By Frank Flegel

The December 2, 2017, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) spent a major portion of their time identifying specific actions to move toward achieving the four Archdiocesan priorities Archbishop Bolen announced last August. The APC meeting identified focused work areas ­- categories of work that will accomplish the priorities - according to Leah Perrault who is playing a leading role in the process.

Archbishop Bolen said he had arrived at the four priorities after a period of discernment that included prayer, and wide consultations with groups, organizations and staff throughout the archdiocese. Each of the four has an explanatory paragraph expanding on the original priority

  1. Building vital and viable parish faith communities: Each parish is called to be a genuine community of faith with sustainable spiritual, financial, human, and capital resources
  2. Living Evangelization and Discipleship: Our world needs to meet Jesus and each of us needs to meet Him over and over again. Excerpted from Pope Francis’ the Joy of the Gospel e.g. We need to go out where the people are with strengthened ability to speak about Jesus: by equipping disciples to live as authentic witnesses; by forming and supporting strong leaders and clergy
  3. Listening and engaging in dialogue and, seeking justice and reconciliation: We are called to be a church in dialogue, which seeks to heal wounds in our society and in our church, working with ecumenical partners and other faith communities where able
  4. Growing a faithful and responsible stewardship: To be able to share the gifts we have been given, we need to work together, drawing on everyone’s gifts 

Perrault said the exercise that took place at the APC meeting was to get advice in terms of how we move from these priorities to focused work areas, thus planning transparently for our future in the Archdiocese and in our parishes.

Perrault went on to say that the focused work areas identified by the APC group are the big picture themes, such as transmitting the faith well, being a church that heals wounds, or the work we do with communications in the archdiocese, which will in turn lead to specific tasks to accomplish. She used communications as an example of a focused work area. “Underneath that we may look at the distribution list of the Archdiocesan newsletter and ask if people are reading it; is it the most effective way to communicate with people; and if a task came out of that to make changes it would be assigned to a particular individual.”

A complete work plan is expected to be completed by spring 2018.  Perrault felt that the general population would not be interested in looking at a work plan, “but at the Archdiocesan level we need to see the big picture so that we can see how we are taking concrete steps toward realizing growth in these priority areas.”

Director of Pastoral Services Bob Kowalchuk said office staff are carrying a “motherload of work”. He noted that the priorities discussion “is a good opportunity to look at what we’re doing and to build capacity,” adding that each member of the staff is being asked to reflect on how their work fits into the priorities.

Archbishop Bolen told the APC group that this does not replace the Pastoral Plan put in place by his predecessor Archbishop Daniel Bohan; it is rather, “a new expression of the Pastoral Plan.”



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