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Questions & Answers

  1. Where does the parish profile data come from?
  2. Why are the trend years for Catholic population different from Census population?
  3. Why has financial data been made public?
  4. There were only a few responses from my parish. How will this be helpful?
  5. What additional assistance will the Archdiocese provide to help parishes interpret the results?
  6. Can parishes request more data or additional analysis?
  7. Why was this survey done?
  8. Who took the survey?
  9. Why wasn’t a more representative sample sought out?
  10. How was the survey conducted?
  11. When was the survey conducted?
  12. Did you ask about social issues? Or about what the Church believes or teaches?
  13. Why was the scope of the questions so limited?
  14. Will this survey lead to any changes in parishes and the Archdiocese of Detroit?
  15. Were comments, or more general forms of feedback, collected?
  16. How will those comments be used?
  17. Where is my parish report?
  18. Has the Archdiocese previously conducted a survey like this?
  19. Where did the survey questions come from? Is this survey part of a national or universal Church effort?
  20. Don't see your question here?

1. Where does the parish profile data come from?

CATHOLIC POPULATION STATISTICS

  • Registered households: Derived from Catholic Service Appeal (CSA) data maintained in the ParishSOFT database. These are not the numbers self-reported by parishes for the Kenedy Directory; however figures from the two sources could be similar.
  • Registered individuals: The number of registered CSA households multiplied by 2.8. This multiplier was changed in 2013 to more accurately represent the size of the average household. Registered individuals from 2000 represent registered CSA households multiplied by 3.0.
  • Percentage of households inside/outside parish boundary: Calculated by comparing addresses from parish CSA data to its geographic boundary. This data was not available for 2000.

CENSUS POPULATION STATISTICS

  • Total households/population: U.S. Census data from 2000 and 2010. Calculated by block group for parish boundaries. Census block groups do not always exactly align with parish boundaries or geographic boundaries (like roads).
  • Median household and median age: from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) 3-year estimates from 2012. Since income data is not available from the Census by block group, this is most recent and accurate income data.

FINANCIAL DATA: All financial data comes from 5-year trends compiled by the Archdiocese of Detroit’s finance department. AOD and MCC payables were not available for 2009.

SACRAMENTAL DATA: Reported by parishes for the Kenedy Directory and compiled by the Department of Parish Life and Services. Vicariate statistics represent an aggregate of parish statistics, except for median household income and median age.

2. Why are the trend years for Catholic population different from Census population?

The data presented is the most recent that could be gathered for each item. The Archdiocese tracks Catholic population statistics annually, while the Census is conducted every 10 years. For intermediate years, the U.S. Census Bureau relies on estimate data from the American Community Survey. In both cases, there was no data available for 2013. Therefore, general comparisons may be made between the trend in Catholic population and Census population, but it will not be an exact year-to-year comparison.

3. Why has financial data been made public?

Summary financial data was first made public in 1983 to parishes and vicariates in the city of Detroit for pastoral planning. In 2004, at the beginning of Together in Faith and again in 2009, summary financial data was disseminated to pastors, parish leaders, and Together in Faith parish representatives throughout the Archdiocese to inform pastoral planning.

4. There were only a few responses from my parish. How will this be helpful?

Some parishes had fewer responses relative to their households. However, these responses should be considered representative of their most highly engaged and committed parishioners. Pastors are encouraged to review the results with parish leaders and to reflect on how they can use this feedback in their planning and budgeting. Pastors and parish leaders are also encouraged to reflect on how they can continue this conversation with their parishioners who did not participate in the survey. In addition, the parish profiles provide statistical snapshots that will be useful for every parish’s future planning.

5. What additional assistance will the Archdiocese provide to help parishes interpret the results?

Reflection guides were distributed with the parish reports, providing context for the survey, as well as questions for parish councils to facilitate meaningful discussions of the results.

Pastors and parish representatives are invited to the Vicariate Pastoral Council (VPC) meetings in the fall. Vicars and archdiocesan staff will present and interpret the data from the perspective of individual parishes and on a vicariate-wide basis.

Regional coordinators from Parish Life are also available to meet with pastors and lay leaders to discuss parish results.

6. Can parishes request more data or additional analysis?

Yes. Contact your regional coordinator with a specific request; or call 313 237-5971. You can also email: TogetherInFaith@aod.org

7. Why was this survey done?

The objective of the survey is to gauge perceptions of the faithful on parish life, their awareness of parish efforts to fulfill the seven archdiocesan-wide mission priorities, and what they feel are the most significant challenges facing the Church.

Understanding perceptions of the laity on parish life and resources committed to the mission priorities can help enhance planning and ministry programs in parishes, vicariates, regions, and the Archdiocese.

The survey will help quantify what Catholics know about what’s happening in their parishes and what they think should be happening. Pastors and parish councils can use the results to shape opportunities for involvement and improve communication. The survey will also help inform the efforts of Together in Faith parish planning groups as well as vicariate and region councils. Understanding Catholic perceptions will improve efforts to better form Catholics in the faith.

By focusing resources and efforts in these priority areas and by communicating our progress and challenges, clergy and laity will be better equipped to share Christ in and through the Church.

8. Who took the survey?

The survey was taken mostly by active Catholics. Of the 41,178 respondents, approximately 95 percent of those are registered at local parishes. Approximately 85 percent of survey takers say they attend Mass at least once per week. And about half of those who took the survey are involved in some aspect of parish life or ministry.

9. Why wasn’t a more representative sample sought out?

As the survey is meant to aid parish planning, it was more fitting that we gather input from those who are more highly involved in their parishes.

10. How was the survey conducted?

The Archdiocese of Detroit invited Catholics to take the survey via their parishes, parish bulletins, the archdiocesan website, e-mail, and local Catholic media. Stories about the survey also were run in secular media outlets. The survey was available in an online format, and in a paper format distributed at parishes.

11. When was the survey conducted?

The survey was conducted over a two-week period in November 2013.

12. Did you ask about social issues? Or about what the Church believes or teaches?

No. This survey did not collect opinions about Catholic teachings or societal trends.

13. Why was the scope of the questions so limited?

The purpose of this survey and the feedback that results is to aid in the future strategic planning of parishes. Those types of questions didn’t fit with our objective. Additionally, in regards to opinions about Catholic teachings, we believe that national surveys done of representative samples – for instance, those done by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate – accurately reflect such attitudes locally.

14. Will this survey lead to any changes in parishes and the Archdiocese of Detroit?

The survey can help parishes initiate or refine efforts in the seven mission priority areas. Parishes, parish planning groups, and vicariates have launched many initiatives in these priority areas. The survey will gauge awareness among the faithful on these endeavors and obtain perceptions of sacramental and ministerial life of their parishes. Combined with views shared by the laity on various aspects of parish life and challenges facing the Church, this information can help refine aspects of formation and communication. Those participating in the survey may also become more aware of opportunities to deepen their faith life and parish involvement.

15. Were comments, or more general forms of feedback, collected?

Yes. Those who took the survey were able to offer their comments, questions or suggestions of a general nature.

16. How will those comments be used?

Those comments have been catalogued and will be distributed, to be considered at the parish, vicariate and archdiocesan levels alongside the survey data.

17. Where is my parish report?

Individual parish and vicariate reports are still being processed. They will be available by August.

18. Has the Archdiocese previously conducted a survey like this?

Yes. A survey of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit accompanied the initial phase of the Together in Faith pastoral planning process several years ago. The 94,000 responses received helped shape the seven mission priorities through which our work as one people of faith is increasingly focused.

19. Where did the survey questions come from? Is this survey part of a national or universal Church effort?

The survey questions were developed by the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Parish Life and Services Department with input from clergy, laity, and Central Services personnel. The survey was developed by the Archdiocese of Detroit to involve the clergy and lay faithful in southeast Michigan. This effort is not connected with any other survey or research by Catholic institutions outside the Detroit Archdiocese.

20. Don't see your question here?

Email us at aodsurvey@aod.org. Also, make sure to check back here as we will be adding to the FAQs as needed.