The congregation continued to increase, so in 1979 a new church was built on the present site and named Our Lady of the Black Hills. This facility was enlarged in 1996 to accommodate further growth. Every year we welcome new members, and today we have about 540 families.
The Piedmont, Summerset and Black Hawk area continues to experience vibrant growth. Between 2012 and 2020, the area is projected to grow 44%. We are blessed to be a parish with growing pains. The challenge is to grow according to the vision of Christ.
This year I have been working closely with the Pastoral Planning Team, a group of twelve dedicated parishioners who serve as leaders in various ministries. Our goal was to renew our parish’s vision. With guidance from the Catholic Leadership Institute, we have prayerfully discerned a vision and priorities for the next three years. The team has put together a Priority Plan that will both challenge and motivate us.
Recently, I ran across this quote from Nelson Mandela: “Vision without action is just a dream; action without vision just passes the time; and vision with action can change the world.” As a parish, we are busy doing many things. However, our work must be focused with a vision. If we act with a Christ-like goal and Gospel values, then our ministry will change the world.
A parish is a ‘mission center.’ The Risen Lord left us with a challenge, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Gospel to all creation” (Mk. 16:15). We are meant to continue his work. With this in mind our team wrote a new Purpose Statement: “Our Lady of the Black Hills exists to proclaim the joy of the Gospel to all creation and to transform lives with the Father’s mercy.”
Our Lady of the Black Hills is energized with joyful hospitality, spirit-filled worship and mercy for the downtrodden. We are blessed with many faith-filled disciples who serve in numerous ministries. We want to build on our tradition of discipleship.
In our centennial year, it is not only a time to remember the past, but also to look to the future. The Planning Team chose three priorities to focus our ministry: Stewardship, Evangelization, and Social Justice.
As you read these pages, please consider how you can participate in our Priority Plan. How will you live our values of Mercy, Stewardship, Prayer and Excellence? How can you help us reach one goal?
Pray for our parish. Ask the Lord to bless us and to make us faithful stewards of God’s gifts.
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Steve Biegler
MERCY – God’s steadfast love for us and our imitation of His love for others.
- We will listen daily to the Word of God in order to receive His mercy.
- We will share mercy through caring and compassionate ministries.
- We will seek repentance for our sins and forgiveness of ourselves and others who have wronged us.
- We will emphasize the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
- We will invite everyone to receive the outpouring of God’s mercy through the sacraments.
- We will reach out to show our understanding and compassion for those who are not able to receive all the sacraments.
STEWARDSHIP – Gratefully acknowledge that God provides us with everything and calls us to care for and share these gifts.
- Each day we will examine our generosity as stewards by recalling the abundance of God’s gifts.
- We will make annual commitments to deepen our spiritual lives.
- We will share generously the gifts God has given us individually and as a parish.
- We will form intentional disciples who courageously proclaim the gospel to everyone they meet.
- We will welcome all with joyful hospitality.
- We will be co-responsible for the Church’s mission.
PRAYER – Intimate communication and communion with God.
- We will begin each parish meeting with 15 minutes of prayer and reflection with Scripture.
- Through daily prayer we will open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit and to God’s will.
- We will consistently provide prayer experiences in faith formation and ministries.
- We will attend Mass weekly.
- We will deepen our relationship with Christ through intentional times of personal and family prayer each day.
EXCELLENCE – Striving for the highest ministry standards to give glory to God.
- We will equip members to know, to understand, and to utilize their talents and charisms.
- We will focus and share OLBH’s vision, purpose and values with all members.
- We will view the ministry standards through the lens of vision, purpose, and values.
- We will be faithful to the voice of God as expressed in the teachings of the Catholic Church.
- We will train the members to help them succeed in the delivery of their ministries.
- We will evaluate annually the work of all the ministries for continuous improvement.
The Vision that Inspires Us
Build with the Mercy of the Father
As we implement this Priority Plan, Our Lady of the Black Hills will always keep in mind the mercy of the Father. Over the next year, the Church will celebrate the Year of Mercy. God’s greatest attribute is mercy. It best defines Jesus. He warned his disciples that they will be judged on how mercifully they treat his least brothers and sisters (Mt. 25:40).
We will build with the Mercy of the Father, as we welcome new families, reach out to the needy, and share the Gospel with the unchurched.
“We are stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). God blesses us with Eternal Life in the Sacraments. As faithful stewards, we will recall that our greatest gift is this Life in Christ. We will seek to be immersed in the Mercy and Life of the Risen Lord so that we might invite others to encounter Christ with us.
Pastoral Priorities for 2016-2019
Over the next three years, as members of Our Lady of the Black Hills Catholic Church, we will focus our efforts on the following three pastoral priorities and associated goals in order to fulfill the vision of our parish.
- STEWARDSHIP – Forming Disciples to be Stewards
- GOAL: 160-180 individuals growing as disciples by June 1, 2019.
- GOAL: 110-125 adults living a stewardship lifestyle by June 1, 2019.
- EVANGELIZATION – Reaching out with Boldness and Mercy
- GOAL: Establish an evangelization ministry team by September 1, 2016.
- GOAL: Identify parish members who are willing and able to share their personal faith story, and increase that by 30-40 individuals by June 1, 2019.
- SOCIAL JUSTICE – Serving God’s Beloved Children
- GOAL: Create and implement a plan to raise awareness of Catholic social justice teaching and issues by June 1, 2017.
- Increase by 40-50 the parishioners participating in social justice activities by June 1, 2019.
Forming Disciples to be Stewards
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Pet. 4:10).
“Once one chooses to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, stewardship is not an option” (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response).
Christ commanded us to make disciples. In Matthew 28:19, the final words of the Risen Lord were: “Go, and make disciples of all nations.” We seek to form disciples who are joyful and generous servants of God. A parish is a community of disciples who live with gratitude and serve with generosity. The spirituality of discipleship and stewardship is developing in our parish. We seek to deepen this way of life in the youth and adults alike. Therefore, we will dedicate the necessary resources to form disciples to be stewards.
GOAL: 160-180 individuals growing as disciples by June 1, 2019.
- By September 1, 2016 supplement the faith formation program for adults with weekday small faith formation groups to achieve an increase of 100 to 120 participants by May 1, 2019.
- Offer an adult retreat or workshop on discipleship (e.g., Making Disciples) annually from March 1, 2016 – May 31, 2019.
- Offer classes on prayer (e.g., Prayer University) for all parishioners annually from September 1, 2016 – May 31, 2019.
GOAL: 110-125 adults living a stewardship lifestyle by June 1, 2019.
- Offer Called & Gifted workshops every two years from January 1, 2017 – May 31, 2019.
- Offer Financial Peace University every two years from October 1, 2016 – May 31, 2019.
- Call all inactive families currently registered at OLBH at least once annually beginning Jan. 1, 2016 – Dec. 31, 2018.
- Develop additional methods of notification and communication to parishioners about Holy Days and other events (Facebook, twitter, Constant Contact, etc.) by June 30, 2017.
- Increase the number of families utilizing electronic contributions to parish by 15-20 families per year from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2018.
- Visibly incorporate OLBH into 2-3 Piedmont Valley events annually from Jan. 1, 2016 – May 31, 2019.
Reaching out with Boldness and Mercy
“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
For many Catholics, evangelization seems intimidating. But it is simple. It means to share our faith, or to tell someone the Good News about Jesus Christ. We already have people who are good at evangelizing – as they serve the needy, catechize youth, sing at Mass, etc. Nevertheless, we realize that we need to be better at sharing the treasure of our Catholic Faith. At times, we are too hesitant to invite others to learn more about Christ. So we want to recapture the boldness of the first disciples. Their boldness was the result of two life-changing events: an electrifying encounter with the crucified and Risen Lord and the fiery outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We will strive to deepen within our parish a personal encounter with the Risen Lord so that we might imitate the bold witness of the first apostles.
GOAL: Establish an evangelization ministry team by September 1, 2016.
- Define the mission and purpose of an Evangelization Commission by January 1, 2016.
- Establish a database to track evangelization outreach efforts by February 1, 2016.
- Implement a 4-6 week study series on mercy by September 1, 2016.
- Educate parishioners on how to reach out with boldness and mercy to inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated by September 1, 2016.
- Invite the leaders of Young Life to talk to the parish about their outreach ministry to unchurched youth by June 1, 2016.
- Have a fully functioning evangelization ministry for both inactive Catholics and the unaffiliated by October 1, 2018.
- Advertise OLBH events and services utilizing radio, newspaper, television, billboards etc. beginning December 2016. (Add one venue per year.)
GOAL: Identify parish members who are willing and able to share their personal faith story, and increase that by 30-40 individuals by June 1, 2019.
- Increase by 75 to 100 the number of individuals who identify themselves as intentional disciples by June 1, 2019.
- Add 1-2 Hospitality Ministers for each Mass to enhance our welcoming of existing and new parishioners by June 1, 2016.
- Educate parishioners in the pew that hospitality is a responsibility of everyone by February 1, 2016.
- Implement an annual workshop on how to share your personal faith story by April 1, 2016.
Serving God’s Beloved Children
“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40).
Pope Francis said, “The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.” OLBH has a strong tradition of service. Many parishioners serve the needy and marginalized. Yet, the Pastoral Planning Team was convicted about deepening our awareness of Catholic Social Teaching and growing our involvement in social justice activities. We seek to deepen the spirituality of Catholic Social Teaching so that our service to the least will be true to Christ. We will strive to be faithful stewards of Christ’s mercy.
GOAL: Create and implement a plan to raise awareness of Catholic social justice teaching and issues by June 1, 2017.
- Schedule a Mass announcement one week prior to Ash Wednesday to highlight the Social Justice work of Catholic Social Services each year beginning in 2016.
- Establish a Speaker Series – 4 speakers a year discussing Catholic Social Justice issues (local, state, national, and international) by June 1, 2016.
- Schedule 4 homilies per year dedicated to Catholic Social Justice issues by January 1, 2016.
- Increase awareness of availability of homebound/nursing home ministry by communication (bulletin, website, etc.) by June 1, 2016.
- Make electronic messaging available in the narthex by June 1, 2016.
- Increase community awareness of the Piedmont Valley Ministerial Association (PVMA) food pantry by posters in community locations by June 1, 2016.
- Communicate PVMA activities by semi-annual postcards by March 1, 2016.
GOAL: Increase by 40-50 the parishioners participating in social justice activities by June 1, 2019.
- Increase participation of OLBH members in the PVMA food pantry by 5 members by June 1, 2017.
- Increase the participation of sharing garden produce with the PVMA food pantry by June 1, 2017.
- Encourage parishioners to support at least one social justice issue per year that is local, diocesan, or national starting in June 1, 2016.
- Each faith formation class will participate in 2-3 social justice activities annually by September 1, 2016.
Please Pray for our Parish
Beloved God, through the Holy Spirit, you have given us the SACRED PURPOSE
‘To proclaim the joy of the Gospel to all creation, and to transform lives with the Father’s mercy.
‘You have inspired us with the VISION to ‘Build with the Mercy of the Father.’
Through your grace, may we carry that purpose and vision in everything we say and do.
Make us people of MERCY, embracing your steadfast love for us
and imitating your merciful love for others.
Make us people of STEWARDSHIP, gratefully acknowledging that you provide us with everything.
Teach us to be faithful stewards of your gifts.
Make us people of PRAYER, engaging in intimate communication and communion with you.
Deepen our devotion to you in daily prayer and Sunday Mass.
Make us people of EXCELLENCE, striving for the highest ministry standards, to give glory to you.
Merciful Lord, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and guide our work
of Stewardship, Evangelization and Social Justice:
Forming Disciples to be Stewards,
Reaching out with Boldness and Mercy,
and Serving God’s Beloved Children.
Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints, kindle in us the fire of your love
that we may be merciful like the Father.
We trust that you who have begun this good work in us will bring it to fulfillment.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.