Fr. Mathew Guckin has been a priest for over 24 years. He has served in parishes, schools, and institutions within the Catholic Church before being named pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia just a few years ago. When Fr. Guckin heard about Next Generation Parish and the chance to join a cohort in the archdiocese, he recognized an opportunity to bring structure, growth, and unity to his parish. Next Generation Parish “just made sense” to Fr. Guckin. “I needed to do this so I could get to know my parish.”
With a professional pre-seminary background in Logistics Management, Fr. Guckin knows the value of implementing real-world business practices into a community that wants to thrive and grow. Fr. Guckin might have the experiences, skills, and knowledge needed to lead the parish on such an initiative, but he lacks one major thing: time. Fr. Guckin shared, “Many priests for many generations had a fireman’s mentality. They sat in this rectory and waited for calls to come in – because there were four priests living here. We just don’t have that anymore. Since I can’t be doing the work of four priests, I have to be really focused, as does any priest who succeeds me here.”
Catholic Leadership Institute’s offering of Next Generation Parish is helping Fr. Guckin find and equip lay leaders in the community to help make the parish a thriving center for sacramental and spiritual life. He has chosen a small team of laity to lead the second phase of the Next Generation Parish process who are also involved with faith formation and other parish initiatives. Fr. Guckin is hopeful for the future. He believes that engaging in this opportunity with his community is essential for the future.
Fr. Guckin compared the hope he has for his parish to the water flowing down the Colorado River from the Hoover Dam, contrasted to the still waters of Lake Mede. He shared, “Lake Mede is the result of the Hoover Dam. Over time, it subsides. But if you look on the other side of the Hoover Dam, you see the Colorado River. Lake Mede sits and represents malaise, while the Colorado River is very well defined on its banks. Because of that, the water rushes through there in a very particular direction. There’s a purpose. Lake Mede just sits there and people water ski on it and hang out on it. The Colorado River is well defined and focused. It has a purpose and it’s moving.”
With Catholic Leadership Institute’s Next Generation Parish, Fr. Guckin looks ahead with hope to movement and growth in the parish at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. “My hope is that we’re more well defined and that we can have more energy, just like the Colorado River.”
We are excited to see where the planning process takes Fr. Guckin and his team of lay leaders as they identify and implement parish priorities in the coming months!
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