Parish Pastoral Plan Week 1: What is the future for our parish?
What if we plan for a better future for our Parish?
Life is full of planning. First there is the mental creation, visualising a desired outcome, followed by the physical creation, taking the steps needed to get the desired result. Think of cooking a meal, going on a holiday, building a house…etc..etc. WHAT IF planning is absent in these and a multitude of similar situations? Indifference and inertia rule, results are disappointing and good things remain undone.
Businesses and organisations that are not constantly taking stock in our world of rapid change, and planning accordingly, quickly lose effectiveness and relevance.
The pace of change in society in recent decades especially is breath-taking; think of the world of digital technology, including the iPhone unheard of 20 years ago; think of same-sex marriage legislation; think of the upheavals in political systems…etc..etc.
So too for religion and church where change is experienced mostly as diminishment and alienation. And this when, despite all the material advances, deep down there remains a religious and a spiritual thirst in the hearts of most humans. For baptised Catholics these yearnings are best satisfied within a community of faith in a fully alive parish. This is our quest as we embark on planning to reclaim faith as we face an uncertain future.
There is a convergence of important factors for us which make the development of a plan a priority now: there has been no plan since the amalgamation of OLQP and SCB; after a 16 year stint by Fr Paul Monkerud as Pastor we are now in a new era with the recent appointment of Fr Greg Morgan as Pastor along with the arrival of his Verbum Dei colleagues, Fr Alfredo, Bro Dan and Fr Daniele; the Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse has recommended (16.7) that Catholic dioceses and parishes review their governance and management structures ‘in consultation and participation of lay men and women’ ; as a call to renewal and reform within the church throughout Australia the Conference of Bishops has initiated a process of preparation for a National Plenary Council in 2020.
As a background to all these local factors we have the constant urgings of Pope Francis for a reformation where a ‘business as usual’ mentality is no longer acceptable in a church aspiring to be a transforming presence of Jesus in a confused world.
Plans of themselves may have minimum effect unless they are owned and implemented by the stakeholders. So, the hope at this stage is that parishioners may welcome this Parish Pastoral Council initiative as a worthy project to broaden a base of co-responsibility in re-vitalising the life of the parish. WHAT IF we plan for a better future and trust in God?
Reflection & Sharing
i. What are your thoughts and feelings about issues raised above?
ii. Think of significant events/developments with which you have had involvement and where there was good planning OR poor/no planning. What were some results in each case? What learnings?