More than 400 St. Thomas More parishioners and community members participated in the St. Thomas More Parish Assembly on December 4 to grow parish leadership and respond to the needs of the community.
The event organized with COPS/Metro was part of a worldwide call from Pope Francis to “journey together” through a synod process. Participants shared struggles like neighborhood crime, isolation, and living without a place to call “home,” and leaders called on those present to transform the church and act on their responsibility for all people within their parish boundaries.
Leaders held conversations over eight months with more than 250 parishioners, teachers, youth, and others around questions like “how do we ‘journey together’ and how can we better ‘journey together’ in the future?” and “how did the pandemic affect you and your family?”
The themes that emerged were discussed at the assembly — many people don’t know each other, parishioners and 30 children at a nearby elementary school are homeless, many parishioners are homebound and otherwise isolated, and there is a strong interest in supporting youth and the homebound, developing relationships and becoming more welcoming, and to listen to and support neighbors in the community — especially the most vulnerable. The congregation is in the 78218 zip code, where one in six residents live in poverty, within the poorest metropolitan area in the country.
The call to action was for all to participate in the life of the parish, to strengthen the church with their time, talent, and treasure to build relationships to respond to the community needs. Fr. Mike English, in his assembly homily proclaimed, “The wind of the Holy Spirit stokes the fire within us — prompting us to action — prompting us to new action. As the fire is stoked — it provides greater warmth and light to those around.”
Religious leaders present included Sr. Jane Ann Slater, CDP; Father David Garcia, Father Mike DeGerolami, Father Jim Schellenberg and Father Mike English.