Meeting people’s spiritual needs is foundational to engaging them in deep and living faith. Yet, as I have talked with parish and diocesan leaders about this in the past few years, this seems a consistent challenge. We know, for instance, that the Mass and our sacramental life are vital to people’s spiritual lives. We wonder, however, how to help them grow in appreciation of Christ’s sacramental presence in their daily lives. There are many similar connections we think people may be missing, such as participation in faith formation or in service and outreach. All of these elements of our pastoral life are important as people become more committed disciples, yet many seem to miss the connections. What are the best practices around all of this? How might we learn from each other?

My proposal:  As I have thought about this with many pastors and pastoral staff members, I have come to the conclusion that we could all benefit from learning from our members and from each other. Author Al Winseman of the Gallup Organization suggests that we draw people together in focus groups to hear their spiritual needs and learn how we might best meet those needs within our parish communities. I propose that we do this as leaders together, through a survey that parish leaders may share with their members. The survey invites people to identify the ways in which their spiritual needs are being met, and will give them an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams with us. Every parish that participates will receive a summary of its members’ responses, and I will share the best practices and hopes with all at the conclusion of the survey process. You may download a copy of the survey by clicking on this link. (Word format) Link here for a PDF of the survey.

Share the Survey: The survey is available via the link hereI invite you to take the survey now, so that you may discern the benefit of sharing it with your parishioners.  When your parish is ready to participate in the survey, designate a contact person and ask that person to click on the button below to register your parish to participate. I will add your parish name to the survey, so that you may receive your parishioners' responses to the survey. You may also give those who do not have internet access the printed survey. I believe we have much to learn from each other, and hope that you will take this opportunity to contribute to the on-going process of building a more engaging Church! The survey is offered in English and Spanish.

Finally, know that I hold you and all in your parish in my prayers. Please let me know if I can be of help along the way. I am committed to supporting you as you cultivate the good soil of your parish’s life in which God’s love may take root. May God bless and keep you and all you serve, Leisa Anslinger


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