Councils & Ministries
Following the directions of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, St. Vitus Pastoral Council was established in 1988 to enable the laity to play a greater role in parish life. It should be noted, however, that at the founding of St. Vitus Parish in 1893, Rev. Vitus Hribar, the first pastor, requested and received permission from Bishop I.F. Horstmann to organize “church councilmen” to help the pastor with the new and growing parish. This was the case until the 1980s.
The pastoral council is now formed and governed by the Pastor, religious, and laity. Its purpose is to guide, direct, and support, with the Holy Spirit, the various aspects of parish life, and to prayerfully reflect on the needs of the parish and broader community in which it exists. The spiritual growth and mission of the parish community is the primary concern of the Council.
The parish continues to minister to the Catholic populace in the St. Clair Avenue neighborhood and its parishioners in outlying Cleveland areas. Canonically, St. Vitus is a “personal parish,” meaning it serves the unique cultural, social, and language needs of its congregants, but is not confined to any one particular geographic area in Cleveland or outlying areas (Canon 518).
Membership to the pastoral council is open to all practicing Catholics who have been registered for two consecutive years at St. Vitus and are at least 18 years old at the time of election. The Council consists of:
- Pastor, by virtue of position.
- One staff member, at the request of the Pastor.
- One representative of the parish finance council.
- Eight but not more than twelve representatives-at-large elected by registered St. Vitus parishioners.
- At-large members typically serve a three-year term with meetings held once a month, usually on a Wednesday evening.
Parish Finance Council
Revised Roman Catholic Canon Law, 1983, mandates that Bishops and pastors establish finance advisory councils to help them manage the temporal affairs of their respective diocese and parishes. St. Vitus Finance Council was established in Feb. 1987 as one of the first such advisory councils in the diocese of Cleveland. The Council aids the pastor in the administration of parish financial resources, buildings, and grounds. In general:
- Members of this council are appointed by the Pastor to serve for usually three to six years.
- Appointed members should have a background in business, the legal profession, or some management capacity to fulfill the requested tasks on financial and/or legal matters at hand.
- One to five members may serve at a time.
- The Pastor, parish finance director, and/or business manager serve only in an ex-officio capacity.
St. Vitus Holy Name Society
This Society was organized in 1934 under the spiritual direction of Msgr. Bartholomew J. Ponikvar. Nearly 500 men joined this organization at the time. The Holy Name Society promotes reverence for the Sacred Names of God and Jesus Christ, obedience and loyalty to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and the personal sanctification and holiness of its members. Members are called to contribute to the evangelization mission of the Church. It is about faithfully and effectively witnessing to Jesus Christ. The apostolate of the society is to assist in parish ministries by performing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Any Catholic man or woman may join this organization. Once a month the Society has a corporate Mass and meeting.
St. Vitus Altar & Rosary Society
This parish organization was established in 1914 by women of the parish to provide for spiritual formation of an individual, assistance in raising funds for the temporal needs of the parish, and social interaction. In addition, this Society places a special emphasis on praying before and promoting the Blessed Sacrament. It is open to any woman of the parish, young or old. This Society is also responsible for the making and selling of Slovenian-raised donuts known as “krofe” as well as holding an annual benefit dinner. All net proceeds raised by this Society are donated to the parish.
St. Vitus-St. Vincent de Paul Society
St. Vitus-St. Vincent de Paul Society was formally organized in 1955 in line with the international organization founded by Frederick Ozaman in 1833 in France. SVDP Society is a parish organization which promotes the holiness of its members while aiding in the material and spiritual needs of certain individuals, e.g. visiting those who are homebound or hospitalized. Financial aid is also provided to those in an emergency situation after a one-on-one assessment is determined by two SVDP Society members. Financial aid is solely made possible by donations to the Poor Box in the church. All practicing Catholic members may join this Society.
This parish ministry began in 1985 with a retired parish volunteer assisting seniors in filling out various medical and other forms, providing transportation when possible, and visiting homebound seniors, who, at the time of visitation, may request reception of The Eucharist. Sister Mary Avsec, S.N.D., has been a Pastoral Minister at St. Vitus Parish since 1990 and continues in this capacity with the ministry. This ministry is especially valuable to older seniors who have no close relatives to care for or visit them, including those in an assisted living facility. Administration of Anointing of the Sick is another unique feature of this ministry. During Christmas holidays, shut-ins not only receive a visit but also the Eucharist and a small gift to lift their spirits.