As we all know, Archbishop Gregory has just published the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan. It comes after months of work where many people from all over the Archdiocese made their contributions towards this vision, including many folks in our parish. By now, we’ve all had the opportunity to read it in the Georgia Bulletin. The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan consists of what the Archdiocese calls “themes” which appear below. Archbishop Gregory calls these “areas of Catholic life…in need of our attention,” and under them, he lists a number of “priorities.”
They are as follows:
Knowing Our Faith
- Family formation model for catechesis
- Adult catechesis
- Parish family participation opportunities
Living Our Faith
- Better explain “why” of Catholic teachings
- Prioritize charity and service
- Deepen personal prayer life
- Increase parish unity and personal connections to parish
Keeping and Spreading Our Faith
- Small faith community development
- Technology use
- Whole family programs
Evolution of [Each] Parish
- Redistribution of some clerical and laity roles
- Deanery sharing of clerical, ministry, and staff resources
- Welcoming environment for all cultures
In the Georgia Bulletin, the Archbishop also carefully noted that the exact method of ‘how’ each parish would implement the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan would be according to the unique circumstances of each parish. So now it is our responsibility as a parish to re-read the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan, to reflect upon it, pray over it, and start planning how we might begin to implement this vision as a parish.
The next step is to focus our direction. I will be pulling together a Parish Team to address the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan, made up of representatives from our various parish ministries and communities. This team will also include input from our staff here at the parish as well. I will soon be posting the names of the Parish Team members on the bulletin board in the Narthex. This Parish Team will be asked to carefully read over the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan (note that the official document is linked at the bottom of this post). This team may begin their work remotely during the summer, as our summer schedules are so varied, though ultimately they will meet to finalize their ideas.
The primary task of the Parish Team is to help our parish focus our efforts. As the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan is a five-year plan, we need to see where to start. There are some recommendations that our parish already does quite well, so where then should our collective emphasis be? Once the Parish Team helps us focus, gives directions, and recommends a course of action, then will come the action phase of our Parish Pastoral Plan, which the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan allocates to “Implementation Teams” for each of the four themes. In all likelihood, our Parish Team will spend the 2015-2016 catechetical year doing its job before the action phase begins with the four Implementation Teams.
At that point, four Implementation Teams will be called together to direct the implementation of the plan. These Implementation Teams will be smaller than the Parish Team and will probably be made up of one or two members of that initial Parish Team, other parishioners, staff, and perhaps the occasional outside consultant. I have decided to delay forming these Implementation Teams until after the Parish Team gives their directions, as that may dictate who ultimately will need to be on the four Implementation Teams.
Every parishioner and every Catholic in the Archdiocese is, of course, encouraged to read the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan for himself or herself. Members of the Parish Team can also be approached with ideas or thoughts. What is important for us all to keep in mind is that while our Church is not a democracy, we are all, as committed Catholics, called upon to help build up the body of Christ, which is the Church, and that process begins locally, right here in the parish. We are excited to begin this process.