Parish Newsletter

A Service of the Parish Evaluation Project

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

                                                                         February, 2002

           This is the inaugural issue of the new Parish Newsletter.  It is an attempt to provide a dialogue among those involved in Catholic parish ministry, whether priests, staffs, leaders, parishioners or those looking in from the outside.  This is one way people can share their best experiences and practices, as well as ask questions or provide insights about how to do better.   The way it works is that a person subscribes to this newsletter by sending an e-mail to  Once on the list, you will receive the newsletter approximately once a month.  You have the option of making a response by sending a “reply” to this e-mail.  It will come back to the Parish Evaluation Project but to no one else.  The list, in other words, is confidential and will not be used in any other way than for this newsletter, nor will it be forwarded to any other group or individual.  If you wish to withdraw your subscription, just send a reply with the word “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.  There is no charge for this service. 

           We are hoping that people will make a response and tell us about what good things are happening in their parish, or what questions and issues you would like to raise.  The next issue will provide a few of these responses for everyone’s benefit.  Some of the “Best Practices” we hope to list on our website,, but only after receiving permission to do so. 

           To get the ball rolling, let us begin by asking what is one of the best things that is happening in your parish at the moment.  If you are not involved in a parish at the moment, what one thing would you like to see happen that might be of interest to you?  One example is the parish we visited last month as part of our Parish Assessment and Renewal process (PAR). 

           St. Gabriel in Charlotte, NC has a monthly “Wednesday Night Dinner.”  There is a cook as a member of the staff who provides the meal every week.  From three to four hundred people attend at a cost of $6.50 a piece.  It is an excellent meal, which is followed by faith enrichment offerings for the adults, and religious education for the children.  It starts at 5:30 pm and the sessions begin at 6:30 or 7:00.  Many come just for the meal because it is so good and the conversation even better.  Could this happen in your parish?  What other things are you doing that could be shared with a wider audience, or new ideas as untried? 

We are only getting started.  If you like what you see, tell your friends, sign up individual staff and council members, spread the word.  We are open to all e-mailers.                                                                                  

Tom Sweetser, SJ