Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy
"... things are never exactly the same, as new ministries are initiated, new members join our community, loved ones go home to God, and each of us continues to grow in our appreciation of God’s love for us and in our desire to expand our hearts in an ever more generous love of our neighbor.” Father Tom Ferguson, Annual Report 2012
2. Commitment and Growth over 5 Years
a. Pastor or parish administrator shows leadership and commitment to Stewardship as a way of life. In 2007, a parish-wide discernment process resulted in the Parish Pastoral Plan (PPP). This collaborative effort included clergy and lay leaders who reviewed the successes of the past and opportunities for the future. Every parishioner was invited to share their Ideas, Hopes, and Dreams (IHDs). Over 2,000 IHDs were submitted and are reflected in the Plan. The culture of participation and lay leadership that generated the PPP permeates our parish. With 3,500 households and 10,900 parishioners, we strive to live our Vision inspiring parishioners to embrace their roles as stewards, discern their God-given gifts of time and talent, and be mindful that gifts of treasure are essential to growth in parish ministries. Under the leadership of our pastor, the parish continues to espouse and live Stewardship as a Way of Life.
b. The parish shows signs of a long‐term commitment to stewardship. Good Shepherd celebrated its Jubilee Year in 2015. (Anniversary bulletin) The parish has grown from 900 to 3,500 families, including 57 original families worshiping and serving in the parish. Throughout the history of the parish, active participation in the liturgy, prayer, formation, fellowship, and charity have nurtured parishioners’ growth in grace, wisdom, and faith. Committed parishioners have ensured that in addition to the growth of the community, ministries have expanded to meet parish needs. In 2012, the parish began a five-year capital campaign Our Family, Our Faith, Our Future (CC brochure). Father Tom invited parishioners to join him in “undertaking this campaign to complete the task of making our spiritual home an even more welcoming, functional, and safe space for all who come to worship, serve, and share faith and fellowship.” (renovation photos) The church, hall, classrooms, offices and common areas are well maintained to ensure warm and welcoming spaces as well as respecting the multiple campaigns required to build our facility.
c. The parish shows signs of spiritual growth. Since Father Tom’s arrival in 2011, parishioners have more opportunities for spiritual growth: the addition of a second weekday Spanish Mass year-round and an additional English weekday Mass during Lent; our Sunday 6:30pm Mass is held year-round instead of just during the school year; weekly Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesday nights; and two additional weekly opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Daily Mass attendance remains strong, including the Rosary Group that meets before Mass. Small faith-sharing groups (Spanish Prayer and Evangelization Groups, Cursillo and the Legion of Mary) continue to grow in membership.
d. The parish has grown in the area of community outreach and has made outreach a major priority.
Social Ministry includes more than 40 programs: charity, advocacy, and education for all ages, plus ministries of healing, comfort, and support. In 2011, Good Shepherd started a Sharing Garden to grow fresh vegetables for distribution through the in-parish food pantry and local food bank. Social Ministry oversees an Emergency Assistance Program and annual Shepherd’s Gate Grant Program. Through Shepherd's Gate, over $500,000 has been distributed to more than 100 non-profit organizations in the past ten years. Good Shepherd's long-standing commitment to outreach resulted in two independent nonprofit agencies that continue to serve the local community: Good Shepherd Housing and Progreso Literacy and Citizenship Center. In 2015, we entered into a grant program with Good Shepherd Housing and United Community Ministries. A portion of the $60,000 emergency assistance funds budgeted ($32,000) is granted to these community partners which they match at 100%.
e. The parish offertory has increased. Parishioners show consistent dedication to the growth of the parish through overall giving. (graph) During the recent capital campaign, we anticipated a reduction in offertory as parishioners’ financial resources were spread between Offertory and the Campaign. We experienced a slight decrease in Offertory, but a very strong commitment to paying the Campaign pledges and paying them early. The loan will be paid off ahead of schedule, saving interest expenses. Offertory is positively impacted by our partnership with Faith Direct (FD); over 50% of total giving is via FD. Current offertory is above budget projections as a result of the Parish Offertory Renewal Program, and the parish exceeded both its dollar and participation goals in the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal.
f. Number of ministries and volunteers has grown. For nearly a decade, the parish has maintained approximately 150 active ministries in English and Spanish, involving all aspects of parish life - liturgy, music, service to the parish and to the community, faith formation for all ages and hospitality/fellowship. We are blessed that approximately 25% of our parishioners are active volunteers. Over 200 catechists teach 1,300 youth and adults; we have 500 liturgical ministers; parishioners donate 75,000 pounds of food to two food pantries and an in-house pantry; and we prepare 2,500 meals for the homeless. Our annual International Festival, a three-day event in its 41st year, is volunteer-led with over 250 volunteers. Our Quarterly and Annual Reports provide information on all our vibrant activity.
g. Parish leadership attends regional, diocesan and/or ICSC offered Stewardship conferences, workshops, institutes, webinars, etc. Parish leaders attend the ICSC conference, the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) and Diocesan sponsored training. In 2016, our Director of Faith Formation received a Master of Science in Church Management from Villanova University, a program led by Charles Zech, a recognized authority on Stewardship.
GSCC Application (Main page)
8. General assessment
9. Supporting Materials