Happy New Year to our wonderful Catholic Leadership Institute family!
I hope the year ahead is filled with blessings and the joy of new beginnings.
Speaking of beginnings, in our ministries at CLI, I have had the joy of seeing many journeys begin. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and their participation in Next Generation Parish (NGP) is one example!
It never ceases to amaze me when I see the vision and trust of philanthropists spur on a project. Philanthropy is the match that lights the flame and ignites the parish.
Philanthropists were certainly the spark that ignited parishes in LA to journey with us through NGP – SCROLL DOWN to read about the literal sparks that flew for one LA parish!
Catholic Leadership Institute’s ministry accompaniment for five Archdiocese of Los Angeles NGP parishes takes place in four phases:
- Phase 1: Prepare
- Phase 2: Envision and Plan
- Phase 3: Implement
- Phase 4: Assess, Learn and Grow
Right now, LA parishes are completing the envisioning stage. Below, read about how St. Rita Parish blessed their parish plan and prepared to move into the next phase!
NGP Parishes Spark Hope
Next Generation Parish is a journey towards hope. Hope for the future of our parish. Hope for the future of our faith. Hope for the future of our Church.
Nothing is more hopeful than a beacon of light at the end of a dark, difficult path. Catholic Leadership Institute provides accompaniment on that path for priests and lay leaders to discover the true potential of their faith. No matter what hardships and challenges they face, we are there for them to help them unlock areas of opportunity within their parish.
We ask them to consider the needs and spiritual health of their faith community. We provide feedback from the DMI survey and help them understand how to incorporate that feedback into their thinking and planning. Lay leaders learn to better understand their unique skills and talents and how to use them to support a plan for the vibrancy of the parish. Pastors develop new leadership skills, and receive personal coaching and resources to live out their vocations.
St. Rita’s eleven envisioning team members bonded in many ways during the six steps of the envisioning phase. They heard stories from volunteers who, in many years of parish attendance, felt they never had a voice and were not represented in the decisions being made for the future. They met difficult cultural issues head on and committed to each other that their pastoral priority plan would address diverse needs. They also heard God’s call to act with unconditional love and serve as a witness to Christ’s saving love.
Eleven lay leaders rose to the occasion not just with their hearts, but through the substance of their actions. They spent many hours at home and during their days contemplating the needs of the parish and completing homework to bring thoughtful questions and ideas to the team. But in many ways, they refused for this process to only be an academic exercise. They recognized the imperative to create a plan that would make space for life changing moments in their parish.
Truly, this team worked together with Fr. Tom Baker to set the compass for their parish to navigate through a period of growth – always fixed on a renewal of their faith and baptismal call to share the love of Christ with others in their community.
During the final envisioning session, Fr. Tom and the team shared Mass, laid hands on their pastoral plan and prayed for God’s divine assistance in implementing change and sustaining momentum in the parish. They shared takeaways and reflections on their experiences during honorable closure and found a unique opportunity to visualize the power of their connection.
Fr. Tom stood in front of the altar in the little chapel by the church office. He showed the team a small device about 10” long with wires in the middle and touched an electrode on one end of the simplistic fuse. He asked the team members to gather hands around the room. As the last volunteer touched the other end of the device, with a slight jolt of energy through their joined hands, the circuit closed and caused the inner lights to flicker on—a light of courage and faith. This exercise was to show that it takes a team united together to bring light and energy to their plan and to their parish.
St. Rita’s envisioning team humbly served as a beacon of hope to everyone in the parish during the next phases of their Next Generation Parish journey.
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