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Fifteen parishes await tallies of Disciple Maker Index survey

Responses are being compiled, tallied and studied for online and paper surveys offered at 15 parishes the last two months to help parishioners reflect on their spiritual growth and efforts to promote that growth.

Ten of the parishes were part of a study that began two years ago for growing areas of west Omaha and areas west and south of the city. Five parishes were added to the survey after they expressed interest.

More than 4,200 surveys were completed online by March 20, and handouts provided at churches are being added to the mix, said Deacon Stephen Luna, the archdiocese’s director of pastoral planning.

"It’s going to take time to get all the data together," Deacon Luna said. "I know several parishes had a lot of paper applications."

Called the Disciple Maker Index and developed by Pennsylvania-based Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI), the survey of engagement and evangelization was one of several recommendations from efforts in the suburban Omaha study. The surveys will help form a baseline for understanding where a parish stands in bringing people to Christ and encouraging them to share in his saving message, he said.

"I’m just really looking forward to seeing the data and seeing the usefulness of it in future planning," Deacon Luna said.

Father Jeffery Loseke, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish near Gretna, said he, members of the pastoral council and others in the parish also are anxious to see the results.

He encouraged his parishioners to participate by talking about the survey at Masses and making hard copies available, offering an online link to the survey on the parish website, sending parishioners emails with links and mentioning the effort on Facebook.

The kinds of questions included in the survey were interesting, Father Loseke said, with many revolving not so much around programs but more around faith experiences, belief in the sacraments and other teachings of the church, and how parishioners respond to those experiences with participation in the parish and evangelization efforts of their own.

Officials with CLI will review the results and discuss them with parish representatives and archdiocesan officials this spring and summer, Father Loseke said.

"This will help us chart our way forward, what to build on and what to shore up," he said.

PARTICIPATING PARISHES

In addition to St. Charles Borromeo Parish near Gretna, nine other parishes participating in the Disciple Maker Index were part of the west Omaha and suburbs study: St. Matthew the Evangelist, Bellevue; St. Patrick, Elkhorn; St. Patrick, Gretna; St. Columbkille, Papillion; St. Joseph, Springfield; St. John the Evangelist, Valley; and St. Vincent de Paul, St. Stephen the Martyr and St. Wenceslaus, all Omaha. Five parishes were added to the survey: Sacred Heart, Norfolk; St. Gerald, Ralston; Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Leo the Great and St. Pius X, all Omaha.

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