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EDITORIAL | Disciple Maker Index survey results show clearer picture of strengths, opportunities for growth in archdiocese

Disciple Maker Index survey results reveal strengths and opportunities for growth in the Archdiocese of St. Louis

The results of the Disciple Maker Index survey are in.

More than 70,000 surveys were completed, which translates to about 22% of adult registered Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Approximately 60% of survey respondents said they attend Mass at least monthly. Highlights from the survey results are included in this week’s Steadfast in Faith section, on pages 11-14.

Among the strengths revealed were a strong belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and a high percentage of Mass attendance at least weekly. The results also showed that respondents needed the most support from their parishes with sharing their personal faith story, sharing the story of Jesus with others, as well as boosting their confidence in Church teachings.

These results, which include respondents’ personal beliefs about the Church, level of participation in the sacraments and other parish-based activities and experience of the parish, are expected to reveal a clearer picture of the needs in parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

All of this information is an opportunity for discerning our future, said Father Christopher Martin, vicar for strategic planning for the archdiocese. “We cannot discern well without good information,” he said. “While we can look at our records and see where people live, how many attend Mass where, how many children are in our schools etc., the Disciple Maker Index allows us to catch a glimpse of our strengths and opportunities for growth on a spiritual level.”

But perhaps most importantly, the survey also is a measure of examining how Catholics in the archdiocese are approaching the faith with a discipleship mindset, Father Martin said.

But what does it mean to be a disciple, exactly?

“It’s somebody who has encountered the Lord in a personal way,” he said. “It’s a person who is growing in relationship on a continual basis and feels equipped to share the faith with others.”

The three guiding principles of All Things New, the archdiocese’s strategic pastoral planning initiative, are unceasing prayer, a unifying vision for evangelization and intentional stewardship. Several groups have been working to develop strategies and resources to assist clergy and lay leaders with helping Catholics grow in these areas. Those resources can be found at allthingsnew.archstl.org.

As the Disciple Maker Index results from across the archdiocese show, the Church in St. Louis is starting on a strong foundation. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we continue to discern the future of our Church here in St. Louis.

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