JN17:DP makes recommendations for a deeper commitment to diversity

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The John 17 Discernment Project has completed the first phase of a long process of developing a deeper commitment to diversity. This group was mandated by the 5 year plan to make recommendations about how to best honor the diversity of all peoples at St. Leo Parish. Below are the recommendations that came out of six months of work. The final report will be posted next week. Thank you for supporting this effort! 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE LITURGY COMMISSION                         

  • Incorporate unity liturgies throughout the year. We recommend the planning and implementation be done by the Liturgy Commission in conjunction with the Pastoral Assistant for Liturgy and Music.
     
  • When unity liturgies are implemented, have various cultural groups explain any cultural pieces to the community prior to the liturgy. Useful spaces for this are the bulletin, the order of service, the web site, the electronic newsletter. This will help the larger community understand and be inspired by the meaning of these cultural pieces when they experience them.
     
  • Do an honest evaluation of the sanctuary and come up with a plan to more permanently incorporate saints, cultural artifacts, and artwork from different cultural communities. One immediate action item is to find a more prominent place for the St. Martin de Porres that now resides in the northwest corner of the church.
     
  • Begin a conversation with the community about whether to include pieces of the liturgy that certain cultural groups noted as missing during listening sessions. These include the Creed and the Confiteor.
     
  • Begin a dialogue with the community as to whether to include tasteful screens in the sanctuary to help aid people in participating in multilingual liturgies. This would also require recruiting liturgical ministers willing to create the content for projection.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PARISH VISION

  • Parish leadership including staff, commissions, councils and ministry leads adopt a lens of equity and justice through which to view all work that happens within the parish.
     
  • To support this effort, the JN17:DP concludes its work as a discernment body and rolls into a working Equity Commission, a central resource body that works with all commissions and groups in the parish on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. It may have some or all of the following elements: educating and facilitating conversations on equity, racism and white privilege  soliciting and receiving feedback on these issues through listening sessions, surveys or town halls; designing relevant parish-wide programming; building empowering participation of people from various cultural groups; ensuring the voices of members of various cultural communities are heard.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CLUSTERING PROCESS

NOTE BENE: It must be noted in regards to the clustering process, that the two communities have two distinct ways of proceeding. We make the recommendations below only if the Sacred Heart community is open to them.

  • We recommend the body that will lead the discernment for the clustering process have a mix of staff, Pastoral Council and parishioners from both St. Leo and Sacred Heart, and that at least one member of JN17:DP is included. We recommend the work done by this body be periodically shared with the Archdiocese and the Jesuits West Province to ensure cohesion.
     
  • Think of this year as a year of preparation before the official clustering process begins. Ideally, both communities will get to know each other and allow one another’s charism to reveal itself before any merging takes place. We recommend:
     
    • A parish-wide focus on prayer, programming and education that examines white privilege and racism. This can be paired with prayers throughout the liturgy asking for the graces needed to overcome these challenges.
       
    • We encourage a focus on intercultural community building. Parishioners can periodically attend Mass at Sacred Heart in both Spanish and English over the next year, with a particular interest in special celebrations, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. We recommend that parishioners be open and willing to learn about and encounter the community as it is, holding off a desire to compare, judge or change it but rather to allow the parish charism to reveal itself and be known.
       
    • We also encourage St. Leo to extend invitations to the Sacred Heart community to attend Mass and special events at St. Leo, especially those that communicate our own charism. Sharing meals on such occasions is encouraged!

Final note

JN17:DP recommends that the Pastoral Council hold a town hall in the Fall to present these recommendations to the community and facilitate a discussion.  

 

Anne Tropeano