Building Community Beyond Mass St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church

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Urban, Terry
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church was once a dynamic and closely-knit faith community mainly comprised of growing families. The parishioners had accomplished some amazing goals in their fifty plus year history. They had transformed their campus from a house church to one that included a new church building, a rectory and parish hall. As a community, the members had matured to the point where the majority of the households are comprised of couples or single adults over the age of fifty. The community began to drift apart once their major goals were met and programs lost their relevancy. Within the last few years, the parishioners have regrouped. Building on the principles of engagement borrowed from business management, new programs have been implemented and new life has been added to existing programs. This paper presents St. Jude’s as a case study on engaging a parish community beyond the Mass. Part one of the paper provides an overview of St. Jude’s parish, an introduction to the concept of engagement, and examples of how each of the engagement elements has been used in the parish. Part two presents supplemental materials on the ministries and committees of the parish. Examples are provided of highlights of the way some ministries and committees of St. Jude’s have implemented engagement. Finally, as a means of summarizing the engagement principles, an analysis is presented of a program before and after implementation.