Our Parish Pastoral Plan commits us to “Accompaniment”
This means helping each other learn about, share, and live out our lives in the Holy Trinity through ever-deepening relationships. At St. Joseph, as we grow in our relationship with God, we grow in our relationship with each other and build community. I invite everyone, yes everyone, to be involved in Accompaniment, be it an ongoing commitment or for short periods of time each year. We need to commit to spending time with each other and grow in faith.
SAINT JOSEPH CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
Three Year Pastoral Plan
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Table of Contents
From Our Pastor
31st May 2017
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Dear members and future members of St. Joseph Catholic Community,
Two hundred years ago, in 1817, the Society of Mary (the Marianists), the congregation of which the priests at St. Joseph are members, was founded by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade. The French revolution, 28 years previously, had completely altered French society and the French church. Father Chaminade’s response to the new cultural reality was to stress the need for a missionary spirit. As an affirmation of this approach he sought and was granted by the Holy See in 1801 the title ‘Missionary Apostolic.’ I feel privileged, in this Marianist bicentenary year, to be the pastor of a community deliberately planning its future on the single foundation set by Pope Francis and affirmed by Archbishop Lori that all of us must be missionary disciples to meet the needs of our cultural reality.
Of the six possible emphases suggested for Pastoral Plans by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, three are stressed in our plan, namely, the need to help people Encounter Christ, to offer Accompaniment to those same people as they grow in their relationship with Christ, and together with them to experience Liturgy. I find helpful the imagery in the post resurrection account of the walk of Jesus and two disciples to the town of Emmaus. When we begin our encounter with Jesus, we are like the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, who ask each other: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us?” Jesus offers us more than the initial encounter. Just as he “interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures” he helps us to grow in confidence and deepen our understanding. This unfolding growth will lead both the accompanied and accompanier to know the resurrected Christ “in the breaking of the bread.”
I dedicate the implementation and the living out of this Plan to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She, the woman of faith who said yes to the Holy Spirit, who enabled the Word to become flesh within her, and who was quietly faithful even to standing at the foot of the cross, will help us. As St. Elizabeth said to Mary in the gospel of today’s feast: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Our efforts will be blessed if we implement this Plan in the spirit of Mary and her way of being a disciple.
Your Role as a Parishioner
At the end of Mass, we are sent forth to “…go in peace to love and serve the Lord (and one another).” These words and the words of Scripture encourage us—indeed commission us—to turn our faith into action.
As you read through this Plan, consider prayerfully what you , your family and your fellow parishioners can collectively do to make our parish everything God intends for it to be.
Þ Read the Plan and study the Focus Areas and Objectives on page 10 looking for opportunities for you and your family to contribute.
Þ Pray for insights into where you can share your time and talent.
Þ Discern how best to proceed with the guidance of the Holy Spirit
Þ Act by committing your God-given gifts in one or more Focus Area or Objective.
Our Baptism makes us children of God— in community with and for others. You, your family and your fellow parishioners are blessed with God-given gifts and talents. Our parish will move ever closer to God’s plan for each of us, when we are open to following where the Spirit leads.
Our Pastor and clergy will be our spiritual guides. The Pastor and clergy, in their unique roles as ordained members of the Body of Christ, will minister to parishioners through the celebration of liturgy,
sacraments and prayer. As Lumen Gentium states, our parish staff, as lay ecclesial ministers, are a further resource. Commission chairpersons of individual ministries are ready, willing and able to support parishioners in participating in ministerial opportunities.
This Plan provides you with many opportunities to live the grace received in the sacrament of Baptism, through the actions that you take within our Church. The core beliefs of our faith provide the grace that will allow us to fulfill the elements of the Plan.
Archbishop Lori’s shared vision for pastoral planning promotes goals for parishes which include:
- A design for the creation of pastorates across the Archdiocese that result in a stable and sound structure of
- Pastorates/parishes as centers of worship and prayer that promote life-long conversion and reverence for the Catholic
- Pastorates/parishes that recognize that their vibrancy and sustainability are integrally connected to their capacity to welcome and to evangelize themselves and
- Pastorates/parishes that plan for the future by maintaining and regularly updating an active three-year pastoral
The pastoral planning process for St. Joseph Catholic Community began in early fall 2016. The following steps were instituted under the direction of the Pastor, with the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) providing leadership for this process:
- Formation of a sub-committee of the PPC to carry out the work of planning and report its findings and recommendations to the
- Consultation with the parish staff
- Listening to parishioners input about the direction of the future of the parish via a parish-wide meeting held in January, 2017 to gather parishioner
- The parish was also kept informed about the progress of the process through bulletin inserts, announcements from the pulpit,
- Additional assessments by the PPC and subcommittee to study parish statistics and area demographic trends, parish ministries, and parish financial
The results of the planning process led to affirming our Parish Vision Statement, creating a Parish Mission Statement, and developing key Areas of Focus to guide our efforts for the next three years. These Areas of Focus were chosen in alignment with the priorities of the Archdiocese (see page 7). They are intended to build upon and continue the best of what our parish has done in the past, while incorporating new ideas that will enhance the life and vitality of our parish and ministries over the next three years.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore
Vision and Mission
In January 2015, Archbishop Lori issued his vision for pastoral planning in the Archdiocese, “ Be Missionary Disciples.” Later that summer, he presented his pastoral letter “A Light Brightly Visible: Lighting the Path to Missionary Disciples.” In an effort to build parishes/pastorates intentionally focused on carrying out the mission of the Church, he presented core mission priorities, defined in his pastoral plan as “the foundational areas of focus toward which evangelizing parishes and pastorates direct the majority of their efforts.” They emphasize the formation of disciples who are mission ready and actively engaged in personal and pastoral missionary conversion. The core mission priorities are: Liturgy, Welcome, Encounter, Accompaniment, Sending and Mission Support.
Highlights of the Vision
What Missionary Discipleship Looks Like in a Pastorate When this happens…it produces these good fruits
- The Good News is proclaimed and understood
- Music is inspiring and participatory
- Homilies are a source of conversion, renewal and growth
- Parishioners are more fully engaged
- Outsiders are prioritized
- Disenfranchised and strangers are sought out and welcomed
- All feel they belong and value community life through groups, activities and events
- New people are visible in the community
- Sharing of faith is common and encouraged
- Growing number of adults active in faith formation, engaged in service
- Ongoing conversion is experienced
- The domestic church is sustained and enriched
- Young people remain engaged in the parish
- Spiritual friendships are formed
- Priestly vocations are promoted
- Families are equipped and empowered as missionary disciples
- The vulnerable, grieving and neglected receive care
- The poor are prioritized and served
Mission Support/Mission Support
- Financial support for the mission is predictable and stable
- Support for the mission occurs at many levels
- Priests and their staff are healthy, happy and holy
- Mission-ready facilities are safe, welcoming, attractive, accessible and right-sized.
Saint Joseph Mission and Vision
The Mission and Vision Statements frame our present and our future activities. The Mission describes our purpose for being and how we do what we do. The Vision is our guide—a vivid depiction of the result of how we carry out our ministries.
We, the members of Saint Joseph Catholic Community, embrace the Gospel as we celebrate the sacraments, share our faith, and create a spiritual home for our neighbors. Inspired by the Blessed Virgin Mary’s “yes” to the Holy Spirit, we:
- nourish and strengthen the faith of each individual and family,
- embody Jesus in our personal actions and parish ministries,
- and profess God’s message to our
Embracing Christ’s Life and Reflecting His Love
Areas of Focus
Discussion around the Archdiocesan priorities as key areas of focus led to the discussion of how our parish can uniquely respond to the call for renewal of pastoral action and evangelization. Those involved in the planning process determined that the parish should concentrate on the areas of focus of Liturgy, Encounter, and Accompaniment for the 2017- 2020 Pastoral Plan.
It should be understood that Welcome, Sending, and Mission Support are considered to be of equal importance, and that they, in their turn, should receive attention. The parish has already taken steps to be more intentional in two areas, Welcome and Mission Support.
While there is always the opportunity for growth and development, the current endeavors have consistently supported the life of the parish. In the third focus area, Sending, much preparation is needed, but cannot be properly addressed until the parish is well-grounded in Encounter and Accompaniment. Concentration on these three areas will be more fully addressed in the next phase of parish planning in 2020-2023. By focusing on Liturgy, Encounter and Accompaniment, we will build a foundation for improving Sending. All six areas are important to this parish and will continue to be developed over time. For the next three years, however, Liturgy, Encounter, and Accompaniment will receive greater attention. Although concentration on these three areas of focus tend to be directed more inward, to the parish, they are necessary steps that will lead us to reach outward in the true spirit of evangelization in the future.
The Areas of Focus-Objectives-Success Statement format of this Plan allows for greater partnering and teaming throughout the parish. For example, Children’s Formation could contribute to helping religious education families live out accompanying others by getting their families involved in a social justice/service opportunity through the parish or in the Sykesville/Eldersburg area.
2017-2020 Pastoral Plan
Areas of Focus, Objectives and Success Statements
Each area of focus contains two objectives. The first objective is more personal in nature with the focus on the growth and transformation of the individual. The second objective is communal and is directed to the parish at-large. Success statements were developed to describe the results, or good fruits, that occur when the objectives are realized. Setting specific metrics for measuring success or failure were deliberately avoided at this phase of the planning process.
Liturgy: When this happens, it produces the good fruit of vibrant liturgy.
Objective 1: To help each of us better prepare for and actively participate in Liturgy, so that each person can grow in the Mysteries we celebrate and help others experience these Mysteries.
Success Statement: There is an increased understanding of, preparation for, and participation in the Liturgy by each individual, which results in missionary discipleship.
Objective 2: To deepen, as a parish, our liturgical prayer by devoting ourselves to each component– song, spoken word, ritual gesture, attentive stillness, and the sacred beauty of the worship environment.
Success Statement: Our liturgical culture reflects attention to detail in the environment and ritual action of people, place, and proclamation.
Encounter: When this happens, it produces the good fruit of conversion.
Objective 1: To help each of us recognize our hunger for a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ and other people.
Success Statement: Individuals take initiatives in their journey of faith, admitting their need for ongoing conversion, and availing themselves of opportunities to connect as Church.
Objective 2: To create a culture that enables experiencing God and promotes sharing faith and discipleship in Jesus Christ.
Success Statement: All who enter the church feel welcome. It is normal and comfortable for all parishioners and visitors to freely exchange faith life and experiences.
Accompaniment: When this happens, it produces the good fruit of spiritual growth.
Objective 1: To commit to helping each other learn about, share, and live out our lives in the Trinity through ever-deepening relationships.
Success Statement: Parishioners serve each other by reaching out, mentoring, and connecting with each other for the purpose of learning about and sharing The Faith.
Objective 2: To cultivate the identity of the family as the domestic church—the foundation of spirituality and faith.
Success Statement: Families are praying together, learning and sharing their faith and serving others in their daily living. Families are nourished by the sacraments and engage in the life of the Parish community.
Putting the Plan Into Action
In order for our Plan to succeed, it will take the work and cooperation of all. The importance of each parishioner’s involvement has already been set forth on page 5 of this document.
How will you make this happen? Where do you begin? There are supporting roles to help lead and guide the parish as it brings the Plan to fruition.
- The Rollout Team is charged with informing the community about the Plan. It will handle publicity and promote the Plan through a variety of activities. They are tasked with creating visuals that will draw attention and inspire the
The Team will help the parish to link the plan to its Eucharistic celebration. They will build momentum towards implementation.
- The Implementation Team is tasked with assisting staff, commissions, ministries and parishioners to develop effective action plans. They will train facilitators to work with each ministry or parish group. They will ascertain the best way to implement the
- The Commissions are tasked with assuring that each ministry within their area of responsibility will create and implement action plans. They will help define measurable ways to evaluate the action plans and make adjustments as
- The Pastoral Staff will work to encourage collaboration and cooperation among the various ministries, so that the Plan flows seamlessly in bringing about the change needed to transform the community into the envisioned missionary disciples. The pastoral staff will ensure success by seeing that each entity regularly reviews their action plan and affirms, adapts, or revises it as necessary.
- The Parish Pastoral Council, in conjunction with the pastoral staff and commissions, will oversee the continued execution of this Plan. They encourage all parishioners to be actively involved as, together, we all put the Plan into action. It will be the task of the PPC to review the Plan annually and revise accordingly.
Working together we will be a community ‘Embracing Christ’s Life and Reflecting His Love.’
Action Steps are the specific steps/actions which need to happen to bring completion to the objective. Each area of focus needs to have key steps for implementation named for the next two to three years. Action steps have timeframes for each step. These timeframes are a means of measuring progress in each area. The majority of Action Steps for this plan will be developed by the individual ministries and commissions.
Areas of Focus (goals) state the priorities of the parish if the vision is to become a reality. These are brief, clear statements of desired direction or activities, expressed in broad, general terms. They are obtained through objectives.
Fruits are the desired outcome that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. They express the state of reality when the priority is accomplished.
Mission is the reason for being/existing and is expressed in the form of a statement which makes clear what the core work of the parish is and the clear, compelling reason the parish exists in this place and this time. It also provides a way to distinguish it from other parishes. It focuses on what happens because of the work of the parish. It is present-oriented and provides a sense of direction, guides decision-making, and aids in the strategic planning process.
Objectives are specific, time-oriented and realistic statements of what a parish is going to do, for whom, and when it will be done. The objectives are the concrete steps that a parish takes to move towards fulfilling its areas of focus priorities.
Parish Plan is a covenant made by the parish and their pastor regarding how to go about mission, about deciding what is important to the parish at this time and place, where our energy, efforts and resources will be focused, and how to know when progress is being made. A parish plan is a description of a relationship between God and the parishioners and their pastor, between the parish and their bishop and the wider community. It places the various elements of parish life in relationship to one another.
Planning is mission driven, data informed, and discernment derived. In a Catholic parish, a pastoral plan should enhance the experience of communion and highlight the focus on mission.
Planning Boundaries—Parish planning operates within some boundaries, some of which exist because of the teachings of the Church as well as being within the boundaries established by financial realities. For example, the plan must keep the parish within a balanced budget and must be consistent with any priorities the Archbishop has established.
Success Statements– Describe the desired result of the Plan when the parish achieves the objectives set to fulfill its mission and vision.
Vision is the statement describing what living out the mission and values of the parish will look like in the future, a future that is different from the present, and requires change in order to come into being. It is typically written in the present tense as though it has already been achieved. This helps us experience the look and feel of what our parish would be like if the mission were more fully realized.