75 Years from Now: One Priest’s Dream

“All Things New” & a Priest who is ALL in

Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski and the Archdiocese of St. Louis have partnered with Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) to lead a strategic pastoral planning initiative for the archdiocese. Beautifully named “All Things New,” this endeavor has a spirit of renewal and a vision for a vibrant future

Archbishop Rozanski shares that this effort “will shape the footprint of our efforts in the future in very significant ways. This is something that I believe cannot wait and we must immediately seize the opportunity to radically change our approach as to how we evangelize and reach the people of this archdiocese. To effectively do this, we can leave no stone unturned. We must honestly assess our ministry, our structures, our approach, and our effectiveness.”

Fr. Chris Martin’s Hope for 75 Years from now…

At the helm of this effort is Fr. Chris Martin, a dynamic and dedicated priest. If you only have a minute to read today, I invite you to read below and scroll to the end to read Fr. Martin’s important dream for 75 years from today as a result of working with CLI. It will be a minute well spent.

Please join me in praying for the archdiocese during this historic moment in their journey of faith.


“All Things New”

This initiative will look to renew evangelization efforts across the archdiocese. There is much excitement around reimagining, envisioning, and the possibility of what could be.

The first part of the “All Things New” planning process involves a two-year period of prayer, planning, model development, and feedback culminating on Pentecost 2023. Then, the archdiocese will transition to the implementation phase.

To learn more about this endeavor visit the archdiocese’s website dedicated to “All Things New” below:

https://allthingsnew.archstl.org/

Fr. Christopher Martin has a bold hope for this effort. He plans to create an impact today that will reverberate for 75 years.

Fr. Martin says: “Go Big or Go Home!”

Fr. Martin, a vibrant, passionate, and skilled leader, has been appointed as vicar for strategic planning. He will work closely with Catholic Leadership Institute and other leaders to guide the planning process. Fr. Martin is just one example of a leader with whom we are honored, humbled, and inspired to work alongside.

For him personally, this is a “Go big or go home” effort, meaning the archbishop and the archdiocese want to make sure they do this right, do it well, and put a firm foundation in place to build on. He and the archdiocese were inspired by the opportunity to be part of a process that can reimagine how we transmit the faith in a vibrant way for generations to come

Personally, he shares that “All Things New” for him is a strong and clear call for individual renewal… that then leads to parish renewal… that leads to a complete archdiocesan renewal.

Praying & Planning

Kicking off this experience was founded in two years of planning and praying. Fr. Martin stresses the importance and intentionality of this commencement: “We are well aware of Jesus’ teaching that apart from Him, we can do nothing. We are just stewards of His gifts; we are not masters of them. There is no such thing as a perfect planning process, so it is always dependent on the grace of God and or ability to cooperate with this grace. Prayer becomes vital.”

The CLI Experience

The choice to partner with Catholic Leadership Institute was an important decision for St. Louis.

Fr. Martin shares three important observations about the experience so far:

1. First, CLI is an organization that loves the Church and understands the current challenges that the Church is facing.

2. I have been edified by how quickly CLI has come to understand the nuances of our local Church here in St. Louis.

3. Lastly, I am really struck by CLI’s ability to take what seems like an insurmountable goal or overwhelming task and provide a strategy that makes it attainable.

Of CLI, he states, “It always comes down to the human connection and people think of CLI as just a consulting firm, but it really is made up of dynamic individuals who care deeply about the Church. The personal connection and personal investment are as valuable as the strategy itself.”

Listening to 650 Catholics

To get a pulse for the hearts and hopes of the people in the pews, over 650 people in the archdiocese were initially consulted in this endeavor through focus groups and surveys that were conducted around the archdiocese. This past spring, over 70,000 parishioners shared their feedback about their spiritual journey and effectiveness of their parish community through the Disciple Maker Index. This fall, the Archdiocese will host nearly 400 on-site sessions to hear from parishioners to inform the process.

The exercise of listening has been critical to Fr. Martin. He explains: “Listening is very important because that is how you open yourself up to the gift of counsel and the Holy Spirit – He works through the Body of Christ and provides opportunities for those inspirations of the Holy Spirit to come through the different groups and parishes and individuals which leads to a more fruitful process in the end.”

The participation from the Archdiocese of St. Louis has been solid. Fr. Martin shared the hardest part so far: “Everyone intellectually understands that we need to do something different. BUT that emotional buy in is the difficult part to win. The journey from the head to the heart is the most difficult part of the process. Setting the vision – beginning with the end in mind alongside CLI is key to addressing that. People are willing to make sacrifices for a vision they believe in. They are not willing to make sacrifices to do that same thing we are already doing. ”

Fr. Martin’s Hope for 75 Years from Today…

As I reflect upon our accompaniment of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, these words of Fr. Martin have stuck with me:

“In 75 years, people will be grateful for the work done today…

In 75 years, people will still be receiving the fruits of what we have tried to plant…

In 75 years, people will be thankful for the work we are doing now, because they will have a more vibrant Catholic Church…

In 75 years, every parishioner will understand that he or she has been called to evangelize in the world and that their faith and their parish have equipped them to do so…

In 75 years, all young people and young adults will feel that they have a real place and a real voice in a parish that also invests in them.”

What if we could do this for every diocese across the country? I believe we can.

Catholic Leadership Institute certainly believes in the hearts and hopes of the people of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and “All Things New.” We look forward to keeping you updated on this journey, and we are proud of all involved!

by Mike School

June 30, 2022

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