The 2010 Parish Pastoral Plan has provided the opportunity to travel the diocese and meet the people who are an active part of parish planning.
Some parishes, although rural and small, are alive and vibrant with parish activity that goes far beyond the Sunday weekend Mass schedule. Usually these parishes share their pastor with one or more other parishes. The parishioners have come to understand how important it is to assist the pastor with parish responsibilities and have come forward to volunteer in areas such as, sacramental preparation, visiting the sick and homebound, training liturgical ministers, music ministry for liturgies, social justice issues, business administration, financial issues and many more areas of parish life.
I am pleased that all 131 parishes in our diocese are taking part in the 2010 Parish Pastoral Plan. Such overwhelming participation brings great hope to the future planning efforts.
The planning meetings are going well. Parishes are currently in the process of communicating the parish planning updates with their parishioners. Many parishes are organizing town meetings, listening sessions or bulletin messages to receive parish input. This information is then shared with the pastors, parish life coordinators and parish representatives at the regional planning committee meetings.
Some regions are more challenging than others; however, the greatest planning tool is prayer followed by the ability to listen to one another and the ability to envision the future. I am confident that the Holy Spirit is in our midst and is at the helm; guiding the way in our planning process.
Regional planning committees will meet until their preliminary planning drafts are revised by being amended, adapted or changed. The revised recommendations are to be submitted to the Diocesan Planning Committee by Oct. 15.
The next phase will begin Oct. 15 and run through Jan. 15, 2011. During this time the Diocesan Planning Committee will review the plans for each region. Should further modifications of a region be needed, the Diocesan Planning Committee will consult with the parishes affected and the Regional Planning Committee, before forwarding its recommendations to the Presbyteral Council.
The Presbyteral Council will consider the plans before submitting them to the bishop. It is anticipated that by spring 2011 the 2010 Parish Pastoral Plan will be formally accepted.
For more information contact me, Marlene Mulford, at (217) 698-8500, ext. 108, or e-mail: .