Spirit-PastoralIntroducing 4 New Pastoral Council Members

Saint Elizabeth has a vibrant Pastoral Council that consists of 13 parishioners who volunteer their time to advise our pastor, Father Mullin, in advancing the mission and ministry of the parish.  Eight members are elected by the parish-at-large and the others are appointed by the pastor.  Each member typically serves for a three-year term.  This summer, the parish elected four new members to take the place of four retiring members. Combined, these new members bring a variety of unique experience and great passion for our parish to the work of the Pastoral Council.

Congratulations to Tim Golden, Lisa Kyne, Glen Mariani, and Aria Walerski!

Tim Golden – Army Veteran, Sports Coach

Tim grew up in Delaware County, attended Malvern Prep and then Gettysburg College. Tim also served in the U.S. Army and moved to Chester County after completing his service in 1986. The Goldens were among Saint Elizabeth’s original parishioners, attending Mass at Lionville Middle School, and have witnessed our community’s incredible growth both physically and spiritually over the last two decades.

Tim has been an active volunteer with the Saint Elizabeth Athletic Ministry (SEAM) for the past eight years, coaching basketball and track. “One of the great aspects of our sports programs is that they are parish-wide and open both to parish families whose children attend Saint Elizabeth Parish School and to those who attend area public and private schools,” said Tim. “It is a great way for everyone to broaden their circle of friends – both the kids and their parents – further extending our community connection.”

Tim and his wife also took great joy in celebrating the marriage of their daughter, Maria, at Saint Elizabeth in January, 2015. “I love the family atmosphere here and am honored to serve on the Pastoral Council,” he concluded.

Lisa Kyne -- Business Owner, Super Steward

Lisa Kyne and her husband, Mike, have been members of Saint Elizabeth parish for 18 years. Throughout the years, Lisa has been involved in a very wide range of stewardship roles, including serving as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, working on the Stewardship Day of Service Team, and preparing casseroles for St. John’s Hospice. She has also been a catechist in the Elementary Faith Formation Program and has driven parishioners to Mass as a member of the Transportation Ministry.

Lisa graduated from Villanova University with a B.S. in accounting and minor in religious studies. She later became the owner/operator of a second-generation CPA firm in Willow Grove.

“My faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ has deepened beyond my expectations and the parish community of Saint Elizabeth has had a large part in my spiritual development,” said Lisa. When asked what she hopes to bring to the Pastoral Council, Lisa replied “I want to spend my energies talking less and listening more to others. Saint Elizabeth’s pastor is an exemplary leader, a protector of the Catholic faith, and an excellent teacher. I will support, encourage, and provide insight to him so he can continue to be successful in his role for the good of our church community.”   

Glen Mariani – From Tech Crew to Council

Glen grew up as a member of Saint Elizabeth and, like Tim, recalls attending Mass at the Lionville Middle School gym.  After graduating college and marrying his wife, Jackie, Glen returned to Upper Uwchlan and re-joined Saint Elizabeth Parish.

For six years, Glen has served as a technical crew leader with Saint Elizabeth’s Good Works ministry and is an active volunteer with the Team CMMD Foundation, a local organization that supports families with a loved one going through cancer treatments.

Glen explains his excitement about his term on the Pastoral Council, “I’m looking forward to working with the other dedicated members of the parish community who each bring different life experiences to the Council while also sharing common values. I like to try new things and explore out-of-the-box thinking to solve complex problems and I look forward to bringing that mindset to the Pastoral Council.”

Aria Walerski – Caregiver at Home and Work

Aria and her husband joined Saint Elizabeth in 2010 and were married by Father Mullin a year later in 2011. Both of their sons were baptized at Saint Elizabeth and her oldest is starting first grade at Saint Elizabeth Parish School, while her youngest eagerly awaits attending Pre-K in a few years.

Aria is the Communications Director for Communities that Care of Greater Downingtown, a coalition of organizations, businesses, schools, faith communities, law enforcement and healthcare providers using evidence-based prevention programs and policies to foster positive mental health and youth development.

Aria recently became a lector and also joined the Parish Communications Advisory Committee.

“I have really enjoyed becoming a more active member of our church community over the last few years and am excited to serve the pastor more directly now,” said Aria. “As a younger new member of the Pastoral Council, I look forward to brainstorming ideas with the other Council members on how we can foster a desire to have our younger parishioners become more involved in our parish community. I also hope to be an example to our younger parishioners, demonstrating that you can be involved in the church, even amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life!”

Saint Elizabeth thanks all of the members of the Pastoral Council for their dedication and service and we look forward to welcoming the new members of the team this fall.

-Lisa Barbadora

Spirit-DMI

This past spring, Saint Elizabeth parishioners were invited to participate in the Disciple Maker Index (DMI) survey, conducted by the Catholic Leadership Institute in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The parish received a great response from parishioners, with 807 surveys submitted.

“The response rate was far above our initial expectations and well above the average number of DMI surveys returned in other parishes in the Archdiocese,” reported Matt Pfeiffenberger, Director of Parish Services. “This level of response is a tribute to the long-standing dedication and commitment to the vibrant life of our parish community by so many of our parishioners.”

Here are some of the demographics of the parishioners who responded to the survey:

43% were in the 56-75 age range, another 26% in the 36-55 age range, and 3% in the 18-35 age range.

54% of the respondents were women and 28% were men (18% did not provide age or gender data).

62% have been parishioners at Saint Elizabeth for 10 years or more.

The vast majority of respondents (785 of the 807) identified themselves as Catholic.

“At this time, we are still combing through all of the data and reports that are available to us. We are working with the Catholic Leadership Institute to identify the most pertinent findings and develop ways to best apply what we may learn from the survey,” Matt explained.

Initial data seems to indicate that of the many strengths and opportunities we face as a parish community, a vast majority of respondents would recommend our parish and our pastor to others and affirm their belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

In addition, a large majority of respondents believe that Saint Elizabeth parish offers vibrant and engaging Masses, that they feel welcomed and accepted, and that the parish offers many opportunities to serve the community. They also affirm that the parish supports them in their times of need.

Responding parishioners expressed a desire to learn how to share the Gospel message and to share their personal faith story with others, together with a desire for additional opportunities to develop greater knowledge of Church teachings.  They also see a need to engage more young people and ministry volunteers in the life of the parish.

“The parish staff will be working through the fall to fully digest all the data and responses. When this work is completed, we will have a good foundation for future parish planning and programs,” Matt concluded.

In mid-September, a Catholic Leadership Institute representative will review the survey data and provide an executive summary of the DMI survey findings for the parish administrative staff along with the current members of the Pastoral, Finance and Stewardship Councils. Feedback will also be provided to each individual ministry group as it applies to their respective areas of ministry.

A summary and any developed action plans will be shared with the parish at-large later this fall. Thank you to everyone who took the DMI survey. Your input and responses will benefit our community as we move toward our 25th anniversary and beyond.

-Sara Richardson

Spirit-School-SignSaint Elizabeth Parish School enters 2022 with a great deal of momentum. We are currently accredited by the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS) and began our re-accreditation process last summer with two significant organizational developments: the formation of a Board of Limited Jurisdiction and the establishment of the Saint Elizabeth Home and School Association.  MSA-CESS provides its members with a professional network and the resources for the promotion of proven educational practices.  Its accreditation process is a public affirmation of a member school’s trustworthiness, academic excellence and commitment to continuous improvement.

The next step in the re-accreditation process is to review our foundational documents: our Mission Statement, Belief Statements, and Profile of the Graduate. Following that, we will survey students, parents and staff about the current state of the school, based upon the 12 standards identified by the Middle States Association. We then use the results of the survey, together with institutional data, to identify areas of strength and areas for growth in keeping with our foundational documents. The surveys will help us to identify emerging themes that lead to our focused objectives. The areas for growth inform the Objectives and Action Steps we will be taking over the course of the next seven years to further improve Saint Elizabeth Parish School.

As we enter the third year of coping with the effects of COVID-19, we are using the lessons we have learned. The positive things we can point to that resulted from dealing with this global crisis are informing our direction for the future. At Saint Elizabeth, we have learned a number of significant lessons about our school, about our community, and about ourselves, and we are all the better for it.  We are stronger, more faith-filled, more resilient, and more hopeful about the future because of what we have been through and what we have learned during the past several years.

We continue to focus on strengthening and expanding opportunities for students to engage and to excel. Specifically, along with our usual update of textbook editions/copyrights, we are revamping our Library/Technology Curriculum into a joint Media course to help students develop relevant skills and engage in activities that include both theoretical and practical tasks. We want students to be able to create and communicate ideas and information.

 

Spirit-School-teachers

 

Our youngest students, Grades Pre-K to 2, will experience the extra support of the Heggerty phonemic awareness program in addition to Fundations in Grades K to 2, already in use. Grades 2 to 5 will be working with iWriting to individualize the mastery of the writing process for students, helping them develop their skills through a process that makes sense to them with instant feedback as they brainstorm, outline, create a rough draft, evaluate, and sculpt a final draft. Our 7th grade students will join our 8th grade students with the SAVVAS My Perspectives English Language Arts program and the 2022 CODiE Award for Education Technology’s Best Reading/Writing/Literature Instructional Solution for Grades 6-12. We’ve learned that technology has permanently transformed our students’ learning experience. Even though they are back in the classroom, online options can enrich and deepen a student’s learning experience.

We are excited about what the future holds. Looking back on the past few years, we have discovered anew that we all learn and grow from our struggles and adversity, and we can now begin to apply the lessons we’ve learned in our daily lives, both practically and spiritually.

-Dr. Diane Greco

Did you know that 47 weddings took place at Saint Elizabeth church over the past 3 years since the beginning of the pandemic?  These celebrations include traditional weddings as well as what the church calls, “Convalidations,” or blessings of marriages that have been celebrated legally, but not in a church. Of the many marriages that have been blessed at Saint Elizabeth during this period, 16 of the couples have remained actively registered in our parish.  Here are three of the couples who have decided to start their marriages and raise their families within our parish family.

Spirit-Hassels

Erin and Brian Hassel met in 2014 and married May 16, 2017 at Downingtown Country Club.  The date was special because it was her sister’s birthday, and she had passed away when Erin was in high school. She explained, “I wanted something different as my father had recently passed away, so he would be unable to walk me down the aisle.”  The couple lived in West Chester, but Erin had been a member of Saint Elizabeth, living in Lionville with her family, since the parish was founded.  When their son, Bradley, was born, they came to Saint Elizabeth for his baptism, on March 9, 2019, during which, Father Mullin blessed, and convalidated their marriage.   They formally joined the parish in November 2021 when their second child, Clara, was born. Erin joined the Elizabeth Ministry because she found it to be helpful in building relationships with other moms. “They were super helpful when we returned from our two-week stay at CHOP with our daughter as a newborn, with Meal Train meals, and the mothers have always kept us and Clara in their prayers.”   Erin and Brian recommend that new parishioners find a group or Ministry that works for your family. “To me, Saint Elizabeth always felt like home, since I grew up in the parish, but taking part in the Elizabeth Ministry helped bring me back.”

Spirit-FowlersMallory and Bob Fowler met in 2012 while working together as nurses in the Emergency Department at the University of Pennsylvania.  At the time, Mallory lived in the Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia and Bob lived in Drexel Hill.  Bob had visited Saint Elizabeth in the past, since his aunt and uncle, Monica and Mark Peta, are parishioners.  The couple joined our parish in September 2020, when they both moved to Chester County, and were married by Father Mullin, on October 2, 2021. When asked what it has been like for them, as a newlywed couple, to be members of our parish, they explained, “Being members of Saint Elizabeth has allowed us to grow together spiritually.  Our faith has become a cornerstone and shared value in our relationship.  We instantly developed a relationship with Father Mullin, who welcomed us to the community with open arms.”  When asked for advice for new parishioners, they shared, “We are so thankful to have a community of people, who are so selfless and eager to provide guidance throughout every step of our newlywed journey.  We have found that both our faith, and ability to turn to the parish family for guidance during life’s moments, have helped our relationship with each other to grow stronger and healthier each day.“  They are looking forward to participating in parish activities  when they welcome their first child, a boy, whom they will name Robert, IV, in September 2022.

Spirit-CliggettsHayleigh and T.J. Cliggett met in Sea Isle City, NJ in the summer of 2018.  T.J. grew up in the Downingtown area and his family have been parishioners of Saint Elizabeth since the founding when Mass was offered in the Lionville MS gym.  Hayleigh was born in Delaware County and grew up in Elkton, MD and Avon Grove, PA. along with her five siblings.  They were raised Catholic, and their mom was a CCD teacher. Hayleigh joined Saint Elizabeth after meeting T.J. and moving to the area. They decided to stay here to be close to family and friends after their marriage on August 13, 2021. They feel this community is very desirable to raise their family, Everleigh, 2, and Ava, 4 months. They have met an abundance of friendly people in our parish, especially the ones who understand and are patient when their kids are crying in church. As newlyweds, with a young and growing family, they feel welcomed and included when Father Mullin and the other priests and deacons greet them and ask how they are. “We enjoy going to Mass as a family, we feel right at home. We are reminded of our wedding day at the altar with Father Mullin and our love and commitment to each other and we leave feeling like we belong.”

These young couples and their growing families enrich our parish family and give us all hope for the future.  They are a living example of the love that God has for all of us, and of the blessing of being part of the Saint Elizabeth community. Welcome! May God continue to bless you!

For more information about arrangements for marriage at Saint Elizabeth, please contact the parish office at least six months in advance of the planned date, at 610-321-1200.

Have you heard of the TuitionCare Program? Run by the Foundation for Catholic Education, this ground breaking program has created substantial tax breaks for parish members while providing tuition assistance to parish families. The program also generates wonderful opportunities for families throughout the Archdiocese who wish to provide their children with a Catholic school education, regardless of family income.

Under the umbrella of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Program, which offers Pennsylvania businesses a substantial tax credit for their donations to non-profit scholarship organizations, TuitionCare allows individual tax payers to redirect some or all of state income tax obligations to directly support Catholic education. Since its inception in 2010, the Foundation has provided $20,000,000 to Catholic schools and families.

Any family at Saint Elizabeth Parish may participate in the program, regardless of whether or not they have children attending the parish school. Families and Individuals may sign up to have some or all of the state income tax payments redirected to the program, resulting in a 90 percent credit off their PA state taxes. No contribution is too large or too small! This program financially benefits both Saint Elizabeth Parish School as well as students throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Spirit-Tuitioncare

In 2021, 58 parish and school families participated in TuitionCare, which resulted in a $58,000 grant to the Saint Elizabeth Parish School. This broke down to a tuition reduction of $415 to each school family for the 2021/2022 school year! Our goal for participation throughout the upcoming school year is to increase the number of families so that we will be able to provide a $1,000 tuition reduction for every school family.

“This program is a win/win for our parish school as well as our parishioners,” said School Principal Dr. Diane Greco. “Anyone who participates will receive a substantial state tax credit, while our parish school receives considerable tuition breaks. This is a huge incentive for anyone in our parish to participate. Additionally, any extra money benefits aid to the Archdiocesan schools, so participants are also helping families in need throughout our area.”

For more information and detailed instructions on how to sign up, visit www.tuitioncare.org. The more parishioners who participate, the higher the tuition reduction for all school families. Consider participating in this terrific program for the upcoming school year. You'll be glad you did!

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