Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Parish
Monaca, Pennsylvania

On Mission for The Church Alive!

ATTENTION PARISHIONERS: On Mission for The Church Alive!
As our ancestors in faith worked to build the kingdom of God here on earth, we have the opportunity to do the same. On Mission for the Church Alive! invites us to picture how our parishes, schools and ministries can be vital centers of worship and service and deepen our relationship with Jesus. In draft models that were proposed at our Parish Consultation Sessions, we see ways that existing parishes can be grouped together into new parishes that can provide improved ministry and outreach. Recommendations for facilities needed to serve a new parish will also be suggested. In the overall process, YOUR feedback is very important.

The St. John the Baptist Parish draft models are available online through the On Mission for The Church Alive! website (as of Friday, October 28, 2016). There you will also find more information related to our draft models as well as our parish-specific information packet and the parish-specific video that was shown at our parish's consultation session. You can also provide your feedback/comments through the site.

To access the
St. John the Baptist Parish draft models and parish-specific materials, visit the diocesan On Mission for The Church Alive! website. Once there, hover over Parish Models as found on the top navigation bar. From the drop down menu, select Vicariate 3 Parish Models. On the Vicariate 3 Parish Consultation Presentations and Surveys page, watch Bishop Zubick's introductory video, then select Vicariate 3, District 5 — Saint John the Baptist, Monaca by clicking on the button next to it. Go to www.onmissionchurchalive.org to begin.

All are invited to study the challenges and opportunities we face together.
Your feedback is essential. Be the hands, feet, and heart of Christ by getting involved.



On Mission for the Church Alive! Timeline
Consultation Phase: Now through March 2018 — The twenty-one members of the On Mission Commission will make their formal recommendations to Bishop Zubik. Over the next few months, Bishop Zubik continues to consult with his advisory bodies; clergy are interviewed in preparation for new assignments; categories for the implementation (A-B-C) are assigned to the groupings. The categories depend on size, current state of demographics and financial stability of grouping. The blueprints for implementation are developed with the assistance of pastors who have worked through former mergers and multiple parish pastoring.

Transition Phase: April through Fall 2018 — Sometime after Easter 2018, Bishop Zubik will announce his decisions regarding the parish groupings. Along with those, he will name the clergy teams for each one, the categories for each, and the number of weekend Masses. The clergy teams will begin working with a blueprint and with support staff from the diocesan administration. There will be gatherings of the incoming and outgoing clergy to share important information regarding the groupings and to establish a Sunday Mass schedule that can be publicized in advance of the actual beginning of the new assignments.

Implementation Phase: Fall 2018 and Beyond — The clergy begin their assignments and the revised Mass schedule, based in the number of clergy assigned, takes effect. Parishes continue to function as separate under this common leadership. No buildings close and nothing merges. Parish advisory bodies come together, assisted by diocesan support and guidance about how they operate as they work with the clergy to fulfill the blueprint outcomes. The central focus becomes build relationship with all the parishioners in the grouping. The groupings in Category A will have up to two years to come together with decisions about becoming one new parish, offering three options for a new parish name, and making decisions about how many missions (formally campuses) it will need to accomplish its goals in area such as faith formation, outreach and evangelization. Those groupings in Category B will have up to three years, and those in Category C, up to five years. (To download a copy of the On Mission Timeline, click here.)

Visit
www.onmissionchurchalive.org to stay informed.


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Updates
A Change of Mindset is Needed
(This is the latest in a series of regular columns about On Mission for The Church Alive! reprinted from the October 13, 2017 edition of the Pittsburgh Catholic.)

Growing up in the 1960s, I remember a series of movies, fluffy romantic comedies in which boy meets girl, boy and girl find themselves in some relationship dilemma, and then everything gets resolved and they all live happily ever after. One of them,
Come September, was about a wealthy American who owned an Italian villa that he visited every September for a romantic liaison. Arriving early one year, he learns that his manager has rented the villa to a group of American teenagers. The romantic entanglements of all these people, and the resolution of their various relationships, is the basis of the plot. The lesson: Everyone had to decide what was important to them. Their relationships meant more than anything else.

Next year, sometime in Fall 2018, the structural changes that we have been preparing for over the course of the last several years will begin. This is the implementation phase of
On Mission for The Church Alive! While there will be no immediate mergers of parishes and no closing of church buildings in 2018, the clergy team will arrive in each parish grouping. Their first charge is to work with everyone — parish staffs, advisory councils and parishioners — to build relationships. Relationships are crucial to reaching the goal of a new parish that can provide resources for ministry, with a focus on evangelization and outreach.

Only after building relationships can we begin the important work of bringing together the parishes to become one new parish. The hard decisions about buildings and other aspects of coming together will take time. While we will use the blueprints that have been customized for each grouping, each step relies on the collaboration among clergy, parish leaders, staff members and parishioners at large. The goal in all of it is to achieve the vision of vibrant parishes and effective ministries.

This is happening because we have decided what is important to us. And what is important is that all of us become disciples of Jesus. Jesus called followers and sent them out to do his work. Our baptism is a calling. Each one of us has gifts and abilities that are God-given and meant to be used for building up God's kingdom. We can do this because we are relational beings — related to Jesus and each other. Jesus called His first disciples, and they stayed with Him for three years to be formed. Formed for what? To be sent out.

The reason the structures of our parishes are changing isn't that we want to disrupt things and make everyone upset. The adjusted structures will be strong foundations upon which we can build what we need to meet the needs we have today.

We know that the religious formation of our young people isn't working as it should. If it was, they wouldn't drop out after confirmation or when they go to college. Often, they have been through years of religious education without ever understanding what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. Many say they don't feel welcomed in our parishes because of their past hurts or experiences. We know that we can do better at serving the needs of every age group, from kids through seniors. But no one priest or even a group of priests can do that alone.

It takes all of us. The biggest change we are calling forth is a change of mindset. It's not 'Father's job' to be the lone minister in a community. He can't make this happen on his own. That has a lot of implications: It means our priests must acknowledge that and call forth the gifts of the people they have been sent to shepherd. It means our parents must realize that faith formation doesn't happen automatically, and commit to living the faith in a way that inspires their children. It means that everyone has something to offer. The Church should have no spectators who expect someone else to do it all. Jesus is counting on
all of us.

The implementation phase of
On Mission begins with building relationships. How do we get to know one another and work together? What are you personally willing to do, beginning right now, to build those relationships? Can you commit to resolving any difficult relationships, so that God's kingdom may advance? Will you go out of yourself to reach out to someone you don't know? Together we are stronger. Keep praying. Only with God's guidance will we become the Church that Jesus dreams for us.

— Fr. Sam Esposito, Episcopal Vicar for
On Mission for The Church Alive!



Updates

Christ, the Unconventional King
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. What a magnificent title for the God who created us and loves us to the end. Of course, Christ is the most unconventional king. Instead of being born in a palace, He was born among the animals in a manger. Instead of the security of soldiers and guards, He was accompanied by twelve simple men. Instead of being crowned with gold and jewels, He was crowned with thorns. As today’s gospel reminds us, He did not want His face etched on coins or framed on walls, but instead wanted to be seen in the faces of those most in need.

While Christ’s kingship is unconventional, His reign over us is effective as He lovingly shepherds us towards the kingdom. On Mission for The Church Alive! invites us to seek new, and at times, unconventional ways to reach out to our sisters and brothers, and strengthen our relationships with each other and with our Lord and King. As Christ reigns in our hearts and in the world, may He shepherd us as we work to fulfill his mission of love.

Be Prepared or Be Foolish
In the gospel, five of the virgins were ready to meet their master upon his arrival, while five were not. It is a reminder, like so many others in the gospels, to be prepared for when the Lord comes to call us to Himself. Will our hearts and lives be ready to meet the Lord and dwell with Him, or will we be caught off guard and our salvation be affected?

In a more temporal way, have we been preparing ourselves for the changes that are coming as part of the
On Mission for The Church Alive! initiative? Have we taken the time to educate ourselves about what will happen (such as Bishop Zubik’s announcements on April 26, 2017; building relationships; new clergy assignments; new Mass schedules) and what will not happen (no immediate parish mergers; no immediate church closings) over the next 12 months? Don’t be caught off guard by On Mission. Be prepared and be an agent of growth and support in the Church as a disciple of Jesus.

Don't Bury Your Talents
No one should be surprised that the master in today's gospel chastises the servant who returns his talent without gaining any interest on it. We all are happy to receive a return on our investments. What do we do with the gifts and talents that God invests in us as His beloved sons and daughters? How do we make a return to Him and others in love by the things we say and do? In support of the On Mission for The Church Alive! initiative we can't bury our talents in the sand. Instead, each of us as followers of Christ are called to look for ways to share our gifts with others through the Church. Gifts of service, teaching, relationships and expertise, among others, all work to build up the Kingdom of God and allow it to flourish in our communities. Discern the gifts that God has given you. Talk to your pastor about ways you can share your talents with the Church. Look for unmet needs around you and offer ideas about how they can be fulfilled.

Come to the Feast
In the gospel, the invitation of the king is extended far and wide so that the banquet hall would be full for the wedding feast of his son. Likewise, God’s invitation to partake in the Feast of Faith is shared far and wide as He calls us to follow Him to the kingdom. In both instances, however, something is required of those who are invited. While there is an expectation that the Lord will feed and nourish us, there is also an expectation that we will be properly attired. For us, that means that we are to put on Christ and share His love with others as we take the responsibility of faith seriously. On Mission for The Church Alive! is an opportunity for us to build up the Church of Pittsburgh as a tangible witness of Jesus present in the world. Not only are we charged as individuals to answer the call to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves, but to gather as one in worship and in work and give greater effectiveness to the Body of Christ, the Church. As On Mission unfolds, more will be asked of us as we come to the Feast at a new place or time or with new people, yet we can trust that God will provide more for us to strengthen us; and through us, to strengthen others.

Building the Kingdom of God
In the gospel Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a number of different things: a man who sowed good seed, a mustard seed, and yeast. Similarly, there is no one way to build up the kingdom of God in the Church. As the On Mission for The Church Alive! initiative progresses, our parishes will be restructured to better serve the needs of our communities, but the results will not be cookie-cutter. In fact, each grouping of parishes will be asked to discover the best ways to build up the kingdom of God in light of the unique situations of their families and neighborhoods. In the end, it is hoped that the Church, the Body of Christ, will grow and flourish as we focus on how God is alive in us. What gifts has God planted in your heart that can allow His love and goodness to be shared with others?

Do Unto Others
The servant in today’s gospel did not treat others as he expected to be treated. While his master was generous and sacrificed concerning what was owed to him by the servant, the servant was greedy and would not sacrifice for his fellow servant. Sacrifice can be difficult for us, but we know that to be generous is to live like Jesus. On Mission for The Church Alive! may require sacrifice from us as our parishes are transformed to best serve the faithful. It will also provide new and wonderful ways for us to be generous with our gifts and talents for the good of our sisters and brothers and the Church. When we become nervous about the changes that will occur, we cannot forget to trust that God will be generous in bestowing His peace upon us and in strengthening our faith in Him.

Called by Name
At baptism, we are given a name by which we are known not only to our family & friends, but also to God. Like Cyrus in today’s first reading, throughout our lives God calls us by name as he asks us to follow Him and to be His instrument in the world. As God calls us by our name and we call out to Him as Abba (Father), we recognize how intimately God loves us. It also reveals that we are all sisters & brothers in the family of faith and heirs to the kingdom of God. On Mission for The Church Alive! is our opportunity to build up and strengthen the family of faith in the Diocese of Pittsburgh as we look for ways to extend our hearts to each other as God extends His heart to us. Of course, family relationships aren’t always perfect. We will have to work hard to strengthen the family of faith in our parishes, but it will be worth it as we journey together towards God’s kingdom. Get to know those who sit near you at Mass, who gather in fellowship after Mass or even people from churches near you and allow your heart to expand in love.

The Greatest Commandment
In today’s gospel Jesus makes His command of love succinct: Love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. While succinct, this command is not always simple. Sure, it may not be hard for many to not kill and to keep holy the Sabbath, but how about getting frustrated with God or others, or fulfilling our needs before what God or others expect of us? It can be hard to set aside our desires or what’s convenient for us, yet we must be willing to do what honors God and builds up our sisters and brothers, no matter the personal cost involved. As On Mission for the Church Alive! unfolds our normal time or place of worshipping God may change and be less convenient, and that will be hard for us. That doesn’t mean, however, that we give up on God or neglect our family of faith. On Mission seeks to make our worship of God more vibrant. Prepare now for the changes ahead so that you can be ready to participate in the life of the Church in new and exciting ways.



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Additional Resource Material
On Mission bulletin insert for 09/18/16: Things are Going to Change. Why?
On Mission bulletin insert for 10/02/16: Prepare-Example of a Draft Model
On Mission bulletin insert for 10/09/16: Be Part of the Change
On Mission bulletin insert for 05/07/17:


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What is On Mission for The Church Alive! Anyway?
On Mission for The Church Alive! is a diocesan-wide planning initiative involving all clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The goal of On Mission for The Church Alive! is to help our parishes and schools, our health care facilities and campus ministry programs and every faith community in our diocese become even more vibrant communities of worship and service, while challenging all of us to be excited about our faith! Basically and ever more, The Church Alive!

Go to
http://onmissionchurchalive.org/key-components/ for a detailed explanation covering the key components and timeline of this consultative and strategic planning process. Follow On Mission for The Church Alive! on Twitter at @PghChurchAlive for further information. Have something to share about how your parish is On Mission? Use hashtags: #ChurchAlive and #OnMissionPgh to let the world know.


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On MissionSt. John the Baptist Parish Team
At the invitation of Fr. Michael Ruffalo, the following parishioners have been designated to serve as members of our parish's On Mission Parish Team (Vicariate 3 District 5):
  • David Baker
  • Dan Depenhart
  • Donna Filippelli
  • Adrianna Kaminsky
  • Norma Rudolph
  • Jeff Thomas
The responsibilities of an On Mission Parish Team include the following:
  1. Publicize and support the On Mission for The Church Alive! planning initiative in their daily interactions so that as many people as possible can receive the invitation to participate in the process.
  2. Participate in consultation sessions to generate feedback on future models of parish life to the On Mission Commission.
  3. Lead consultation sessions with parishioners in order to inform them about the planning initiative and engage them in providing feedback on future models of parish life.
  4. Summarize the feedback from their fellow parishioners using the tools provided so that the On Mission Commission can benefit from the timely and thoughtful insights of parishioners from around the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Parish teams are not responsible for making recommendations or for supporting a particular model of parish life. Recommendations to Bishop David Zubik will be made by the
On Mission Commission.


[Go to
http://onmissionchurchalive.org/on-mission-parish-teams/
to find out more about the
On Mission Parish Team service as well as On Mission for The Church Alive!]

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Prayer for On Mission for The Church Alive!
Written for use throughout the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Prayer for On Mission for The Church Alive!
Father of Mercy,
as we journey
On Mission for The Church Alive!,
endow us with your gifts of
collaboration, courage and compassion.
Help us to fulfill the mission of Jesus and His Church
through vibrant parishes and effective ministries.
Raise up selfless, energetic leaders
to serve the Church in fidelity and with care.

May we, the Church of Pittsburgh
in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene,
Lawrence and Washington counties,
be sustained and strengthened by your grace.
Help us to learn Jesus, to love Jesus and to live Jesus.
Hear this prayer and grant it through Jesus Christ our Lord,
with the help of our dear Blessed Mother,
under the mantle of her love.

Amen.



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On Mission: A New Pentecost
Come, Holy Spirit and fill us with your gift of wonder and awe in God's presence. May we never forget that our lives are made for what is eternal (heaven), not what will pass away (earth). May we always stand in amazement before God and the wonderful ways He is at work in our lives, the world and the Church. May we be free from sin to maintain our union with God and may we reflect His love as we are united with our brothers and sisters.

Come, Holy Spirit and fill us with your gifts of right judgment and courage. Give us right judgment so that we may know what is good for ourselves and for the Church and always choose what is right. Give us courage that we might step outside of our comfort zone, take risks and think outside of the box in order to renew the Church and the world.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill us with your gifts of wisdom and understanding. Give us wisdom so that we may be open to your ways, know your will for our lives and for the Church of Pittsburgh. Give us understanding as we follow Christ, that we may comprehend His message of loving God and others before ourselves.

Come, Holy Spirit and fill us with Your gifts of knowledge and reverence. Give us knowledge so that we may think and act confidently in ways that will inspire faith and grow the Church. Give us reverence so that whatever may come we might rely on God with unwavering humility, trust and love and honor Him through worship, deed and word.

As we journey
On Mission for The Church Alive!, inspire us to be open and trusting to the changes that await us, and strengthen us to live our baptismal call of building up the Kingdom of God on earth.

Amen.


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On Mission Commission
The On Mission Commission, comprised of representatives from each of the diocese's 21 districts. It will oversee the process of recommending to Bishop Zubik how parishes and schools can best deliver vibrant sacramental celebration, effective formation for discipleship, and compassionate pastoral care in the context of changing circumstances including demographics, financial conditions, and the projected number of priests.

Commission members will have the responsibility of reviewing all of the draft models and gathered feedback from the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful so the they can submit a recommendation to Bishop David Zubik
by December 31, 2017. The On Mission Commission members serve also as ambassadors of the planning initiative to their fellow parishioners in the district they represent.

The
On Mission Commission members have five primary responsibilities:
  1. Discern, discuss and advise the Diocesan Bishop on strategic questions and opportunities for the On Mission for The Church Alive! planning initiative.
  2. Validate and/or offer refinement to the draft district models provided by the On Mission steering committees so that the model creation process is based in authenticity and transparency.
  3. Attend the consultation sessions at the district and cluster levels in order to gather feedback on future models.
  4. Publicize and support the On Mission for The Church Alive! planning initiative in their daily interactions so that as many people as possible can receive the invitation to participate in the process.
  5. Support Bishop Zubik's decision and be a hopeful and Gospel-centered witness as the People of God move toward The Church Alive!

[Visit the
On Mission webpage http://onmissionchurchalive.org/on-mission-commission/ to review the On Mission Commission membership.]


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Quick Links to:
Year of Mercy
Parish Calendar
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