St. Teresa of Avila once stated, “Christ has no body here on earth but ours.” Through her work in the Parish Pastoral Council, Jan Bacher has been serving as the eyes and ears of Saint John Bosco Parish for the past 12 years.
Born in the Fulton-Clark neighborhood of Cleveland, Jan and her family first attended St. Rocco’s Church. At the age of eight, her family moved to Parma Heights, where they became active in Holy Family Church. After graduating from Valley Forge High School, Jan majored in English in the College of Education at Bowling Green State University. There, she met Math major Jerry Bacher, whom she married one year after college commencement. Jan taught English for five years at Midpark High School before becoming a full-time mother of three boys.
Service at SJB:
At SJB, Jan was involved with PSR for 20 years as a teacher, junior high and senior high coordinator, as well as co-coordinator of the summer Bible School program. While teaching PSR, she actively participated in the Little Rock Scripture Study and Spiritual Development Committee. Jan now co-chairs the Spiritual Development Committee with Kathi DiVincenzo. In 2009, Jan was chosen as the representative of the Spiritual Development Committee for the Parish Council. Ultimately, she became the chairperson of the Council in 2015.
As Jan describes, “The Parish Council is consultative. We’re not the doers, we’re the thinkers. We are entrusted with the job of dealing with the concerns and needs of parishioners and sharing those with the pastor. We are the eyes and ears of the parish. We also serve as the voice of our fellow parishioners before our Pastor.” The Parish Council abides by guidelines which were established by the Diocese of Cleveland. Currently, the Council consists of 12 members. Five of those members are chosen from committees within the parish, including: Evangelization, Spiritual Development, Stewardship, the El Salvador Ministry, and the Holy Name Society. Every three years, the Council accepts nominations for new members, who are then chosen after interviews and prayerful discernment by the existing members and Pastor.
According to Jan, “We help to set the pastoral direction of the parish in light of the gospel.” Beginning in 2013, the Council commenced a series of five-year Parish Pastoral Plans to address the needs and wants of the parish. Ideas which have come to fruition from these plans include the Bethany Ministry for funerals, SJB’s Community Service Day, the El Salvador Ministry, and the “Generations” Group which sponsors community-building activities for those over 45 years of age.
Presently, the Parish Council is studying Brandon Vogt’s book, “Return: How to Draw Your Child Back to the Church.” The book provides useful ways to start conversations to re-ignite the fire of faith in inactive Catholics of all ages. The Council will also serve at an information booth at this summer’s Parish Festival to welcome attendees to SJB.
In addition, SJB’s Parish Council is reviewing the results of the “Disciple Maker Survey” which was conducted throughout the Diocese earlier this year. “These results will identify strengths and weaknesses, and define opportunities for parish growth”, says Jan. “Based on these findings, we will ’tweak’ our 2018 Parish Pastoral Plan to best suit our needs.”
Besides leading the Parish Council, Jan also serves as a lector and secretary of the Holy Name Society, which is chaired by her husband Jerry. Her service to the Lord is truly exemplary of St. Teresa of Avila’s proclamation.
SJB’s Parish Council consists of the following members:
Fr. Matt Byrne Richelle Gnezda
Jan Bacher John McLaughlin
Sue Ballas Michael Scheutzow
Marianne Brooks Barbara Sekerak
Kathi DiVincenzo Daniel Zawadzki
Mary Fackler Keith Zupancic
Submitted by Christine and Robert Martuch