For the first time, faithful throughout the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland have an opportunity to participate in a survey allowing them to reflect on their spiritual growth and discipleship and to help assess the spiritual health of parish life.
A Disciple Maker Index survey tool can be accessed through links provided to parishioners by each parish or by visiting the Parish Life Office’s Missionary Discipleship page on the diocesan website, clicking on the "Called for More" tab on the left side, then clicking on the icon for the survey and selecting your parish.The survey also can be accessed here.
Deadline to complete the survey is March 21. Those without access to a computer can receive a paper copy of the survey by contacting their parish and can return the completed survey to the parish.
Lynette Saenz of the Parish Life Office said the survey is confidential. Each person who participates will remain anonymous.
“We want everyone to participate,” she said, encouraging people to share the link with others in their parish or another parish. “Everyone has a different perspective on parish life so the more information we receive, the more data there will be to help pastors plan for the future.”
The survey was developed by the Catholic Leadership Institute, a Pennsylvania-based organization founded in 1991 by a group of successful Catholic businessmen. Its vision is that God’s gift to them is their potential, and what they do with it is their gift back to God. CLI offers a priestly leadership training program; supports leadership through programs for bishops, lay leaders, seminarians and other Church leaders; offers diocesan consulting services; vision planning; goal setting; evangelization and discipleship training and more.
Dan Cellucci, CEO of CLI, said the survey is a pilot program funded by an endowment. “The goal is to help parishes and priests thrive in ministry,” he said.
The Cleveland Diocese is one of 40 in the United States and Canada to participate in the survey. He estimated 1,500 parishes are involved, amounting to more than 250,000 parishioners. The survey is available in 14 languages.
“The survey asks people where they are in their relationship with the Lord, their faith and their parish. It offers a snapshot to parishes about where they are and will give information to help them figure out where they will go with their ministry,” Cellucci added.
He first connected with the diocese a few years ago while teaching a sabbatical class in Rome. Father Dan Schlegel, diocesan vicar for clergy and religious, was in the class and they stayed in touch, Cellucci said. He also has had a long relationship with Philadelphia Archbishop – and former Cleveland Bishop -- Nelson Perez, who participated in a CLI leadership program during the early years of his priesthood in Pennsylvania.
Saenz and Cellucci said the seeds for the survey were sown a couple of years ago, while Archbishop Perez was still leading the Cleveland Diocese. The idea was presented to and approved by the Presbyteral Council and other diocesan leaders before the survey was offered. Because of the grant CLI received, there is no cost for the diocese to participate in this survey.
The goal is to have all data collected before Holy Week, Saenz said, so CLI can prepare it for distribution to parishes after Easter.
“Each parish will get its own results,” Cellucci said, noting the results are unique to that parish. However, pastors will be able to view overall trends and make comparisons with similar parishes such as those in urban, rural or suburban areas.
Saenz said the diocese is planning a series of three different webinars for pastors and parish leaders to view after they receive their survey results.
“They will get resources for pastoral planning,” she said, which will be aimed at helping parishes plan for the future.