Looking at the 5 Year Plan Focus Group Data

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The JN17: Discernment Project (formerly known as the Multicultural Task Force) met for the second time on February 11th. One task the team tackled was to analyze the five year plan focus group data through a cultural lens. Below is a brief synopsis of what the group discovered.

Note: The focus group data is vast. This synopsis focuses on feedback that we thought relevant to the work of the JN17:DP. 


  • There was overwhelming consistency in all the focus groups that St. Leo is experienced as an inclusive and welcoming community. Cultural groups interviewed noted feeling welcome even though they are not part of the dominant group. Some interviewees were touched by the welcoming of groups they did not necessarily identify as part of (e.g. L’Arche).
  • People connect with the Ignatian spirituality and the social justice mindset.
  • There was consistent positive feedback about the liturgy and the homilies.


  • It can be difficult for newcomers to get plugged in. Though they initially feel welcomed, it is challenging to become more deeply connected with the community. 
  • Several groups mentioned the parish seems to be losing focus and doing too much—that we are spread too thin and trying to be all things to all people.
  • The bilingual Mass came up a number of times as confusing. (It was not clear in the data why exactly it was confusing.)


Of the 17 focus groups interviewed for the 5 Year Plan, there were five that were gathered around identity of ethnicity or culture: Filipino, Vietnamese, African-American, Hispanic, and the Kateri Circle (Native American). Special consideration was given to the data from these groups.

The groups shared the same positive feedback that the other groups did in terms of welcoming charism, strong liturgy, Jesuit identity and commitment to social justice. They also offered some specifics that they would like to see:

  • The Filipino group expressed a desire to move ethnic artifacts into the sanctuary.
  • The Vietnamese group expressed interest in including the Creed and the Confiteor in the liturgy.
  • The African-American group expressed interest in the inclusion of cultural music, images, saints and artifacts from various cultural groups, not just African-American. They also expressed a desire for honest and open conversation about racism in our Church and world.
  • The Hispanic community noted that tranlation is very important to them and that they desired having Spanish language included in worship (it was unclear whether this meant a Spanish Mass or bilingual rites).
  • The Kateri community expressed gratitude for the freedom and independence they experience in their space, which includes the ability incorporate Native spirituality and traditions into their liturgy in a safe and welcoming space. They look forward to keeping what they have going.


As a reminder, the following is a list of the groups gathered and interviewed for the 5 year plan.

·         Seniors

·         Young Adults

·         LGBTQ

·         Kateri

·         Singles

·         Filipino

·         Hispanic

·         Families

·         African-American

·         L’Arche

·         Vietnamese

·         Parishioners < 5 years

·         Youth

·         Parishioners  > 20 years

·         Neighborhood

·         Food Connection

·         Parish Leadership

If you would like a refresher on the 5 year plan goals and presentation, you can find them on our web site at www.stleoparish.org/mission.

Matt holland