Lay Leadership Council
8/2020: We welcome New Members added to the Lay Leadership Council they are Mark Miller and Janene Scanio.
A MESSAGE FROM NATIVITY’S LAY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL -
In the March 2-3 parish bulletin and on the parish’s website and Facebook page, Pastor Ronald Sajdak announced the formation of a new Lay Leadership Council. This is a message to parishioners from the six initial members of the Council: James Beardi, Margaret Cusack, Nancy Dobson, Victor Martucci, Robert Poczik, Bruce Zgoda and Chuck Stephan.
The purpose of the Council is to give Nativity’s laity a voice in the future direction of the parish. Oftentimes crisis leads to opportunity, and this is one of those times. Father Ron and Father Daniel not only encourage a greater role for the laity, they embrace it. This is our opportunity to influence the direction of our parish for years to come. We choose to be a part of the solution to ensure that our parish is all that we want and hope it can be.
Father Ron reminds us that this is in accord with the law of the Church. Canon 212.3 of that law states that parishioners have both the right and obligation to “manifest to the pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have the right to make their opinions known to the other Christian faithful.” This includes setting the future direction for the parish and identifying parish priorities.
Though we have some sense of the challenges facing the parish, including the need to engage in long range planning, we are seeking broader input as we move forward. Accordingly, we will be inviting parishioners to engage in a planning process to identify areas in need of improvement and to chart future directions, including setting priority actions. We envision doing this through a series of small group meetings with a broad cross-section of parishioners who will be encouraged and invited to be a part of this process. We hope that this involvement will help develop a sense of ownership and a greater level of trust.
The next message from the Lay Leadership Council will describe the specifics of the nature and timing of this collaborative planning process, and will invite participation.
RENEWING LAY LEADERSHIP
At the end of July our parish’s Parish Council met and had a discussion about the vitality of the current parish council. As recorded in its notes of the July 25th meeting: “In light of the resignations of four current members, three more terms expiring in August and the lack of new candidates for the council, it suggested a hiatus in PC (Parish Council) operations and a review of council operations take place by an appointed group beginning in September. Their task would be to make recommendations for the operation of a new council or an alternative by December so that it could begin operating in January 2019.” In light of the challenges associated with restructuring the Parish Council, I decided to take a different approach to promoting lay leadership in the parish.
During the summer months the parish trustees convened a group of lay parish leaders who met with me in order to express their support and guidance. In mid-September the link between Nativity, St. Lawrence and St. Martin de Porres parishes was to be relaxed and I was slated to move into the rectory where with Fr. Daniel our full time attention would be Nativity Parish. The support and willingness of this group of lay leadership was most welcomed and encouraged. In late September I moved in and with Fr. Daniel began to work out our ministry schedules and prepare to embrace the challenges ahead. As we all are aware these future plans were temporarily put on hold by my Administrative Leave that began Nov. 3rd, 2018. The lay leadership group continued to meet and encouraged and assisted Fr. Daniel in his new task as Parish Administrator.
Also last November 28th many lay leaders within the Church and Educational community joined together to form “The Movement to Restore Trust.” It began with a symposium organized at Canisius College and headed by its president John J. Hurley. What is it? It is “an independent organization of concerned, committed Catholics in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo formed to assert the laity’s rightful role in the Church and to help lead a movement to restore trust and confidence in the Church in the wake of public disclosures about the Diocese’s handling of clergy sex abuse cases.” It is also defined as “an independent group of concerned Catholics who are committed to our faith, to restoring trust in our Diocese and to the Vatican II ideal that we, laity and ordained alike, are all the church…..We seek to give voice to Catholics who share deep concerns about the state of the Diocese. Through constructive reform, not revolution, we seek to act in conformity with Catholic beliefs and canon law. We are recruiting interested lay people, religious women and the clergy of the Diocese in developing a path forward for our Diocese, in line with Catholic beliefs, ecclesiology and canon law.” Even while I was on leave I had the opportunity to attend the symposium and was glad to see many lay leaders of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in attendance.
With my reinstatement as Pastor on December 21st, 2018 this group of lay leadership, many of whom were active participants in the Canisius College Symposium and workshop day, met again and pledged their support to assist Fr. Daniel and me in our role as clergy pastors of our parish. I saw this as a special opportunity to develop a sense of shared ownership of the parish on the part of the parish’s leadership and its laity.
After much prayer, discussion, and reflection upon the direction we as a parish should move in, I’m happy to announce that these lay leaders have pledged their time and talent to continue to assist our parish as we move forward and have formed the new Lay Leadership Council of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. Initially our members include our parish trustees: James Beardi and Nancy Dobson; School Board of Trustees Vice-President Victor Martucci, Finance Council Chair Bruce Zgoda, former parish council chairpersons: Robert Poczik and Margaret Cusack along with Fr. Daniel and myself.
This new Lay Leadership Council will work collaboratively with the Pastor and Parochial Vicar to identify areas in need of improvement and to develop strategies to ensure the future growth and vitality of the parish. The Council may engage in activities such as developing a new parish mission statement, engaging in long range planning, as well as promote connections and coordination with other neighboring parishes. Further information about the work of the Council and opportunities for parishioner input will be shared in the upcoming months.
The Finance Committee is responsible for advising the pastor on all matters related to, but not limited to, budgeting, allocation of resources and fundraising. Minutes are published in the parish bulletin. Contact Fr. Ron Sajdak at 716-632-8838.