What is a Pastoral Plan?
“This framework for pastoral action is not focused on our financial or strategic needs. Instead, it looks at ways to build community and to strengthen faith. In fact, it delineates, as well as we can, how Christ and the Holy Spirit are fulfilling their mission through us here and now.”
Bishop R. Daniel Conlon
Our pastoral plan centers on the pastoral and ministerial needs of Catholics within the Diocese at all levels of faith and participation. It is divided into categories that build upon each other:
The Framework outlines three key pillars (Discipleship, Evangelization, Charity), which break out into seven “Areas of Focus” for the Church of Joliet:
· Cultivate Lay Leadership;
· Inspire Young Adults;
· Embrace Immigrant Catholics;
· Welcome the Lost and Drifting;
· Proclaim the Sacraments;
· Care for People in Need; and
· Advocate for and with the Voiceless.
It is our hope that our 129 parish and mission communities act upon and integrate these Areas of Focus by developing more specific objectives and implementing strategies to address them. Each parish, under the guidance and leadership of you, the pastors, will have its own unique opportunity to effect positive change in these areas identified in the Framework for Pastoral Action.
In order to assist the parishes with this effort, Bishop Conlon has asked the professional staff of the diocesan curia to be available to our pastors as consultants on pastoral planning.
For those of you who feel that your parish is able to undertake this task without assistance, we only ask that you share your stories of success with our curia staff. However, for most parishes we hope that the consultant will be able to advise you and your parish leadership team on the tools, strategies and resources involved in pastoral planning. Our curia staff will be receiving training and resources to assist you, and they will be able to regularly share insights from the Bishop, the expertise of our professional pastoral staff members, and also suggestions based on experiences in other parts of the Diocese of Joliet.
Our curia team is scheduled for an initial training session on February 12. You may receive at least an introductory contact prior to that time. Following the training, expect that the consultant working with your parish will ask to meet with yourself, your parish council, or other parish leadership to talk about pastoral planning at your particular parish. Hopefully, by this process over the next few years, our 129 parish and mission communities will each become positive agents of change for the Church of Joliet in the identified pastoral Areas of Focus, permitting us to grow as a community, and as a diocesan church.
We will be continuing to develop resources and materials to assist you in this over the next few years.
If you have any questions about pastoral planning, or about the curia representative who will work with your parish, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the Bishop. I would also like to invite your continued input on the Framework for Pastoral Action, and other general suggestions, by communicating with your deanery representatives on the Presbyteral and Pastoral Councils.
Thank you all for your incredible work as pastors.
Alex M. Rechenmacher
Executive Assistant to Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon, Bishop of Joliet