In order to get an initial sense of what some of the greatest successes and challenges may be as pastorates undertake the planning process, a diverse group of nine pastorates (three in each vicariate) were invited to participate in a pilot cohort.
The pilot pastorates were a purposefully diverse group of pastorates that, through their differences, revealed the kinds of things that were great opportunities or major stumbling blocks to engaging the call to missionary discipleship at both the personal and community level.
Their experience tested questions about the kind of processes that would work best for strategically thinking about missionary discipleship at the pastorate level:
- how could a group of parishioners best be engaged in this process?
- how would the message of discipleship and pastorate planning be carried out?
- what kinds of interest or resistance would be met?
- what information needed to be gathered and shared?
- how could the plan be implemented rather than just sit on a shelf?
- what could prevent the ability to engage in a planning process at this time?
Although each Pilot Pastorate approached the planning process from a unique starting point, they shared a few key experiences as part of that process, including:
- Formation of a local Pastorate Planning Team who gathered on a regular basis to review current opportunities and challenges in the pastorate, discern a pastorate vision, and strategize about how to move closer to the vision;
- Participation in a Day of Reflection for pastors, planning teams, and staff on the Core Mission Priorities and how they are lived out in the pastorate;
- Quarterly gatherings of the pastors, facilitated by Dominic Perri from Leadership Roundtable, to build a learning community and encourage sharing of experiences.
2017 (PILOT) COHORT
The following pastorates were invited to participate in the pilot cohort:
St. Dominic, St. Anthony of Padua and Most Precious Blood
Sacred Heart of Mary (Graceland Park), St. Rita and Our Lady of Fatima
St. Casimir, St. Brigid and St. Elizabeth of Hungary
St. Joseph (Cockeysville)
St. John the Evangelist (Severna Park)
Ascension (Halethorpe) and St. Augustine (Elkridge)
St. Joseph (Sykesville)
Our Lady of the Mountains
Holy Family (Middletown), St. Francis of Assisi (Brunswick) and St. Mary (Petersville)
Because each pastorate is unique, once activated, the Pilot Pastorates engaged in pastorate planning at their own pace.
The following is a very brief summary of the status of each of the pilot pastorates at the end of 2018:
- Our Lady of the Mountains
- Addressing facilities in tandem with evangelization-based planning because it has been difficult to focus first on the question of how best to evangelize with significant questions about facilities remaining
- Determined the need to reduce the number of worship sites; holding a series of town hall meetings on proposed changes
- Holy Family/St. Francis/St. Mary
- Good foundational understanding of missionary discipleship and evangelization-based planning laid with planning team
- Working on crafting plan, facilitated by Archdiocesan staff, which should be completed by summer of this year
- St. Joseph, Sykesville
- Continued development of plan based on six Core Mission Priorities and corresponding implementation actions
- Plan approved by pastorate planning team in September 2018
- Catholic Community of Ascension and St. Augustine
- Completed review of existing strategic plan, with facilitation by Archdiocesan staff; plan affirmed by planning team
- St. John, Severna Park
- Continuing to work with Divine Renovation Network
- Working on updating strategic plan with outside facilitator
- St. Joseph, Cockeysville
- Continuing multi-year planning effort
- Year 3 plan developed over summer 2018 with a staff facilitator
- Clarifying strategic vision to guide direction of pastorate, especially in terms of planned building projects
- Sacred Heart of Mary/St. Rita/Our Lady of Fatima
- Completed a review of current conditions in pastorate and articulated view towards future, facilitated by Archdiocesan staff
- Newsletter with findings distributed to pastorate; next steps being discerned
- Brigid/St. Casimir/St. Elizabeth of Hungary
- Completed initial review with planning team of current conditions in pastorate
- Determined the need to reduce from three to two worship sites; the final Mass at St. Brigid was celebrated Feb. 2, 2019
- Will reconstitute planning team and begin evangelization-based planning in the new year, facilitated by Archdiocesan staff
- Anthony/St. Dominic/Most Precious Blood
- Crafted a vision for a Year of Engagement in the pastorate, focused around intentional moments of discipleship
- Consolidated the office and administrative functions into one office at St. Anthony of Padua, and combined the Finance Committees together to augment and support the combined Pastoral Council
- Adopted a new name “The Epiphany Pastorate of St Anthony, St Dominic and Most Precious Blood” to help ground the vision and mission in a diverse immigrant community
- Building relationships among pastorate parishes and ownership of the process, guided by an outside facilitator