. Therefore, your participation in the Survey will be of paramount importance.

When I reflected on the importance of this Survey, the African proverb quoted above which says: “However big a tree is, it cannot make a forest”, came to my mind. This proverb underscores the importance of unity and collaboration of everyone if we are to achieve anything real and meaningful in society. It guides the African sense of community and belonging as it requires the participation of each and every member of the community to change their society. In our case too, it requires the participation of each of you to change our parish for the better. Remember, it is for that reason that at the beginning of our weekend Masses we always say our beautiful Parish Stewardship Prayer: “Our Parish is made up of people like me…” which reminds us that our Parish will be only as good as we make it…together!

However, I am greatly encouraged during this short period among you as your Pastor because it has become abundantly very clear to me that our parish has very many active ministries serving the diverse spiritual and material needs of our community. You are good! Many people to whom I introduce myself as the Pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel spontaneously exclaim what a great Parish our Parish is. This is very good news, but I also want to know what those good things are that we are known for. However, the bad news is that due to the many changes, visible and invisible that have taken place over the years in our Parish, some things might have changed significantly. So, it is important to take a pause and evaluate which ministries are still relevant, which ones need to be revitalized and which ones to be dropped altogether. Therefore, I want your input by getting involved in one way or the other in the life of our Parish so as to maintain its vitality and distinct character keeping in mind that “However big a tree is, it cannot make a forest!”

I love you!