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Pastoral Plan Special Projects Program

Are you a parish or mission that is overcrowded and unsure how to finance an expansion?  Please visit our Special Projects webpage for more details on a program that might help.

Evolution of Our Parishes

“We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome…yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”
– Acts of the Apostles 2:9-11

Two inexorable trends are shaping our parishes: First, people from around the US and the world continue to choose the 69 counties of our Archdiocese as the place where they want to live, work, play and retire. The result is ever larger parishes and a shortage of space to serve the people of God. Second, the diversity of the general and Catholic population has reached a point where there is no single ethnic group that constitutes a majority in our largest counties. Both trends challenge us to redefine the meaning of “parish” in our Archdiocese.

Discernment Session Recommendations:

Let qualified laity/deacons do more administration so priests can focus on sacraments/catechesis

As our parishes and missions continue to grow they place increasing demands on our priests’ time. Everyone would agree that the most important uses of a priest’s time is celebrating Mass and making the sacraments available to all. However, the administrative duties of a parish absorb a large portion of a pastor’s time each day. We need new approaches to sharing the administrative responsibilities of a parish to free up more time for priests to be priests.

Empower deaneries to collaborate and share ministries, staff, and clergy resources

The resources available to meet pastoral needs can vary significantly from one parish to another. Sometimes the best way to begin or enhance a ministry or program may not be to go it alone. The best approach could be to combine resources with neighboring parishes that leverage the talents, enthusiasm and finances of several parishes.

Create a welcoming and nurturing environment for all cultures within the parish

Most of our parishes are already trying to serve the spiritual and temporal needs of multiple cultures. In time, all parishes will face the challenges of building ecclesial unity in diversity and of learning to run smoothly in a “coalition environment”. This will require flexibility, open minds and new parish models.

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