Monday, July 30, 2012

Phase I: A Survey of the Church in our Archdiocese

It was decided that the Working Committee would liaise with a Survey Team headed by Dr Sr Anitha Chettiar of Nirmala Niketan to design the questionnaires, collate and analyse the data, and prepare results. The Office of Lay Collaboration in Ministry (OLCM) would double up as Secretariat, and the OLCM team would help coordinate with different parishes and institutions to facilitate the process of data collection.

Training programmes were held by the Working Committee in collaboration with the Survey Team on how to go about the data collection process. This was done at five centres across the archdiocese, keeping in mind convenience of travel, and providing alternative dates to those who could not make it on the day assigned to the particular deaneries. Every parish was asked to send a team comprising of their APC representative and two responsible members from the SCC Steering Committee. It was extremely heartening to see the response – 110 (out of 122) parishes sent their representatives for the scheduled training programmes, and another eight parishes sent their representatives to the extra session held for those who missed the scheduled training.

The parish representatives who attended the training were instructed to form a Parish Survey Team that would oversee the survey. They were told to diligently follow the given procedure for selecting those who would respond to the questionnaire, so as to maintain transparency in the process and statistical validity of the ‘sample’ chosen. The sample selection procedure consisted of two steps – first, to select five per cent of the families, and second, to arrive at which family member (from each selected family) would answer the questionnaire. The Parish Survey Team was asked to prepare a list of families in each SCC of their parish. Congrats!! Most parishes already had these lists ready. A format was provided to help them choose five per cent of total number of families in each SCC by a draw of lots in the presence of other Steering Committee members. The names of all the adults (18 years and above) in each selected family would be written onto another format which had a statistical table provided to arrive at the particular family member who would be asked to respond to the questionnaire (`Kish Grid’ method). These selected persons were invited to fill in the questionnaire. This method ensured transparency and unbiased selection of the persons.

The respondents were assured of the utmost confidentiality as they were to seal their responses in an envelope, and the OLCM Office would send these directly to the Survey Team from Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work that was coordinating the data entry. Since there was no way their identity would be known to any one, the respondents were urged to be frank, objective and honest in answering the questionnaire. Total number of questionnaires filled in by the laity is about 4,500.

Further, those who had not been selected by the Kish method and would have liked to participate in the survey were given the option of an online survey – by emailing their request to This online facility was made available from March 18-31, and we had about 200 persons who answered the questionnaire online.

In addition to the laity, group-specific questionnaires were also prepared and sent out as follows: diocesan priests (250); PPC Executive Committee members (366); heads of Commissions, Committees, Associations, and their executive teams (130); deacons and seminarians (50); religious priests, sisters, brothers (176 i.e. 20%); permanent deacons (9); diocesan priests and religious involved in education and health (42 i.e. 20%) and in social work (10).

Thus, the total number of duly filled in questionnaires received should be in the range of 5516 (if all are filled in and returned!) The Working Committee believes these responses will provide valuable data for the subsequent stages of the Consultation, leading to a greater clarity of our overall archdiocesan vision, sharpening of our mission, and formulating our corresponding goals and strategies.

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