Courageously Living the Gospel


Shortly after Bishop Parkes was installed as bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg people began to ask about his vision for the Diocese. Through listening sessions, gatherings and online surveys, Bishop Parkes heard common themes about the need to expand outreach efforts to the poor and vulnerable, youth and young adults, and fallen away Catholics.  Bishop Parkes assembled a Visioning Team to review the ideas and the result was introduced in June of 2018; Courageously Living the Gospel – A vision for the Diocese to be shared by all.  Of the seven Diocesan mutually shared goals, three were focused directly to the parishes to be developed over the next two years.  The priority to Proclaim, Invite, and Encounter is being shared as parishes develop strategies to address goals that focus on Youth Ministry, Family Ministries, and Missionary Discipleship.

Last summer, Fr. Tim invited a group of staff and ministry volunteers to help develop the strategies for St. Raphael based on where we see ourselves today, and what our needs may be as we focused on the areas of Youth, Family and Discipleship.  St. Raphael is a vibrant and active parish with many supportive ministries, but we also have areas where we can grow in service and evangelization. Collectively, St. Raphael discerned the following response to Bishop Parkes call to Courageously Living the Gospel.

In Youth Ministry, not only will we continue to maintain our strong Edge and Life Teen programs, encouraging growth through peer invitation, but we will also develop a Young Adult Ministry inviting those married and single, generally ages 20 to 35, to monthly events both here and mingling with other local parishes.

In Family Ministries, we will engage in monthly family events focused on generational, cultural, social and family development areas.  We will use parishioner input to help us develop these programs. 

In Missionary Discipleship, we will continue our strong Bible Study and Faith Circles that have done much to help people grow in spirituality.  We will change our Faith Formation Program for Kindergarten through 5th grade and a variation for 6th through 8th grade, engaging the parents more directly in the catechesis and adjusting some schedules to accommodate today’s busy life.  (The details of this change are available on the website).  We will also strengthen our RCIA Program in sponsorship and personal reflection as we are seeing more and more people, in various phases of personal faith, showing an interest in becoming Catholic.  Additionally, we plan to strengthen our communication and welcoming efforts, specifically at Sunday Liturgy. 

Finally, we will develop a method through our Young Adult Ministry to provide for an annual Mission Trip, allowing parish members to experience ministerial service in underdeveloped countries.

To help us develop these plans and possibly add more, we are in the final steps of creating a Parish Survey inviting all parish members to provide specific input on where they would like to see St. Raphael focus attention in Youth, Family and Missionary Discipleship Ministry.  We plan to have the survey available by mid-August 2019.

Finally, we are pleased to let you know that Theresa Feeser, who served on the parish committee and is a current student of the Diocesan Lay Pastoral Ministry Program, has accepted a part-time position with the Parish as Family Enrichment Coordinator.  Theresa will facilitate the parish survey and keep us on target with these goals. She will be responsible for coordinating the family enrichment events we anticipate having every month.

Our parish survey will be sent beginning August 19, 2019.

Our thanks to Deacon Jim, Lynn Edmonds, Michael Specht, Theresa Feeser, Josephine Settle, Michael Fay, and Allison Garrett for their help and support in bringing us to this introductory phase.

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