Parish Newsletter

A Service of the Parish Evaluation Project

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

            April, 2015

Who’s A Member?             A recent parish at which a survey was distributed to a random sample of parishioners discovered that a large number of its people were no longer living at the address listed on the parish census forms.  This is not an unusual occurrence.  Most parishes we work with do not have an accurate listing.  In these cases we suggest that the parish initiate an annual Registration Weekend to clarify just who is a member of the parish. A Simple Response The process begins with a simple form that is placed at the end of the pews at all of the Masses.  Over a four-week period people are asked from the pulpit to fill it out and put it in the collection basket.  The form needs to be short so it can be filled out quickly.  A sample used at SS. Mary and Patrick Parish in West Burlington, Iowa had the following comments and instructions on the flipside of the card.

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WE’RE ‘COUNTING’ ON YOU!

EVERYONE NEEDS TO FILL OUT AND RETURN THE CENSUS.

WHAT DO I DO WITH MY COMPLETED CARD, YOU ASK?  IT’S EASY!

  • Give completed card to volunteer after Mass
  • Drop it in the collection basket
  • Hand deliver it to the Parish Office
  • Mail it to the parish office (U.S. Mail)  [Parish Address added]

If you have questions you can call the parish office at ____________

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The Census Form itself was as follows:

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SS. Mary & Patrick Parish 2014 Census

HOUSEHOLD INFORATION:

(List all persons living in household.  One (1) card per household)

Adults: ______________________               ______________________

 Name                                                           Name

Children: ______________________               ______________________

                        Name    Birthdate                                      Name       Birthdate

Children: ______________________               ______________________

                        Name    Birthdate                                      Name       Birthdate

Other: M_F_  ____________________ M_F_  ____________________

                        Name    Birthdate                                      Name       Birthdate

Address:  ________________________________________________

City:___________________ State:____  Zip:__________  Email:________________

Home Phone:_______________          Cell Phone:_________________

      ARE YOU OR OTHER MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY INTERESTED IN LEARNING ABOUT VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN OUR PARISH:  YES_____ NO______           

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The Follow-Up As the responses came in, they were checked off from the census directory.  Arrangements were made to contact those interested in volunteering.  For those who did not fill it out, a note was mailed with the following request: “Recently we asked our parishioners to fill out a census card like the one you are receiving with this note.  We did not receive one for you or your family.  Would you mind filling out the enclosed and sending it back to our parish?”  The names of those on the census list who did not respond were given to the Outreach Commission which formed a committee to personally contact these people to learn whether the parish might be of any assistance. Tom Sweetser, SJ and Debora Elkins Website: www.pepparish.org