September 28, 2014
Extra, Extra: Father Ed Not Perfect.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
One of the great blessings of being pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish is the opportunity I have to pray, study, consult, and collaborate with the parish pastoral council. The council is made up of three ex officio members (Fr. William, Deacon Mike, and Deacon Dick) and fifteen persons from the parish at large—five of whom are representative of various parish ministries, five of whom are selected at large, and five of whom I appoint so as to ensure a good representation of the parish at large in the council’s makeup.
One of the tasks with which the council is charged is the annual performance evaluation of the pastor. I ask the council at the end of the ministry year, that is, in June, to evaluate my performance in ten competencies: spiritual leadership, evangelist, homilist, catechist, pastoral service, as a parish representative, administrator, my stewardship of the parish’s resources, priesthood, and discipleship, and this anonymously. Their evaluations are compiled by a third party and I review them with the council. This we did at our September 13 meeting. I want to share with you some of the comments of the council in my regard, especially in an area or two where they are recommending improvement. For example, in regard to my homilies, one member wrote: “The only suggestion I might have is that his points be made a bit more succinctly. I do not mind being in Mass for longer than an hour, however, some times the main points get lost when a homily is too lengthy.” Another wrote: “He can lose the attention of the congregation...when his homilies run too long. Some parishioners have left the parish over this issue.” As an evangelist, a member commented: “I would like to see some additional efforts to evangelize those in our parish who are lukewarm in our pews and the fallen-away. Possibly to foster some opportunities for parishioners to have an encounter with Christ that would lead them to a desire to learn more about the faith and to serve others.” One member of the council commented that “I do not think [Father Ed] leads a simple life but not one that is overboard either. I think he has a good blend.”
Additionally, at the Second Sunday Sitting two weeks ago parishioners offered comments and suggestions about my ministry and the needs of the parish, including sacramental, liturgical, and in view of faith formation of families, singles, children and youth, the grieving, and others. I take them all seriously and will pray and work to be a better homilist, evangelist, and steward, a better pastor.
Someone asked what the hardest thing about being pastor of OLOL is. While there are many challenging things, one of them is parishioners who leave the parish without telling me why or saying good-bye. I do love you, care about you, and certainly consider you to be my family and the ones who are getting me, I hope, to heaven. So, if you are not being served, please tell me. I may not have the resources—personal or community—to serve. I may not agree with your cause of departure, but I’ll listen and respond. I can’t work on being a better pastor, father, brother, and friend if I don’t know what the matter is. I thank the members of the parish pastoral council for their faith and friendship, leadership and love. And I thank everyone at OLOL for your prayer and support, collaboration and commitment to Jesus, the church, and the parish.