The Catholic University of America

 Final Examination of

Lois Tylus Locey

for the degree of

Doctor of Ministry


Using the Secular Sciences to Increase Parishioner Participation and Engagement

 Director: Rev. Richard R. DeLillio, O.S.F.S., D.Min.

Although a major theme of Vatican II was the Church’s call to transform the culture (Lumen Gentium, Apostolicam Actuositatem and Gaudium et Spes), a variety of data shows the secular culture may be transforming God’s people more profoundly than the other way around.

Parishes are given a divine mission to draw people into an ever-deepening relationship with God. However, the incredible seductive power of various destructive forces within “our country’s dominant secular culture” effectively competes for people’s minds and hearts by utilizing far greater secular resources than parishes have generally found to fight back. As a result, parishes have experienced a steady and precipitous decline in participation and engagement. Parish ministries could be more effective by integrating the resources of the secular sciences in addressing declining participation, engagement, and spiritual commitment of the faithful. Gaudium et Spes stated, “In pastoral care, sufficient use must be made not only of theological principles, but also of the findings of the secular sciences, especially of psychology and sociology, so that the faithful may be brought to a more adequate and mature life of faith” (no. 62).

The effectiveness of many pastoral ministries could benefit greatly if the Church also applies proven tools, techniques, and concepts from the multi-disciplinary field of resource development, which draws upon fields like marketing, communication, education, and public relations, all of which draw heavily upon the social sciences and technology. In order to prove the veracity of this broader concept, this treatise focuses on one specific parish ministry area: parish communal reconciliation services. A step-by-step multi-disciplinary manual was provided to parish leaders to facilitate a process of increasing attendance and engagement and to help penitents deepen their relationship with God and others.

Parishes of various sizes, geographical locations and economic backgrounds participated in the study. 100% of participating parishes experienced a substantial increase in attendance at communal reconciliation services compared to the previous year (average increase of 246% and maximum increase of 426%). Higher levels of participation can best be achieved by utilizing a combination of both the theological and the practical and by doing both well. Therefore, the call to aggiornamento includes looking at the best and brightest concepts, tools and techniques the current culture has to offer and utilizing them to transform the world to Christ.


More About Locey

Lois Tylus Locey, daughter of Leo and Therese Tylus, was baptized and raised in the faith at St. Victor Catholic Church in Calumet City, Illinois.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts, Honors degree in Political Science at Loyola University of Chicago in 1989 and a Master of Public Administration degree with a specialty in not-for-profit management at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1991. During the same year, she began serving as the Parish Administrator at St. Anthony Parish in Renton, Washington where she was recognized for the best idea to affect parish finances in a national contest.

 In 1995, Ms. Locey began serving as the Associate Director of Parish Stewardship for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, where she introduced holistic Catholic stewardship to over 1.5 million Catholics. Ms. Locey co-authored the International Catholic Stewardship Council’s (ICSC) Children’s Stewardship Manual.  She continued her service to build the Kingdom of God as the Pastoral Associate for Administration and Resource Development at St. Michael Parish in Olympia, Washington in 1998. She earned a professional designation in fund-raising management (CFRM) at Indiana University’s School of Philanthropy/The Fundraising School. In 2004, Ms. Locey received a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry degree jointly from Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington) and University of Portland (Oregon). She served as general editor/researcher for the ICSC’s book on best practices in Catholic stewardship throughout the world, Keeping Stewardship Alive:  Proven Stewardship Ideas.

 In 2004, Ms. Locey followed God’s call to serve His people at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs, Florida (Diocese of Orlando) where she currently serves as the Pastoral Associate for Administration and Stewardship. The three parishes where Ms. Locey served over a period of 23 years (responsible for administration and stewardship), each received the ICSC award for having the most outstanding total stewardship effort and materials. She served on the teaching faculty at the ICSC’s inaugural stewardship institute in Australia, where she worked with over 17 dioceses and their parishes to establish stewardship as a way of life in the land down under. She served many years on the board and executive board of the ICSC. Ms. Locey participated on the curriculum committee for the Catholic Leadership Institute’s (CLI) “Tending the Talents” program and on a special task force to design CLI’s “Disciple-Maker Index.”

 Ms. Locey is grateful to God for her husband, Jerry, her mentor and fellow pilgrim in Church service. They reside in Celebration, Florida.