Our Sacred Mission
Empowered by the Eucharist, we humbly commit ourselves as a welcoming community to grow in faith and share Christ’s love through our joyful witness and selfless stewardship.
Letter from our Parochial Administrator, Fr. Josh Swallows:
Dear Most Precious Blood Family,
When I first arrived at the parish a little over a year ago, I was amazed at the sheer number of goals being pursued and the abundance of leaders and teams we had working on various projects. I also had to take time to learn about all the work that was being done for Next Generation Parish, along with our parish priorities and goals. Much of this was brought to a screeching halt, initially due to my arrival as the new Parochial Administrator, and then, by the pandemic. I am writing this email first and foremost to thank all those who have been doing so much for our parish (I was told of the incredible amount of planning and work that went into all of this), who really did not get to see the full fruit of their labor. I know I have personally benefited from your efforts in many ways. On behalf of the parish and staff, thank you!
Second, I wanted to address where we go from here. Obviously, a lot of the practical goals are completely different now. Finding safe ways to allow people to return to Mass became a pivotal goal. Now we are focusing on finding ways to open up more of our ministries. However, even if the practical applications have been altered, I wanted you to know that I am still committed to our priorities. What I mean by that is we still have our first priority of forming disciples, while we accomplish it in new ways. We are still striving for unity and still seeking to build. Know that we continue to utilize your work in our planning. Also, we were originally scheduled to conduct another parish survey in February for Next Generation Parish. This has been postponed. It is possible we will do it later in the year. For the time being, we are asking the Priority Teams not to meet until we complete our next survey.
For those of you who are new to the Parish or simply have not learned about the depth of work that was being done in forming and striving to accomplish our parish priority plan, I have included a brief summary of all of the amazing work that has been done for our Most Precious Blood parish, including some of my own thoughts after my first year as your Parochial Administrator.
Once again, to everyone who has served in our Priority Teams, thank you for your time, your efforts, and your love and dedication to the Lord and to our parish.
Priority Team #1 – Form Intentional Disciples
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
– Matthew 28:18
Original Team: Angelo Guevara, John Fecko, John Molloy, Kathleen Maiorano, Lisa Twardowski, Marta Negron, Miguel Herrera, Mike Bradica, Tanya AmRhein, Tina Lee, Pam Slogar
Increase from 170 to at least 250 the number of people who identify “My relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important relationship in my life,” as measured by the DMI in February 2021
Increase from 119 to at least 200 the number of parishioners sharing their personal faith story “monthly or more often” as measured by the DMI in February 2021.
Equip 30 parish leaders in the what, why, and how of intentional discipleship by March 2021.
Summary of the work Priority Team 1 has done:
From the beginning, Most Precious Blood parishioners expressed a deep desire for a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, a greater understanding of their Catholic faith, and daily application to their lives. This thirst has paved a pathway for forming intentional disciples.
Priority Team 1 began with intercessory prayer, not only within the team, but with prayer intentions at every Mass. Parishioners joined in praying specifically for our parish priorities, vision, and goals. A strategy was developed for having the chapel open 24/7 for prayer. Implementation was put on hold due to the pandemic and concerns over security with people accessing the chapel late at night.
A Parish Leadership Summit was held in 2019. This Leadership Summit was realigned with our parish priorities and was very well received. It served as a day of spiritual reflection, in addition to offering practical approaches for parish leadership going forward in their ministries.
Priority Team 1 successfully cultivated a parish culture of recognizing and sharing God moments. This is attested to by the many experiences of God moments that were submitted by parishioners in boxes placed at the entrances to the Parish Life Center. These testimonies were published in our weekly bulletin and served as an inspiration to many. Sharing God moments was something integrated into every parish ministry and incorporated into all parish activities. Parishioners have grown accustomed to sharing their personal witness of small daily moments of God’s presence. The personal witness of parishioners on a regular basis has born much fruit in helping to form intentional disciples.
My own thoughts:
The Priority Team 1 aim of forming intentional disciples is at the heart of the Church’s mission. As most of you know, I was with Most Precious Blood at its beginning, as I was the lay campus minister at the University of Central Florida and we shared the same Pastor, Father (now Bishop!) Stephen Parkes. I have always loved this community. If someone had asked me, even back then, on how I would characterize Most Precious Blood, I would have described a vibrant passion to grow in the Faith, an amazing willingness to serve found in so many of the people, and hospitality. That spirit continues. It was awesome to see the efforts being conducted towards deepening our relationship with Christ, all the while growing in our ability and willingness to share our faith with others. I am obviously biased, but I think we are a “happening” place.
The most obvious place I witnessed the work of Priority Team 1 was in the sharing of “God moments”. When I joined the parish as the parochial administrator, it was literally happening in every meeting I went to, and it was awesome! Priority Team 1, thank you so much for all of your work.
Obviously, this past year brought unprecedented challenges. The practical ways that we pursue our goal right now of forming intentional disciples has had to be reimagined. When I first saw this priority, I even had some other ideas that might be exciting for the parish, such as forming our own style of parish retreat, but knew that would have to wait. But I am so thankful we continue to have Mass together, and slowly but surely ministries are coming back that we have missed so much, because they are such a grace in our lives. We continue every day of our lives towards our goal of being intentional disciples.
Priority Team #2 – Unite in One Vision
Original Team: Andy Ayoob, Kim Abo, Margie Clayton, Laurel Fecko, Todd Freece, Paula Leidich Janette Martinez, Liliana Nino, Fran Stadler
At least 500 parish families commit annually to the parish vision by October 2021.
At least 20 new families are shepherded by existing families by October 2019.
Summary of the work done by Priority Team 2:
Priority Team 2’s aim of uniting in one vision is an integral part of the ministry of Jesus. We are called to be disciples and follow Christ (Priority 1), and we do so within the context of a family that we are born into through Baptism. Christ calls us into Communion, both with God and with one another.
Priority Team 2 helped communicate broadly Most Precious Blood’s Vision and Core Values to our parishioners. The “Empowered by the Eucharist” prayer petitioned that our vision for the parish be realized. Moving together in unity is essential to achieve any parish goal.
One of the first things Priority Team 2 did was look at our Core Values of Grow Deep, Reach Wide, Share Blessings and Seek Unity. These were further developed into simple behaviors that every parishioner could embrace in their everyday life. In October of 2019, the team helped develop the Commitment Card that gave all parishioners the opportunity to reflect and commit both spiritually and financially. Over 300 Commitment Cards were returned to the parish.
Our Shepherding Families actions were aligned with the Households of Faith ministry. Newly registered, Faith Formation, and Sacramental families were being invited to participate. COVID-19 restrictions halted the team’s formal meetings since February 2020, however the focus on our MPB Vision and Core Values continues in parish communication (Bulletin, Social media, etc.) and in our prayers. As our parish families return to regular mass attendance and ministry participation, our prayer and priority is to ensure that all find Most Precious Blood to be:
“a welcoming community to grow in faith and share Christ’s love through our joyful witness and selfless stewardship.”
My own thoughts:
I love the people here. When I first got assigned to Most Precious Blood I had a lot of conversations with Bishop Parkes, and I remember the description he gave of the parish: “it as a place that loves community and just loves being together.” He is right!
Uniting in one vision is an awesome priority, and a very “Catholic” one in that it is ultimately a desire for communion. For all of those who did so much work in developing our vision on the Priority Team 2 team, please know I am so grateful for you and all your work. It was deeply important. This is the reason why even after the pandemic, when the practical things we were trying to accomplish all changed, the priority of staying united remains. Do we all remember the four marks of the Church? They are: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic…One!
I really see this as one of our parish’s greatest strengths. We have a commitment to working to become that family we know God has called us to become. I hope that this year brings many more opportunities for us to spend time together once again, and we can return to more social events. I pray for this. But in the meantime, we continue to worship together, and find other ways to connect.
I realize too that a huge part of the goal of uniting in one vision falls on me. Please pray for me, that the Lord would give me the Wisdom to do a good job of shepherding the parish. We continue our commitment to unity.
Priority 3 – Prepare to Build a Welcome Center
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” -1 John. 5:14
Original Team: Kathy Weise, Mike AmRhein. Ron Artinger, Dave Camous, Bert Karpinski, Karen Monteleone, Dan Murphy, Danny Negron, Theresa Nowotny, PJ Sutch
Meet diocesan financial conditions by 10/2020 to build a Welcome Center
Prepare for Capital Campaign to begin fundraising by 10/2020