Today, our parish serves more than 1,300 families, with more than 500 young people participating in religious education and youth programs, and nearly 350 students in our school, which offers classes from preschool to 8th grade. Thanks to God’s love and the abundance with which we have been blessed, more growth awaits us. Under the leadership of our pastor, Fr. Glenn O’Connor, our parish will continue to pursue a forward-looking approach to plan for and manage that growth. The plan described here is a crucial next step. We recognize that sacrifice is never easy, but it is necessary. After all, we are more than a group of people who gather weekly for Mass. As a parish, we are a beacon of faith and fellowship in our community, and we will continue to pursue this vision as we plan for the future.
One of the most exciting developments in our parish community is the growth of St. Susanna School. Since 2010, enrollment has jumped by 10 percent, and we project that rate to continue. In recent years, we’ve served students and their families by expanding to 8th grade and adding a successful band program. Service is a vital part of our school as students perform service projects and support local missions. National Junior Honor Society and Student Council have crafted blankets for homeless and Capes for Kids (a program at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital). Each grade level leads the school in at least one service project per year. Academically, a strong program including Accelerated Reader, Envision math, and Pearson Reading Street is offered. Spanish is taught from Kindergarten through 8th grades. Primary teachers are trained in Orton-Gillingham techniques, and all teachers implement 6+1 Traits of Writing. Students perform well in local, regional, and state-wide history and science fair competitions. Math Bowl team competes with students one grade level ahead and the Spelling Bowl team performs well in competition. Middle School Students meet the requirements to qualify for National Junior Honor Society. Eighth graders perform well on high school placement tests and qualify for advanced placement classes.
Our Religious Education Program and Youth Ministry groups (Middle School and High School) provide both a foundation in faith and opportunities to serve. Nearly 500 parishioners are involved in the religious education program and many others are active in adult Faith Formation and other ministry groups. The Faith Formation office at St. Susanna offers Sunday religious education classes for students in PreK through Grade 12, as well as Sacramental preparation for Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. Religious education classes meet on Sunday mornings from 10:00am – 11:10am for students Grades PreK – Grade 5 and Sunday evenings from 6:45pm – 8:00pm for students Grades 6-8 (Middle School EDGE Program), Grades 9-10 (Chosen Confirmation Preparation Program) and Grades 11-12 (High School Religious Education). High School aged youth are also encouraged to take part in our Peer Ministry program, a faith-sharing group that meets on Wednesday evenings throughout the year. High School students also have the opportunity to participate in various mission trips and youth conferences. Every summer, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is offered for students in Preschool through Grade 4, and older students and adults are welcome to help as volunteers. All religious education classes are taught by our dedicated volunteer catechists, under the support and direction of the highly qualified staff in the St. Susanna Faith Formation Office. Adult Faith Formation classes and meetings are offered throughout the year in both mornings and evenings and include, but are not limited to, Bible Studies, RCIA, Baptism preparation, Confirmation preparation, and Catholic teaching on doctrine, devotions, Liturgy and prayer. It is both our goal and our commitment to provide strong, complete and systematic catechesis through prayer, study, reflection and experience so as to nurture lifelong formation in every stage in life.
Through St. Susanna’s commitment to our parish families and the community, we offer many ways to serve others. Our St. Vincent DePaul Society is an an organization of lay person who seek, in a spirit of justice and charity and by a person-to-person involvement, to help those who are in need and who are suffering. The St. Susanna Conference works towards this goal by making house calls to the needy and by working in the Indianapolis Council warehouse where clothing and furniture are collected, sorted, and given at no cost to those who are in need. Mercy Meals group provides support and assist the bereaved by providing attendance at prayer vigils and providing meals and service after funerals. Our home/Hospital/Health Care ministry includes compassionate person who visit and assist parish members who may be ill or homebound or who are a health care facility resident. They distribute Holy Communion and occasionally provide transportation to church, appointments, and to run errands as needed. The Christian Support Center/Food Pantry is staffed by caring people to help with stewardship in the community. The Center provides food and clothing for the needy and disaster victims in the area.
Within our parish, there are many ways for parishioners to share fellowship. Our Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) offers sports activities to parishioner’s families which include kickball, football, cheerleading, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, and track & field. Adults help with CYO programs as coaches, timekeepers, and score keepers. The Men’s Club invite all parish men to a monthly get-together for food and drinks on the third Thursday of each month. The Men’s Club sponsors a Golf Outing in late August and supports many parish activities including cooking and serving meals for parish events and maintenance of parish buildings. Men’s Basketball is open to all men of the parish to place basketball on Sunday evenings. Women’s Club provides the needs of the Church, clergy, and school by using time, talents, and treasures of the women to serve the parish. Activities include shopping trips to Chicago, Holiday Auctions, Christmas High Tea, Cherries & Chocolates Bake Sale, and the Annual Rummage Sale. Our dedicated “Tuesday Night Guys” are hard at work every Tuesday evening at 6:30 p. m. volunteering to maintain the buildings and grounds–all are welcome to come by and join them. They tackle projects from repairing door locks, painting, filling asphalt holes; well, nearly everything that needs fixing. This group shares their personal talents each week while saving substantial maintenance and repair costs to the parish. Our school’s Parent Teacher Partnership (PTP) consists of parents and teachers who meet monthly to discuss areas of need within the school and ways in which they can assist and provide enrichment opportunities for students or teachers. The Scouting Program for members of the parish school in grades K-8 at St. Susanna includes Cub Scouts (Tigers, Wolves, Bears, and Webelos) and Girl Scouts (Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes). Leaders, chaperones, volunteers, and guest speakers provide their knowledge to scouting to teach our children.
St. Susanna sponsors several community events each year. In November, the CYO board hosts a fundraiser called Monte Carlo Night where adults enjoy Texas Poker, Roulette, Black Jack 21 and other games to support our parish sports teams. Our annual school Auction is a fundraiser that involves live and silent auctions and a reverse raffle. All proceeds support the school. Men’s Club serves up several delicious fish fries during the season of Lent complete with baked goods and provides a Field Day cookout for our school children each Spring.. The Summer Parish Festival draws a large crowd over three days with carnival rides, kiddie games, beer & gambling tent, food, live entertainment, used book store, country store, and much more. It requires many months of planning and many volunteers for it’s success.
At St. Susanna, our mission is to provide spiritual growth, complete Catholic education, stewardship and community service to all parishioners. St. Susanna Parish continues to offer these many opportunities for involvement in various ministries. Whether in social groups, community service groups, or parish events, opportunities to volunteer are abundant. Volunteers are need such as Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Gift Bearers, Altar Servers, Ministers of Hospitality, Ushers, Greeters or as an officer or member on one of the various commission, St. Susanna is a busy place that utilizes all of our talents . St. Susanna exists not only as a destination at which parish families gather, but as a home from which we share God’s love with the community.