Progress of our Diocesan Pastoral Plan
Originally published in Catholic Outlook November 2012
By Fr Paul Marshall and Daniel Ang, 'Faith in Our Future' Pastoral Planning Team
Following the completion of our parish consultations, work has begun on developing recommendations that will ultimately form the content of our Diocesan Pastoral Plan.
In the past month, we have shared our reports with our diocesan agencies, summarising the feedback, and entered into discussions about priorities, resources and strategies in order to better meet the needs and opportunities for our Diocese.
So far, some 200 possible actions have surfaced though these remain in outline and much more work will need to take place to refine, resource and align these initial ideas and proposals.
Alongside these discussions with our agencies, we have begun research into best practice in the strengthening of parish communities, which remain the primary experience of ecclesial life in our Diocese and indeed across Australia.
As a rich source of experience, expertise and faith, it is fair to say that our Pastoral Plan will likely impact on parish life more so than any other group in our Diocese.
This is certainly our hope as the involvement of all the faithful is essential to the renewal of the community life we value and a strengthening of our missionary outreach as a Church.
Other areas of consideration are a review of structures based on the latest data gathered from the 2011 Census as well as the national count and surveys facilitated by the National Church Life Survey. This data provide us with a good sense of the most recent trends within our Diocese across a number of lines, including demographic change, participation rates, ethnic composition and population growth.
As raised during the parish consultations, change is an inevitable and even a desirable part of mission in an ever evolving Diocese.
As Christmas draws close and the New Year approaches, we will keep you updated with news of progress in the months to come. It is a good time to be planning for our future as a Church in the Year of Faith and in the light of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the renewed reflection on faith that this occasion has inspired.
As identified in the ‘lineamenta’, the preparatory document for last month’s Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation, the key to the fruitfulness of our future missionary endeavours will be “the Church’s capacity, more or less, of becoming a real community, a true fraternity and a living body”.
In other words, our ability to witness to our deepest identity as a communion of faith in our families, parishes and communities will be essential to our effective proclamation of the Gospel to others who hunger for the good news we encounter in Jesus Christ. To strengthen and build this communion will be the central goal of our pastoral plan.
For more on our Diocesan Pastoral Plan, visit the Faith in Our Future Site
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