Community-Ministry FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked regarding Finances that were raised at the parish-wide LRP presentations.   All the questions are listed first, then the questions with answers follow.

  1. How would consolidating to the St. Joseph campus impact the Latino community? 
  2. How do our ministry partners (Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, Loaves and Fishes, Chesterton Academy, and Families Moving Forward) benefit the parish? How would consolidating to the St. Joseph campus affect them?

1.  How would consolidating to the St. Joseph Campus impact the Latino community?

One of the great blessings God has bestowed on our parish is a thriving Latino community.  About 18 years ago, our parish  welcomed a group of Spanish-speaking Catholics. Since that time, St. Gabriel’s Latino ministry has flourished and now boasts a thriving faith formation and sacramental preparation program, a beautiful Mass in Spanish every Sunday at 1pm that is bursting with children, and many rich cultural celebrations such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. About one third of all parishioners that attend Mass at St. Gabriel’s belong to our Latino community.

The long-range planning task force considered it absolutely essential that our Latino brothers and sisters be consulted to ensure that a possible consolidation at the St. Joseph campus would be feasible for them. Fr. Paul held special meetings in Spanish for our Latino parishioners to explain the task force’s recommendation, answer questions and solicit feedback. The consensus of those who participated was that our Latino community, which is mostly comprised of first-generation immigrants and their children, has learned to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. This would be one more adaptation that they can and would make.

Once it was understood that the proposed consolidation included our Latino community as a totally essential part of our parish family, and that the Spanish Mass and formation programs would continue at the St. Joseph campus, the Latinos expressed support. While recognizing that it would be difficult to leave the campus where they have worshipped for almost two decades, these brothers and sisters of ours expressed their willingness to move.

 One particular point of discussion was that the Latino Sunday morning faith formation classes might have to take place in the St. Joseph campus school, at least for a time. Chesterton Academy has indicated its willingness to let us use the school on Sunday mornings.

2. How do our ministry partners (Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, Loaves and Fishes, Chesterton Academy, and Families Moving Forward) benefit the parish?  How would consolidating to the St. Joseph campus affect them?

The impact that our long-range planning would have on our ministry partners was a critical part of the long-range planning task force’s research and discernment. We will consider each ministry partner individually.

Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus

This fall, thirteen sisters from the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus moved into the convent at our St. Joseph campus. The renovation of the convent was a massive undertaking that was made possible thanks to many generous volunteers, the financial support of our entire parish family (as well as Holy Family in St. Louis Park), and the hard work of the sisters themselves. The Handmaids are serving in many different ways, such as helping teach our children in their faith formation and sacramental preparation classes; training and scheduling our liturgical ministers; hosting Emmaus, our monthly evening of sports, family-friendly prayer and dinner; leading Advent and Lenten devotions, talks, and retreats; visiting the sick and the homebound; joining parishioners for food and fellowship; etc. Most importantly, the sisters’ presence as consecrated religious and spiritual mothers will help us grow closer to Jesus and one another as a united family of faith. 

The impact that the sisters will have at St. Gabriel’s is inestimable. Consolidating to the St. Joseph campus will not only preserve the significant investment that was made in the convent and ensure the ongoing presence of the Handmaids at St. Gabriel’s; it will also allow the sisters to be even more involved in the life of our parish because we will all be at the same place.

Loaves and Fishes

Loaves and Fishes is an independent nonprofit organization that serves a hot, nutritious meal to the public four nights per week. In order to prepare these meals, L&F relies on the use of our commercial grade kitchen in the basement of the St. Joseph campus church. This ministry helps us fulfill one of the essential demands of the Gospel: serving our neighbors in need — in this case, by feeding the hungry, which is one of the corporal works of mercy. Consolidating to the St. Joseph campus will allow them to continue their good word, and may increase the frequency with which our own parishioners can volunteer to assist in preparing and serving these meals.

Chesterton Academy

Chesterton Academy is now in its third year of leasing the St. Joseph campus school. During this time, the school has brought new life and energy by their presence at daily Mass and by the various ways they serve our parish. For example, Chesterton students have volunteered at our fall festival; provided a small choir to sing at some of our special Masses; helped clean our buildings and maintain our grounds; gone Christmas caroling at Citigables apartments (where a number of our parishioners live). Chesterton has also proven itself remarkably successful in helping its students actively practice and grow in their Catholic faith, even after graduation. Since Chesterton arrived at the St. Joseph campus, St. Gabriel’s has seen an increase in young families attending our weekend Masses and registering at our parish. Consolidating to the St. Joseph campus will allow us to benefit from the ongoing presence of this vibrant ministry partner and will likely yield additional opportunities for collaboration and mutual enrichment.

Families Moving Forward

Families Moving Forward recently announced that, in Hennepin County, it will no longer be calling on churches to help house families going through crisis transitions. Thus, St. Gabriel’s proud involvement in this particular ministry may be at an end, at least for now. However, a new opportunity for ministry is literally going up right across the street from the St. Joseph campus, as Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative plans to construct supportive housing on the small parcel of land that St. Gabriel’s sold to them last year. Consolidating to the St. Joseph campus would make it easier for us to serve the future residents of this facility with volunteers and programming to aid our neighbors in need.