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Beginning on May 1, Catholics across central and southern Indiana can complete an online survey to help provide whoever is appointed the new shepherd of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis a clear picture of the local Church.
The survey, which will be available in Burmese, English and Spanish, is part of the archdiocesan pastoral needs assessment that Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin commissioned shortly before his ministry in the archdiocese ended and he was installed as the archbishop of Newark, N.J.
“We want to make sure that people know that there is an opportunity to participate in this, and to say what they believe are the strengths and areas for improvement in the Church,” said Father Joseph Feltz, executive director of the archdiocesan office for clergy, religious and parish life coordinators.
Father Feltz has coordinated the listening sessions and interviews that have been part of the pastoral assessment since it began in February. Washington-based GP Catholic Services has conducted the assessment.
Eight listening sessions were held in Batesville, Indianapolis, Lanesville, Seymour and Terre Haute, and other group sessions and individual interviews tapped into the wisdom and perspective of local Church leaders. In total, input was received from nearly 300 people.
Father Feltz helped lead a listening session in Terre Haute and has seen feedback from the other sessions. He has been impressed by what he’s seen.
“It’s a blessing to see some of the initial fruits of this,” he said. “It reminds us of how diverse we are as an archdiocese. We have urban parishes that are in some of the poorest areas of this city. Then we’ve got rural parishes and everything in between. That’s instructive and illuminating.”
Priests serving in the archdiocese will have the opportunity to contribute to the assessment later this month.
The online survey will be the same as those completed during the listening sessions. It will be available to be completed from May 1-May 19.
It asks participants to list the strengths and areas for improvement in five areas of the life of the archdiocese: prayer and worship; evangelization and education in the faith; family and community; service to the poor and marginalized; and stewardship of resources.
Brief catechetical introductions will explain each of these areas in the online survey.
The survey will provide the last segment of information that staff members at GP Catholic Services will use in compiling the assessment’s final report, which will be presented to the new archbishop once he is appointed. The report is expected to be completed by the end of June.
“What a blessing it’s going to be for the new archbishop to have this snapshot of us, who we are as a Church,” Father Feltz said. “Whoever this person is who’s named our archbishop, he’s going to come away after reviewing that document knowing us better. It can also help him … establish what his priorities are for us.”
With this in mind, Father Feltz encouraged Catholics across central and southern Indiana to complete the online survey.
“Each and every parishioner in the parishes is a member of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,” he said. “There’s a certain responsibility to let a new archbishop know that this is who we are. This is some of the great things that we are. But then there are some areas where we need to continue growing to be true to our mission of spreading the Gospel message.”
(The online survey for the archdiocesan pastoral needs assessment will be available from May 1-19 in Burmese, English and Spanish. Links to all three surveys can be found at www.archindy.org/survey.) †