Fr James Dalton
FR. JAMES DALTON
Father Jim was named Pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in July 1997. He immediately began a series of listening sessions with various parish groups to become familiar with the needs and expectations of parishioners. In conjunction with the archdiocesan "Wind and Fire" program, Father Jim and the members of the Pastoral Council initiated a review of the role of the council and the other parish committees and boards. The purpose was to define the mission of St. Thomas More parish, and to streamline the decision making process in the parish by establishing a commission structure, and granting more autonomy to the commissions than had been inherent in the then existing committees and boards. After studying similar programs at other parishes and having a serious discussion within the council, Father Jim convened a "Leadership Meeting" in January 1998. At this meeting the parish administrative staff, members of the pastoral council, finance cabinet, school board, and maintenance staff (30 people in all) concurred in the establishment of the commission structure, which was carefully implemented over the following year.
In September, 1998, survey questionnaires were distributed to all parishioners for use "in establishing plans and priorities for our community in the coming year, and as background for preparing a five year-plan for the future development of our parish," The results of the survey were tabulated and summarized, and presented to parishioners in a series of "Town Hall" meetings, at which further input was solicited. A follow up survey was distributed in early December 1998 to gain further information on parish demographics and priorities, and to help in establishing short term and long term goals.