Disciples in Mission – Article 4 – Local Pastoral Plans
A link to a PDF of this article, suitable for printing, can be found here.
As a part of the implementation of Disciples in Mission, each Collaborative will write a local pastoral plan. The plan will be a road map for them, answering the question, “How do we get to the place of being a strong, stable, intentional and effective center of the New Evangelization?”
The Phase One Collaboratives will start writing their plans next January (2014). They will have about a year in which to write them, and then at the end of that year they will present the plans to Cardinal Seán, who will either approve them, or send them back for revision.
The team which is going to write the local plan will be made up of people from the Pastoral Team, the Councils, and other Parish leaders. They will be appointed by the Pastor. As they begin their task, they will have eight days of training in the process.
The plan will be broad in its scope. It will seek to answer the sorts of questions that Parish mission statements have long tried to answer. Who are we as a people? What do we do? Why do we do it?
It will also get quite specific as to programs. Where do we have our Religious Education program meet? Is it in one site or two or three? Where will our priests live? Where will our offices be? How will we use each building that belongs to our collaborative? How will we foster vocations? Who are the members of our Pastoral Team? What is the job description of each one? How are the pastoral and administrative responsibilities of the Collaborative distributed among the members of the team?
The plan will also be very specific as to finance. How do we set our budget? How are the distributed costs proportionately distributed? If we are a three Parish Collaborative, and one rectory is being used to house the priests and another to house a Youth and Young Adult Center and another is rented as income property, and the Parish offices are in the Parish Center of one of the Parishes, who has to pay what to whom in order to make all of that fair? How often will we report out our financial condition to the people, and what will that report contain?
Most importantly, the local plan will have to lay out the path to Evangelization. How are we going to make use of key moments in the lives of our people and our families to Evangelize? What are we going to do about Adult Faith Formation? How will our people come to know Jesus in the life of our Parish, and fall more deeply in love with him?
The local plan will also contain measurables, and a plan for how to evaluate them. How will we measure our success? How will we use surveys and sacramental numbers and Mass Counts and outside evaluations to tell us how we are doing? How will we respond when something isn’t working? The plan will also have to envision what to do if something isn’t working. What went wrong? Did we run out of money, or run out of energy, or run out of motivation, or was it a bad idea or an idea that didn’t fit? Was it a problem of leadership? Do we just try something else, or do we try to fix our processes? What tools will we use to fix them?
By having a local plan, and using it to hold ourselves accountable, we embrace the best practices both in management and in Evangelization, so that our Collaboratives can be successful in reawakening the ardor for the faith in the lives of the people of 21st century Boston.