Changing times demand that we re-imagine how we live faithfully in the modern world, which has turned its back on the Gospel,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano at last night’s Vespers Prayer Service for members of the parish Strategic Plan Taskforces.
The bishop bean his brief homily noting that yesterday was also the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council fifty-four years ago and the feast day of St. John XXIII. He said that Pope John, who was 78, when he convened the Council, had a great vision and plan for the Church, which began with “opening the windows to the truth of Jesus Christ.” “Pope John often said that he wanted to be a gardener, not a museum curator,” said the bishop who added that the purpose of the Pastoral Planning process now underway in parishes is not administrative, but “spiritual and pastoral” in its intent to revitalize parishes and bring people back to the Church. “The great spiritual struggle of the 21st century, whether we like it or not, is the relevance of our parish and school communities for people who think they can search for God without the Church,” he said.
“We must invite people back into our family, one person at a time and together deepen the mystery of the Church as we live it in our own age. We have to remember that everything we do begins and ends with Jesus.” The planning process, under the leadership of Patrick Turner, Director of Pastoral and Strategic Planning, grew out of the Synod mandate to plan for the future of the diocese while working toward reform and renewal. On September 30, parishes throughout the diocese submitted pastoral plans, which were developed after a process of parish self-assessments during the spring in order to respond to the challenges faced by parishes including the need to be more welcoming and to reach out to Catholics who no longer participate in the Church.
The next step in the Pastoral Planning process will include the presentation of five workshops, one for each of the five Synod priority areas (Liturgy and Worship, Family Life, Evangelization, Leadership, and Catechesis and Education). The workshops will provide opportunities for taskforce members to hear from speakers, discuss best practices, and share news from parishes about actions that are already underway.
For information contact: Patrick Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org