A key part of Catholic Leadership Institute’s accompaniment of parishes in in our Next Generation Parish endeavor is envisioning and developing a priority plan based on real data, our Disciple Maker Index, site visits, and parishioner input.
Next Generation Parish participants Holy Family and St. John
the Baptist from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend had an innovative
strategy to announce and remind their congregations about their three
priority plan areas!
Read below to check out how they announced their three values in creative “fashion” (literally)!
Next Generation Parish is characterized by data gathering
and analysis, vision planning, goal setting, and shared leadership.
Within this four-year journey, Envisioning and Implementation Teams of
parish volunteers work to create a vision for the future complete with
SMART goals and milestones and then catalyze that plan into action.
One of the key elements of a Next Generation Parish is
shared leadership. But this can’t stop simply at the Envisioning and
Implementation Teams. There has to be a level of awareness and ownership
throughout the parish. This is made possible by pastors and leaders who
not only embrace the planning but communicate the vision, values, and
plan to their community. Fr. Glenn Kohrman and his team at Holy Family and St. John the Baptist in South Bend give us a great example of this.
When they announced their vision and plan in 2021, they introduced
the plan at Masses, and then had team members wearing shirts with the
parish values on them—Faith, Stewardship, and Integrity—handing out copies of the plan after Mass.
With the pastor and the team celebrating and presenting their vision,
values, and plans this openly and visibly, they not only communicate
the plan, but invite the whole parish community to be part of the effort
to foster a vibrant hope for the Next Generation.
Linda has been a dynamic partner, igniting parishes across the
entire Diocese of Pittsburgh alongside Catholic Leadership Institute.
Igniting the parish means focusing on evangelization and discipleship.
Equipping parents with the tools they need to pass the faith on to their
children and grandchildren. It means fostering vibrant faith
communities of leaders of all ages and demographics who come together on
Sunday —and transform the world in God’s name the rest of the week. It
means more Catholics – of all ages – fill the pews each Christmas.
Your generous support inspires more ignited parishes and more leaders like Linda!
“A parish where I worked for 12 years had a very dynamic priest—one
of the best evangelists I’ve ever met. He was so good, he set the whole
town on fire with the Gospel. And people loved it. We had so many
people—young and old and everyone in between—flocking to our doors.
So far, so good, right? But the day came when that priest was reassigned…
What happened? The parish slowly went on life support, because it was centered on just one priest. Not on the mission and ministry of Christ.
But what if there was a structure, set up in such a way that if one priest—however charismatic—were to leave, there would be a system in place to make sure the parish doesn’t fall apart?
Right now, most parishes don’t have that. But I believe CLI is in a position to do something about it…
Greater potential can also be achieved among lay leaders, by helping them realize that a parish is not just a place to which we go but, more importantly, a place from which we go.
For the parish is not a destination. It is a way station, from which the lay person can fulfill the work of the laity to make the world holy. Again, this is something I believe CLI can play a key role in encouraging.
We hear it, see it, and feel it. And what the Church is tasked to do in all this is offer spiritual sustenance to those starving for message and meaning in their lives. This requires special insight and creative ways of thinking - ways as many and varied as the parishes themselves.
So, we have to go out. We have to start reaching people and inviting
the Church into their lives. We can’t count on them coming to us. We
have to go to them. And that’s way bigger than any individual. We have
to involve the Body of Christ to reach the Body of Christ.
CLI looks at the big picture to help parishes chart the future. Its highly skilled leaders know how to assess and encourage qualities of leadership and discipleship in many others, no matter what the setting - urban or rural, rich or poor, promising or challenging. Empowering clergy and laity alike to figure things out. Igniting their parishes to engage future generations.”
This Christmas, I hope you reflect upon Linda’s words: we must go out. We must invite and walk with people, following the light of the Christmas star that always leads to Jesus Christ and always ignites our parishes.
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