By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published June 12, 2014
ATLANTA—First some 14,700 people responded to a survey, then Archdiocese of Atlanta officials organized those responses around four themes. Now it is time for parishioners in the archdiocese to have their say.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta is in the midst of a yearlong planning process to target key issues facing Catholics in its 69 counties. The project began in March, when Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory announced the project. In early 2015, he is expected to release a plan, with key recommendations for action on these priorities during the next five years.
Parishioners are the lynchpin to the success of the process. This summer is the time.
Guide booklets have been posted for use in the 100 parishes and missions here to encourage discussion on four themes among laity. The themes selected from the survey responses are: knowing our faith; living our faith; spreading/keeping the faith; and evolution of parishes.
The booklets include resources to spur conversation, from a summary of key issues, official documents of the church addressing the key issue, along with “food for thought,” pages of news articles, polls and survey results touching on these themes.
Each parish is encouraged to brainstorm to come up with 12 recommendations, three for each theme. Organizers of the planning process have given parish leaders a wide latitude to organize the discussion, some may use town hall meetings, others online surveys, others small group discussions or meetings with pastoral councils, staff and leadership.
The goal is to help discern solutions to the four most important areas to focus on for the next three to five years.
The deadline is Aug. 1. Those recommendations will then be shared at a priests’ convocation and at deanery-level meetings of parish representatives for further review, discussion, and additional honing.
In early 2015, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory is expected to release a pastoral plan with the best recommendations on how parishes here can address these key priorities during the next five years to help Catholics, both active and inactive, with challenges in their faith lives and to approach spreading the Gospel with intentional planning.