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Spiritual Growth & Liturgy

Parish Action Plan Success Stories – Spiritual Growth and Liturgy

Objective: Evaluate, develop, and plan liturgical and spiritual development opportunities that promote individual spiritual growth and an increase in holiness, while facilitating active participation by the faithful in the celebration of the liturgy.

Parish Action Plans

Holy Family, Missouri City

Action Plan:
Charter an ACTS group

Success Story:
As a result of Holy Family parishioners attending ACTS retreats, workshops and leadership meetings throughout the Archdiocese, the Pastoral Council decided to charter its own ACTS group. The parish found this initiated more communications between the English and Spanish speaking parishioners. View the video about this success story.

Web site: holyfamilychurch.us

Holy Ghost, Houston (West)

Action Plan:
Develop spiritual development opportunities through prayer and Eucharistic Adoration.

Success Story:
Holy Ghost is promoting growth in prayer life. Morning prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) is held weekday mornings in the church. The parish sourced reproducible booklets for the prayers through the Internet. The parish also holds Eucharistic Adoration monthly that begins with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Web site: holyghostchurch.net

Holy Rosary, Houston (Downtown)

Action Plan:
Foster a Spirituality of Communion in the sacrament of marriage and plan parish events that enrich couples’ marriages.

Success Story:
Holy Rosary’s St. Valentine’s Marriage Guild created opportunities to include Spirituality of Communion messages for engaged and married couples. Activities included:
• An Italian dinner with Deacon Tom Vicknair, the leader of Marriage Matters!, as the guest speaker.
• A Lenten meal and reflection after the Sunday Vigil Mass
• A family picnic and barbecue.

These events have been instrumental in helping the parish’s married couples appreciate the goodness of their Sacrament as well as make new friends. Future events are planned.

Web site: holyrosaryparish.org

Prince of Peace, Houston (Northwest)

Action Plan:
Spread the Gospel message each week across all available media including the bulletin, electronic screens, homily, Facebook, and Twitter.

Success Story:
A reflection question about the Gospel is published on the screens in the Church between Masses. Parishioners have said the question draws them into the Gospel message and is something they look forward to. Many also use the question as a point of discussion after Mass. Everyone in the parish, from the pastor who designs the questions to the Twitter followers, has their own private opportunity to reflect on the question but it has also served as a point of unity for parishioners.

Web site: pophouston.org

Queen of Peace, La Marque

Action Plan:
Provide more spiritual development opportunities to parishioners and the community-at-large.

Success Story:
Parishioners offer a spiritual bouquet of prayers with different intentions monthly. A Eucharistic Adoration is also held every Friday at the parish.

Adult bible classes are held every Sunday and Monday. The classes are filled to capacity and parish leaders are delighted more parishioners are involved and being nourished with the Word of God.

Sacred Heart, Crosby

Action Plan #1:
Promote liturgical and spiritual development through a variety of activities.

Success Story #1:
The parish promotes liturgical and spiritual development through praying the Rosary before Mass, Catholicism DVDs and installing acolytes. The end result is more parishioners getting involved in other aspects of the Masses and church community.

Also, the Homily is published via social media prior to Mass. This helps prepare parishioners for the Gospel message. It also gives time to develop a Spanish translation of the Homily for a "whisper translation" performed real time at all Masses. The parish also purchased missalettes in Spanish.

Action Plan #2:
Provide a model of reverence to the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Success Story #2:
Prayer is promoted using the resources of the Legion of Mary (members of the Legion of Mary become instruments of the Holy Spirit through a balanced program of prayer and service). Another focus for the parish is confession. Kneelers have been placed in front of the Blessed Sacrament for penance.

Web site: sacredheartcrosby.org

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Houston (Cy-Fair)

Action Plan:
Promote a Spirituality of Communion focus in the liturgy and other means.

Success Story:
Father educated the task force using the Archdiocese's Fostering a Spirituality of Communion materials. The task force then developed a primary objective and elements of a campaign, including both a liturgical focus (environment, homilies, Prayers of the Faithful, speakers at Mass) as well as communication channels available to publicize the campaign. The campaign materials and events included signage, web site information, guest speakers, and weekly bulletin inserts.

Also, multicultural statues of our Blessed Lady adorn the chapel where the parish holds Adoration 24/7. This has sparked dialogue as parishioners seek to understand the story and culture behind the different statues.

Web site: seascatholic.org

St. Laurence, Sugar Land

Action Plan:
Engage parishioners in spiritual growth and holiness through Small Faith Communities.

Success Story:
The parish developed Small Faith Communities that meet in parishioner’s homes during Lent. More than 500 parishioners participated.

Web site: stlaurence.org

St. Martha, Kingwood

Action Plan #1:
Improve retention of the Word using PowerPoint slides during homilies.

Success Story #1:
Priests and deacons use PowerPoint slides/pictures to further the homily message. Not only has this improved the retention of the homily, it is allowing the parish to reach across the cultures and ages and bring people closer to Christ.

Action Plan #2:
Assist in the development of personal prayer by offering spiritual development opportunities.

Success Story #2:
In a Parish Action Plan writing session, seven parishioners acknowledged the churchgoers’ hunger for developing better prayer lives. The group created a series of workshops on prayer, using methods of prayer that the average person could begin to practice immediately.

These workshops were held on consecutive Tuesday evenings that focused on the following four methods of prayer:
•  The Jesus Prayer
•  Praying with Icons
•  Ignatian Spirituality (Praying with Imagination)
•  Eucharistic Adoration
Action Plan #3:
Focus on special devotions, especially from all cultures represented within the parish.

Success Story #3:
A committee was formed of three representatives each from the Anglo and Hispanic communities to share ideas and to develop a program. Both groups learned much from the planning process and developed a better understanding of each group’s perspective for the Blessed Mother. The group focused on two devotions: The Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) and Posada in an effort to bring together the Anglo and Hispanic communities.

The end result was a parish celebration, not just a Hispanic celebration. It stimulated a sense of unity.

Action Plan #4:
Deepen spiritual experience for the youth of the parish.

Success Story #4:
Students at Kingwood High School formed a Catholic Club, F+SHS (Father, Son and Holy Spirit Club), with the purpose of sharing their faith with like-minded individuals. The students also had a desire for a day of reflection, which was organized using materials adapted from another Action Plan, where the participants could develop a closer relationship with our Lord.
This all began among a few amazing teenagers with a yearning for a closer relationship with God. Leveraging the successes from the Parish Action Plans allowed the team to quickly develop this follow-on day of reflection.

Web site: stmartha.com

St. Raphael the Archangel, Houston (Woodlake/Briar Meadow)

Action Plan #1:
Create programs around faith formation.

Success Story #1:
The new programs are:

• Conduct pre-baptism classes at the parish rather than sending parishioners to St. Dominic Center
• Formed a new prayer group for families with Virtus trained facilitators
• Started a Charismatic group
• Hold a night adoration group
• Incorporate Legion of Mary activities.
These undertakings are attracting many new volunteers.

Action Plan #2:
Form multi-lingual bible study classes.

Success Story #2:
Started evening Bible study in Spanish reading scriptures from the Holy Bible. Participation in the classes continues to grow prompting the addition of more classes.

Sts. Simon & Jude, The Woodlands

Action Plan:
Partner with “sister” parish on multi-cultural activities.

Success Story:
In cooperation with St. Anthony of Padua, teams developed a Hispanic Ministry Council that delivers Spanish liturgy and access to Spanish Sacraments, as required, at both parishes every weekend. The parishes hired a bilingual retired priest and share the cost. The parish is also pleased to see former parishioners returning, who had migrated to other parishes offering a Spanish Mass.

Web site: www.ssjwoodlands.com