Progress Update – Implementation of Recommendations in our Parish’s Renewal and Service Report

TO:  All Parishioners
FROM: St. Mary’s Polish Parish Planning Team
RE:    Progress Update – Implementation of Recommendations in our Parish’s Renewal and Service Report
DATE:  July 2012

The Parish Planning Team was established following the meeting of all parishioners on January 29, 2012, when volunteers were requested. The Planning Team’s mandate was to develop, in consultation with parishioners, a strategic plan for the next three years, to help coordinate its implementation, and to assist with 100th anniversary activities. The Planning Team reports to Father Paul and the Finance Committee, and is committed to keeping all parishioners informed and engaged.

The strategic plan referred to above is the Renewal and Service report, which was completed at the end of February after drafts were circulated for input. We tried to incorporate all the points you shared with us and to pace the work in a logical way.

The members of the Planning Team, in alphabetical order, are Marjorie Ardelli, Wayne Joseph, Carolyn Kiley, Toni LaRusic, Shari McKay, Tony Melski, Krista Ann Starzomski, Elaine Tynski-Shipley, and Tom Urbaniak. (It is important to note that other parishioners are participating actively on various project-specific working groups, such as the Liturgical Committee and Tours/Commemorations Working Group. And it is also important to acknowledge the leadership team on the Finance Committee, which continues to work very hard and whose dedication long pre-dates the present activities.)

Overall, the parish has made very good progress, in a short time, implementing a number of the Renewal and Service recommendations. This is a tribute to everyone in our community. We have all been working together in a positive and inspiring way.

The following are some highlights:

1. 100th ANNIVERSARY (2013): Initiatives are already underway.
  • Work on the 100th anniversary cookbook has begun, which will include descriptions of our religious and cultural celebrations and traditions. Thank you to Editor Shari McKay. Please contact Shari by July 27 if you would like to help with any of the contents.
  • We are planning centenary service projects: We have had discussions with the Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes about parish volunteer days and with the Whitney Pier Youth Club about cooking classes that could be offered by members of our parish. Both organizations were very receptive. There will have to be some additional planning and appropriate forms to sign for participants.
  • The parish family reunions will take place on the weekend of August 10-11, 2013. Please spread the word to family members near and far.
  • The main centenary Mass will be on Sunday, September 8, 2013.
  • CBU has been able to assign (at no cost to the parish) two summer research assistants this year to help prepare on-line and tangible interpretive exhibits and do interviews on our parish history.
  • Elaine Tynski-Shipley is working on the 100th anniversary commemorative postage stamp. We will be taking pre-orders this fall.
  • The conference of the Canadian Polish Research Institute – in honour of our centenary -- is scheduled for the beginning of July (2013).
  • Attached is a proposed 100th anniversary logo. It was designed by Joseph Tynski (who now lives in Kanata, Ontario but maintains a close connection to our church) with input from the Planning Team and the Tours/Commemorations Working Group. Click on the logo for a larger version.

2. ST. MARY’S POLISH FESTIVAL: Responding to the feedback of parishioners, we will be reviving the festival this year, and it will of course also be included next year in the centenary celebrations. It will take place this year on our church grounds on Sunday, September 9, following Mass. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation has made a grant to the parish of $1,000 to assist. More details will follow.


GREETERS/WELCOMING COMMITTEE: Many thanks to coordinators Marjorie Ardelli and Carolyn Kiley and to the dedicated team of greeters. You have made all parishioners and visitors feel welcome. The special touches during the blessing of the Easter baskets and Corpus Christi were also much appreciated. A brochure explaining our history has been developed for visitors to the church.

Paul Tynski, Marilyn Gillis, and Joe Gillis have put together a guided tour, including artifacts for display. Delegates attending the Nova Scotia Heritage Conference recently received this tour – along with a splendid Polish lunch prepared by Peggy Ryba and the Hospitality Committee.  The tour will serve as a template for delegations that visit us for the 100th anniversary.

4. WEBSITE: Thank you to webmaster Chris Shipley. Our website ( is professionally designed and informative. We have requested and received a link to our website from the diocesan website. Suggestions for additional contents are always welcomed.

5. RECOGNIZING IMIENINY (NAME DAYS): This has been done, although we heard from parishioners that they would be more comfortable if it were simply listed in the bulletin and not singled out at the end of Mass. We acted accordingly.

6. LITURGICAL COMMITTEE: The recently formed committee, consisting of Jean Annette White (Chair), Ursula Melski, Teresa Fagan, Lynette Ryba, Elaine Tynski-Shipley and Paul Tynski, did an excellent job on planning the Corpus Christi celebrations. The committee’s assistance will be sought for other major celebrations.

7. “FRIENDS OF ST. MARY’S POLISH PARISH”: We have been building an e-mail database of people interested in receiving parish updates and invitations. Paula Michalik has kindly volunteered to do outreach to families of Polish descent in the Glace Bay area. To sign someone up to be a “friend of St. Mary’s Polish Parish,” please ask them to write their coordinates on the bottom of the inside page of the welcome brochure (which can be picked up at the back of the church) or please send the coordinates to

8. “BEST PRACTICES” IN PLANNING: To keep us effective as a St. Mary’s Polish Parish Planning Team, we will be working with Excellence Canada (National Quality Institute) on Level 1 certification (recognizing excellence in organizational planning), which would be an important distinction for our parish.


OUTREACH TO THE BISHOP: A process of ongoing, constructive dialogue has been proposed to Bishop Dunn in a letter sent on June 12. We are still awaiting a response. We believe it is important that this dialogue take place.

We welcome everyone’s continued input and assistance as we work together to implement the other recommendations in our parish’s Service and Renewal report. Please feel free to speak with any of the Planning Team members. God bless! Bóg zapłać.