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Pastoral Council Minutes – March 2018

St. Stephen the Martyr Pastoral Council


March 27, 2018


The regularly scheduled meeting of the Pastoral Council of Saint Stephen the Martyr  (“Council”) was held on March 27, 2018, at 7:00 PM, Central Daylight Time, in the Gonderinger Parish Center.

I. Call to Order

President Aaron Keller called the meeting to order.  Hope DeLuca, Secretary, recorded minutes of the meeting.

II. Roll Call

The following members of the Council were present:

  • Father Dave Belt
  • Dean Baumert
  • Katie Corrigan
  • Hope DeLuca
  • Aaron Keller
  • Mike Maier
  • Deb Saraka-Rubin
  • Michael White
  • Nancy Williams


The following members of the Council were absent:

  • Greg Weiss

III. Opening Prayer

Mr. Baumert led the Council in a prayer to open the meeting.


IV. Approval of Minutes

Mr. Keller presented to the Council the minutes of the February 27, 2018 meeting of the Council, whereupon motion duly made, seconded and unanimously adopted.


V. Unfinished/Ongoing Business



Operations and Faith Formation Report

  • Dcn. Warwick is evaluating the maintenance staffing. The owner of the cleaning service we use is a parishioner, and has provided a proposal for the work that needs to be done.
  • We are looking at the possibility of renting out our space for baptism receptions, birthdays, etc.
  • Father is looking at restructuring the staff. Hopefully he will have someone in place to oversee the use of the facilities.
  • Side note: the Facilities Use Policy is done and approved.
  • Dcn. Warwick and Dr. Williby have been working together on the safety evaluations for our buildings. Two additional law enforcement professionals will do a walk through and provide their recommendations.
  • Home and School had a very good speaker come in and talk about safety concerns. It was encouraging.



Stewardship and Development Report

  • The numbers look great on paper. How do they translate into souls on fire for Christ? How do you measure holiness? Its not about bodies, but about hearts.
  • The Divine Renovation book gives good insight on measuring engagement. Is that data helpful? A lot of it (holiness) can’t be measured.
  • The Disciple Maker Index was ineffective. It polled mostly older parishioners, and did not give a true picture of our parish. The Archdiocese will be looking at another avenue to collect this data, possibly with Gallup.
  • Can we track new members added to our parish quarterly? It would be a good way to see how we’re growing. Can this data be added to the Stewardship and Development Report?
  • The topic of having a Welcoming Committee was brought up. We believe St. Stephen used to have something in place, but it doesn’t seem to be active now. Compared to surrounding parishes, its something we are lacking. It could make us initially more attractive for those that come to St. Stephen’s for the first time. Father recalls the Emmaus program when he was here in the beginning of his priesthood. It was based in neighborhoods. They welcome new moms with meals, gave food baskets for folks that moved into the neighborhood and had neighborhood Masses. It went by the wayside. The Divine Renovation book talked about starting the Alpha program. How do we welcome folks to our parish? How do we make it feel like a small town?



Business Report

  • The targeted finish date on our mortgage is June of 2019. This is without doubling up on payments.



Pastoral Vision Update

  • The committee met yesterday.
  • Mr. DeLuca had consolidated the results of the Listening Sessions and came up with a proposed survey. Once its approved, it will go to the parishioners.
  • The survey will wrap up by the end of April.
  • The committee will analyze the results, and will then move to prioritization and planning.
  • If the survey only hits one demographic, they will go back and try to get the missing demographics.
  • It would be interesting to know if the feedback we are getting is from school, non-school, and/or public school families within that age bracket.
  • The committee talked about providing an annual report card on the data.



Adoration Space

  • Electricians came and took photos of the space as it is currently. Lighting will need to be reconfigured. The architectural firm is working on scenarios and price ranges. We are looking for minimal costs on this project.
  • We have the refurbished tabernacle. It will be used for the first time on Holy Thursday.



Welcome Retreat

  • Both the women’s and men’s retreats went really well. Many were excited about their experiences during the retreat.



VI. Father Belt’s Report

Senior Leadership Team

  • Father is moving forward with establishing a leadership team. It will be made up of staff members. Its been a slow process.
  • Support staff will be shuffled around and changing job descriptions.
  • Father has been meeting every week with part of the team that’s place so far
  • They will coordinate ministries under them. Father will be responsible for five people, and everything will go down from there.
  • The leadership team will be tactical. They’ve given great advice so far.
  • Father is enlisting the help of Dcn. Luna as well in this process of team building.



  • Evangelization needs to grow. We need to look at staffing in that area. We have good bible studies and groups. We need evangelization effort, which is different. We have nothing for 20-40 year olds. How do we care for our young adults, singles, young married or young moms and dads? Young Catholic Professionals will be starting at St. Stephen’s. Katie Garret will be heading that up. She represents the Omaha Chapter.



  • The new principal is in place. Father talks with her every other day. She’s got a lot of energy and is ready to go. She has 23 years of experience in Catholic education. She’s already working on things our school.
  • Father is now narrowing down the field for assistant principal.
  • We currently have five positions to fill for next year. The teachers have until April 15th to renew their contracts.
  • Mid-April is the targeted to have the assistant principal in place.
  • Enrollment has begun for the school and RE.
  • Due to all the changes in the past year, we budgets for no increase in enrollment. Kindergarten enrollment looks encouraging so far.
  • The school is now on the Archdiocese schedule. It will have the same school year schedule as Skutt Catholic High School.

VII Council Election 2018

  • Votes were cast for the new president.
  • Mr. Weiss stepped out of the race, due to his family leaving the parish in a few months.
  • The new president-elect is Mr. Baumert.
  • Mr. Maier will stay on for one more year, to finish Mr. Weiss’s term.
  • What are our needs on the Council? We’d like to have a young adult on the Council. We’d also like to have someone in the prime-timer age range as well, that knows the history of the parish.
  • It would be great to possibly have a communication/marketing person as well.
  • We need parishioners that will think big picture. We are in a planning phase right now.
  • Keller will followup with an email talking about what we’re looking for in filing out the open Council seats. There will be no election, as it will be a selection process going forward.

VIII. Revisions to the Constitution

  • If there’s additional changes, they need to go Mr. Weiss to fix. The final constitution will be presented to the Council at the next meeting for approval.
  • There is not an Archdiocesan delegate in place, and that line will be stricken from the document. The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council or APC is not yet in place. Archbishop Lucas is working on that.
  • A recommendation was given to list broad categories of the ministries, but not everything specifically. Then we don’t have the change the constitution every time a ministry is added or deleted.
  • Guidance on the constitution talks about having an education component at all of our meetings. We have not done that up to this point. We could possibly have a board member responsible for that each time. We need to continue to nurture ourselves. We could also do a fall retreat as a Council.
  • We will sign the constitution at the next meeting after corrections are made.

IX. For the Good of the Council

  • Mass/dinner for the Council will take place on May 22. Families will be included. More details are to come.
  • Elections for secretary and vice president will take place during that May meeting.
  • Please start praying for our new Council members.

X. Closing

Being no other business, the Council closed the meeting with the Prayer for Vocations.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:53 pm.


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