Pastoral Planning Update from the Catholic Center in Jefferson City
With the feedback and input of our diocese’s faithful, on Pentecost 2010, Bishop Gaydos established the Pastoral Plan priorities of faith, family, reaching out and planning for the future as a shared path for ministries and activities of our parishes and the Catholic Center (chancery office) in Jefferson City. The 2010 plan provided for a review after five years; the review concluded last year.
After the review, the diocese has re-committed to the 2010 Pastoral Plan. During the last year, parishes and the Catholic Center have intentionally engaged in a process that will help us: 1) to support each other regarding these planning priorities; and 2) to be more accountable in offering assistance and ministries that correspond to the Pastoral Plan priorities and to better address the needs of individuals and families in parishes.
Related to this effort is our initiation of a new phase of pastoral planning—a study and a process to evaluate parish vitality and viability. We want to share this information with you so that you will be aware of the general process and a pastoral goal that we, at the Catholic Center, want to do our best to abide by and respect.
A sobering situation that we are trying to do our best to prepare for has to do with our priestly resources. The average age of priests active in the diocese continues to rise; it’s now 57. And by 2022—only five years from now—we could have as many as 20 fewer priests serving in the diocese due to projected retirements. This would reduce the current active number from 66 to 46. Some difficult questions and discussions will need to take place to prepare for the future.
Our goal is to complete this year’s vitality and viability study in January 2018, so that diocesan administration and parishes will be have sufficient time to develop plans in preparation for this new reality. Please know and be assured that local parish leadership and representatives will again take part in this planning process at both a parish and a deanery (regional) level. Broad consultation has already taken place at parishes through meetings with parish councils and leadership teams.
This intent of this update is not only to keep you informed, but to encourage your prayers and support for your parish and deanery and it leadership during this important process. Thank you for your prayers for, and participation in, this pastoral planning process to date, and the initiatives that have come to life and light as a part of this process. Please keep praying for our Local Church, your deanery, and your parish.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, who clearly points the way to her son, Jesus Christ, be for us a sign of courage and devotion to set our sights firmly on our Lord, Jesus Christ, in spreading the good news of salvation to all people. May God bless you for your goodness.
Below is a prayer that we are encouraging the use of throughout the diocese as we continue our work. Please copy and use freely.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Joseph Corel, Vicar General; Sister Kathleen Wegman SSND, Chancellor; and Father Gregory Meystrik, Vicar of Administration
Parish Vitality Prayer
Eternal God, Father most holy,
whose Son established the Church,
promising that the power of evil
would never prevail against her,
stir up our faith and bolster our perseverance,
that our faith may vitalize our parishes
and our perseverance maintain our outreach.
You have taught us that dying to self
and obedience to the Church
are essential to holiness, peace and unity.
Preserve our unity as one Diocesan Church,
and may the spouse of the Holy Spirit,
the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
protect us with her mantle
and intercede for us with her prayer.
Through Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.