Dear St. V Community,
Here you will find a new letter from Archbishop Lori about the parish planning process. Please read it carefully, and begin to think about it and pray over it.
Archbishop Lori wants all planning to reflect our mission of evangelization. For this reason, he conducted the survey that so many of you participated in, and he asked each parish to reflect on this data, and produce a Mission Readiness Statement. Our parish response to this request is now in the final stages of preparation and will be presented to our Parish Council at its September meeting for final approval. Then it will be published in our bulletin and on our website, and formally submitted to the Archbishop.
The Archbishop also believes that all planning needs to take into account the constraints within which we must plan. The most tightly binding of these constraints is the rapidly declining number of priests available to serve our parishes.
Accordingly, the Archbishop has decided to create a number of “pastorates,” composed of one or two or maybe even three of our current parishes. Each will have one leader (pastor or PLD) and ministry team, and together they will produce a plan for the pastorate.
We do not yet know with whom we will be grouped, or who the assigned leader of our pastorate will be. We will find out in October and have a chance to respond at a series of meetings in early November.
There are a lot of questions that I cannot answer for you at this time. Among them are: Who will be in our “pastorate” with us? Who will be appointed to lead the pastorate? How much will this affect the role of the present pastors of the constituent parishes? What will the future look like for St. Vincent? Will we still exist as a parish in our historic church? How will we preserve our unique identity, theology and spirituality, especially our liturgical traditions and our service to the homeless?
What should we do now? First, do not panic. There are a lot of possible scenarios that could emerge, and, granted that some of them would be very difficult for us to live with, many more could be very good for us, and really help us further succeed in our mission.
Second, do not assume bad will or go conspiracy-hunting. The Archbishop is asking us all to direct our planning to the preaching of the Good News of God and to plan within the reality of our mostly tightly binding constraint. These are good ideas, even if they lead to challenging questions.
Third, stay involved in the process. We will keep you up to date with what’s happening, by bulletin, email, and website. Stay alert for updates. Think about how we should respond at each step, and forward your ideas to the pastor, the staff and the council.
Fourth, and most important, pray. Ask for the light of the Holy Spirit to guide everyone involved in this process throughout the Archdiocese. May God bless us all.