III. THE STRATEGIC PLAN FOR

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1 III. THE STRATEGIC PLAN FOR To address the findings and implications of the research, the Steering Committee proposes the following plan for the time period. Governing Theme, Overall Goal, and Focus Areas Governing theme of the strategic plan: Over the next five years, more deeply incorporate baptized Catholics into the Catholic Church, as the body of Christ, and do so over the entire course of their lives. Explanation: Of course, baptized Catholics are already incorporated into the Body of Christ, his Church. Often, however, as Pope John Paul II indicated when he raised the challenge of the New Evangelization, people may be Catholic Christians in name but not in fact. Deeper incorporation means a more deliberate and a more intentional faith commitment that narrows the gap between notional and real faith. This deeper incorporation in Christ and the more authentic appropriation of faith happens not in a moment but in the course of a life s journey that the Church sustains and accompanies. Overarching goal: Improve the total Archdiocese October count in each parish by 20% by Explanation: this overarching goal is not just a quantifiable product; rather, it would be a sign and a manifestation that greater vitality has taken hold of this local Church. Focus areas: Given the research findings and the implications described above, the Steering Committee has determined the following areas for focused attention in the strategic pastoral plan: Evangelization: attention to teens / early young adults (13-24) Formation: attention to parents when they present their children for the sacraments, as a means of fostering the faith formation of the parents as well as that of the children Parish Vitality: attention to insuring the vitality of the parish system through a renewed sense of mission and stable financials, so that the mission (evangelization and formation) and support for the mission (financial stability) can yield a renewed sense of parish vitality. December 1,

2 Strategic Initiatives As a way of galvanizing a full Archdiocesan focus and support for the strategic imperatives, the Steering Committee recommends that the Archdiocese launch a series of Years of. Each year would focus on a particular topic of strategic pastoral importance. Each year will involve multi-level planning and effort. Pastors, pastoral staffs, and parish consultative bodies will be asked to prepare plans for the year with the assurance of support for ideas and best practices from the Pastoral Center. The schools and other institutions and communities of the Archdiocese will be asked to engage in the Years as appropriate. In a given year, particular departments or agencies of the Archdiocese may have special relevant help to offer the parishes and other groupings. At the same time that the departments and agencies offer resources on a local level, they would also maintain responsibility to plan and execute centrally organized initiatives. The Steering Committee recommends the following plan of Years of. Year 1: Year of Teens and Early Young Adults (July July 2012) The first year of the strategic pastoral plan timeframe will focus on significantly increasing the frequency and quality of the Church s engagement with teens and early young adults who move from college into a post-college transition. Initiatives would be structured to respect the different subsets in this year old grouping. The year might include but is by no means limited to some of the following elements: Establishing vibrant teen / early young adult offerings available to every parish in the Archdiocese, either as a stand-alone program or in partnership with other local parishes. Aspects of the program should include apologetics, reflection on the faith, social service, and the involvement of teens/ early young adults in the liturgical life of the parish, for example, as lectors, servers, and ushers. Appointing one to three youth minister advocates at every parish who will serve as the primary communications link between early young adults, parishes, and the Archdiocesan young adult ministry. December 1,

3 Enlisting our Catholic high schools to foster better linkages with local parishes and to lead their own efforts, for example, by offering Mass before sports events and making devotional space and events available in the school. Providing Archdiocesan-wide retreats and forums for early adults focused on fostering deeper connections to the Church as the community of Christ s disciples. Insuring better transitions from high school to college / technical school to adult life with its responsibilities and doing this from the perspective of the journey of discipleship. Embedded in these offering would be vocational invitations and reflection as well as formation for social justice with a focus on life issues, racial concerns, and questions surrounding immigration coupled with opportunities for service. Year 2: Year of Sunday Mass (July July 2013) The second year will focus on educating Catholics on the critical importance of Sunday Mass attendance and encouraging reflection on the Mass to foster a deeper appreciation and appropriation of the value of the Eucharist. This year may include but is by no means limited to some of the following elements: Educating parishioners frequently about the importance of Sunday Mass through homilies, bulletin articles, and other parish forums Providing seminars and forums that invite parishioners to a better understanding and appreciation of the liturgy Reaching out in the community to Catholics who rarely or infrequently come to Mass These efforts would be accompanied by a raising of vocational awareness in and through the celebration of the Eucharist. Additionally, the linkage between social justice and Eucharistic celebration would be underscored. December 1,

4 Year 3: Year of Parent Formation (July July 2014) The third year will focus on fostering deeper connections with parents, particularly when they present their children for sacraments. This year may include but is by no means limited to some of the following elements: Creating consistent and Archdiocesan-wide sacramental programs for parents that include a deep understanding of the sacraments as well as a growing appreciation for them as encounters with Christ and as the basis of the Christian life. These programs should highlight parents responsibility to raise their children in the faith. The vision is to create a family and home life that fosters a knowledge of faith, prayer, and service in the world. In that home and family, one would also value faith that works for justice and an appreciation of one s unique vocation or calling by God. Developing a viral implementation approach that encourages parental involvement over time beyond particular sacramental years. In other words, lateral ministry would take place. Program participants one year become the volunteer leaders the next year. Offering retreats or other programs for parents that encourage deeper reflections on their faith life and their role as models for their children Developing additional tools and materials that will encourage parents to reconnect with their faith and provide them with homebased guidance to raise their children in the faith Year 4: Year of the Sacraments (July July 2015) The final year will focus on fostering reflection by Catholics on the purpose and meaning of all of the sacraments, with particular attention to Eucharist and Reconciliation. This year may include but is by no means limited to some of the following elements: Dedicating homilies to educating parishioners on the meaning and purpose of the sacraments Offering special retreats or programs of reflection on some or all of the sacraments at the parish, deanery or Archdiocesan level December 1,

5 Providing catechetical instruction about the sacraments in bulletin inserts, s or other forms of communication Developing new aids for examination of conscience Reaching out in the community to Catholics who are rarely or infrequently at Mass by creatively and imaginatively using various forms of communications Embedding the concerns of social justice and vocational awareness in all efforts. Multi-year effort: Parish Vitality Across all the years, the Archdiocese will also implement a Parish Transformation Initiative (PTI) in the Archdiocese. This initiative is intended to renew the sense of mission at parishes and to ensure that the parish system stabilizes financially, so that the mission can be adequately supported. The key pieces included in the PTI are: helping parishes to identify their particular mission, employing best practices to maximize the material support of the mission, and drawing from the stories of success of other, similar parishes. December 1,

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