Synod Strategic Plan


Synod Update:


“Building a Bridge to the Future”

2016-2018 Parish Pastoral Plan



For the last nine months, all parishes in the Diocese have been participating in a pastoral planning process, arising out of Synod 2014, building on the good works already present, responding to challenges to be addressed, and laying out a roadmap for parish vitality.  Members of our parish Planning Task Force have identified priorities on which the parish will focus in the coming two years. 


Synod 2014 identified five pastoral challenges areas: Liturgy and Worship, Family Life, Evangelization, Leadership, and Catechesis and Education.  In addition, Bishop Caggiano asked each parish to look at the following three administrative areas: Finances, Buildings and Facilities, and Community Life.  Parishes were asked to choose two of the five pastoral challenge areas, and one of the three administrative areas.


The priorities areas, rationale and action steps, identified by the Planning Task Force, and approved by Bishop Caggiano are found on the following pages.

Further details about the pastoral plan for the parish are available through members of the Planning Task Force, Parish Council members, and on our website.  All pastoral plans across the Diocese will be posted in December on the Diocesan website: www.bridgeportdiocese/strategic-planning/home.

In a special way, I would like to thank those Planning Task Force members who gave of their time and effort over the last nine months to work with me on this plan: Robert Lametta, Dr. William Stephanak, Thomas Gorzkowski, Ulrike Schambeck, Marge Simon, Ed Bocchino, Thomas Donaher, Karen Gasper, Glenn Iannaccone, Christopher Jarboe, Esq., Mary Nichols, Rose Sferlazza, Catherine Mulvehill, Nancy O’Connell and Lisa Castorina.         

We have great reason to hope for the future of our Diocese and St. Thomas the Apostle.  I urge all of us to become involved in efforts to fulfill the goals established by the Planning Task Force.    Our plan is a work in progress.  At the end of the first year, we will evaluate the goals and make revisions as objectives are met and other needs arise.

May God continue to bless this parish and all members of the parish community.

Fr. Mirek Stachurski

Pastoral Plan for St. Thomas the Apostle Parish


Pastoral Challenge to be addressed:  FAMILY LIFE         

Rationale:  We feel the Parish will be most successful if it focuses on involving families in its programming, ministries and worship.  This Challenge goes hand in hand with “Liturgy and Worship” which is why we have selected both areas to address.  Success in this area should also impact in the other challenges as well.

A.    Goal to be achieved: 

Increase the number of families attending Family Mass, participating in the Sacrament of the Mass, volunteering and attending parish events.

a.     Action Step# 1 to achieve Goal:


 Advertise Family Mass and actually invite all families with young children to “Fill the Church!”


b.     Action Step #2 to achieve Goal:


Invite families, as a unit, to join in the Mass as Lector teams.


c.      Action Step #3 to achieve Goal:


 Establish a youth greeting ministry for middle schoolers.


d.     Action Step #4 to achieve Goal:

 Invite high school age parishioners to join a social justice program culminating in a domestic mission service trip, using their parents as chaperones and supervisors.

e.   Action Step #5 to achieve Goal:

 Offer relevant retreats and speakers for families to deal with today’s pertinent issues and stressors.

f.     Action Step #6 to achieve Goal:

 Through homilies and our Religious Education program, re-educate parents on their roles as first educators of faith, and ensure all parents are Virtus trained. 

g.     Action Step #7 to achieve Goal:

 Establish a mechanism that allows families to reach out for pastoral care, using an easy feedback/communication vehicle that is available in the Church, online and through the Religious Education program. 

h.     Action Step #8 to achieve Goal:

 Establish a Hospitality Committee to host and assist with Parish social gatherings and events.

i.       Action Step #9 to achieve Goal:

 Develop family-oriented social events that are of interest to the target audience, using some of those same families as event coordinators and volunteers.

j.       Action Step #10 to achieve Goal:

 Strengthen our Ministry serving Parish homebound and seniors. 


Pastoral Challenge to be addressed:  LITURGY and WORSHIP              

Rationale:   This area has been selected as a priority because we need to reach out to parishioners who have stopped attending Mass, and be more engaging with parishioners when they do attend.   We need to modernize, to the degree possible, in order to appeal to a younger and more diverse population. 

Goal to be achieved:  

We shall be more welcoming to all who attend Mass, being sure to let parishioners and visitors alike know that their attendance and participation is appreciated and valued.  And we shall strive to have vibrant and relevant homilies that uplift, educate and inspire. 

a.      Action Step# 1 to achieve Goal:


Reach out to inactive families to ask why they are not participating through mailings, emails, personal phone calls and face-to-face outreach 


b.     Action Step #2 to achieve Goal:

Develop a Welcoming Committee whose responsibility it is to follow up with new parishioners, enlist adult greeters for Masses and put a personal face on the Parish.


c.      Action Step #3 to achieve Goal:

Assess the need/desire for cross-cultural and culture-specific programming, and if necessary, develop a plan based on that assessment due to significantly changing demographics in the Parish.


d.     Action Step #4 to achieve Goal:

Hold a Ministry Fair to inform and educate parishioners of the various ministries and volunteer opportunities we have at the Parish.


e.      Action Step #5 to achieve Goal:

 Improve and update music at all Masses working with not only the Music Director, but staff and volunteers.


Administrative Challenge to be addressed:   FINANCES    

Rationale:  The Parish has just completed a 3-year cycle of significant repairs and upgrades to its buildings and facilities.  The vast majority of repairs were paid for from accumulated savings which are now depleted.  The Parish must increase revenues, control expenses and re-establish savings for future needs. 

Goal to be Achieved: 

The Parish desires to increase its offertory by $24,000 on an annualized basis (per fiscal year) and rental revenues, while also reducing operating costs. 

a.      Action Step# 1 to achieve Goal:


The Parish will undertake an Increased Giving Campaign, and will reach out to all parishioners, active and inactive to educate them about the need for them to support their Parish. 


b.     Action Step #2 to achieve Third Goal:

Negotiate new lease agreements with tenant(s) to ensure fair and equitable payments are received for use of Parish facilities. 

c.      Action Step# 3 to achieve Third Goal:


Staff hours will be reduced and expenditures curtailed until such time as cash flow and collections have improved. 


d.     Action Step #4 to achieve Third Goal:

Improve financial transparency and reporting to parishioners through the State of the Parish annual meeting and increased quarterly reporting in the bulletin. 

e.      Action Step #5 to achieve Third Goal:

Develop a vicariate-wide plan for sustaining the food pantry which services Norwalk and the surrounding towns.