Published April 16, 2015
1. Here comes everybody
Catholics in the pews were encouraged to chime in. And did they ever. The clergy chimed in, as did sisters and brothers in religious orders. Some 20,000 people helped shape the plan in 2014 by voting on proposals and adding their ideas to the five-year plan. The goal is to set the direction for the Catholic community here for the next few years. Parishes are being asked to reexamine what they do, why they do it, and what more they can do.
2. It’s a DIY plan
There are no point-by-point directions on how parishes should implement the plan. Instead, the document paints in broad strokes the priorities of the archdiocese. In return, parish leaders are asked to shape the mission of their own faith communities based on these priorities. Parishes are called to collaborate with each other more, sharing best practices and resources.
3. Pope Francis has had his effect
He’s talked a lot about service to the poor. In February, the pontiff took the Gospel story of Jesus curing the leper as a call to action. “Jesus responds immediately to the leper’s plea, without waiting to study the situation and all its possible consequences,” Pope Francis said. “For Jesus, what matters above all is reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick, restoring everyone to God’s family.” Among the recommendations are calls to reach out to those disenfranchised from the Catholic Church. Also, Catholics are to “prioritize charity and service as the epitome of living out the faith.”
4. Family together time
Church leaders stress the importance of whole family religious education. You may see your parish offering educational and service opportunities for parents to be side by side with their children doing the work of their faith. It’s well understood children witnessing the lived faith of parents is the best way to ensure they remain Catholic as they grow into adults themselves. Others may see new ideas on how to learn the faith.
5. Embrace the tech
That smartphone in your pocket should play a larger part in your faith life. It’s a fact of life the web is never far from a person’s fingertips. Mobile technology plays a big role in people’s lives: job searches, binge-watching shows, online banking, ice bucket challenge videos. The church cannot turn its back on this connection to technology. The Pastoral Plan calls for the Catholic community to be part of the high-speed revolution that has changed how people communicate. One idea is to spotlight learning options about the Catholic faith and prayer apps accessible to people any place, any day, at any time, in addition to using technology as a tool to get the news out about the Catholic Church.