All Things New Team Members
In addition to parish office staff, the following parishioners will be assisting Fr. Nickolai in supporting our parish participation in the Archdiocesan-wide strategic pastoral planning initiative, All Things New. If you have questions about the "Disciple Maker Index" survey that you would like to discuss, please contact the parish office or consult your parish directory to reach one of these volunteers:
Archbishop: Addressing some of the rumors around All Things New
Strategic pastoral planning initiative will fashion a plan together in the midst of a lot of listening
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Many of us are familiar with the role of the fact-checker. When claims are made by political candidates, the fact-checker does the research to determine whether they’re true. And it often turns out that the claim is only partly true.
In this article, I’d like to play the role of fact-checker for some things that are being said about the All Things New pastoral planning process.
Claim: “I heard that Pittsburgh went from 188 parishes down to 57, and we’re working with the same group.”
It’s true that that’s what happened in Pittsburgh. And it’s true that Pittsburgh worked with the Catholic Leadership Institute, and so are we.
But Pittsburgh’s plan was Pittsburgh’s plan, and our plan will be our own. The Catholic Leadership Institute is here to help us fashion our vision and plan, not the other way around.
Claim: “They already know the plan.”
This is, perhaps, the most important rumor that people hear. I will not tire of reiterating: We do not already have a plan!
We know what the demographics look like; we know what the sacramental and financial trends look like. What we’re discerning is what our infrastructure could look like, and what our mission should look like.
Some preliminary models will be prepared over the summer as a starting point for conversation. But then these preliminary models will be brought to the priests and the faithful through listening sessions so we can hear from people’s hearts. The conversations we have will clarify what we need to prioritize, and how we will invest our time and energy moving forward.
Claim: “All Things New is trying to destroy the tradition of the Church.”
We’re not trying, in any way, shape or form, to change what the Church believes. Quite the opposite: What the Church believes is the foundation upon which we build! All Things New will not change the nature of the Mass, or of the priesthood, or of the sacraments, for example.
What we’re looking at is the way parishes are structured in this sense: where they’re located, how priests are distributed among them, how parish programming supports evangelization.
What we believe will not change. How we operate needs to.
Claim: “Demographics are inevitable.”
Let’s call this “demographic fatalism.” If we just look at the numbers, they’re declining. If we simply project those numbers into the future, it looks like the decline will continue to get worse.
But consider just one counter-example. In the early 1800s Catholicism in France was in demographic freefall. By the late 1800s there had been a tenfold increase in the number of priests and religious sisters! Of course, there were many factors in this turnaround. But the fundamental elements were the grace of the Holy Spirit, and individuals cooperating with that grace.
We need to view our own demographic trends with human realism, and we are. But we also need to view them with faith in what the Holy Spirit can do, and what can happen when we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
Many things are genuinely unknown at this point of the process.
What often happens, however, is that those unknowns get filtered through our fear, sadness and anger. That filtering process turns uncertainty into rumor — and rumors are not the Lord’s work!
So here’s my plea: Let’s resist the rumor mill! And here’s my proposal: Every time we experience fear, sadness and anger — which we all do! — let’s pivot on them in a different direction. Let’s make them occasions for turning to the Lord, and asking for His guidance.
Letter from Archbishop Rozanski
All Things New Prayer
From Rev. Chris Martin,
Vicar for Strategic Planning, Archdiocese of St. Louis
We have officially launched All Things New, the strategic pastoral planning process for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. All Things New will evaluate the effectiveness of the Church in St. Louis in proclaiming the Gospel and will identify opportunities for improvement and renewal within all parishes, schools, curia offices and agencies.
Why a pastoral planning initiative?
Well, why does the church exist? The Church exists to make disciples, not to run hospitals, schools or homeless shelters. The latter are all good fruits that flow from discipleship, but if we are not effective in making disciples, the institutions become hollow.
We all know that the Church of today is not the same that it was 50, 100 or 150+ years ago, yet we are still functioning in many ways out of the same mode of evangelization. We have inherited a great treasure of Catholic institutions from previous generations, but as the Catholic population and society have shifted over the past several decades, those institutions are no longer as effective or sustainable as they once were.
We are closer now to 2050 than to 1950. We need to ask ourselves what our parishes, ministries and institutions need to look like in order to effectively share the faith in a way that is suitable and sustainable for our children and for generations to come.
What does All Things New entail?
We will be utilizing three guiding principles for All Things New; unceasing prayer, a unified vision for evangelization, and intentional stewardship.
-Prayer resources for individuals and parishes, as well as local and diocesan events, will help us to renew our own personal call to holiness and evangelization and will ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we discern what is best for our local Church moving forward.
*Unified Vision for Evangelization
-Evangelization is the mission Jesus gives to us. To share the Good News is the responsibility of all of us. Yet only 0.6% of Catholics say that they feel equipped to share their story and invite others into relationship with Jesus and the Church. We need to renew and rediscover this call in our lives.
-The Church is made of living stones, not just those of brick and mortar. We cannot allow our attachment to infrastructure impede our primary mission of building up disciples and saving souls. Empty churches don’t save anyone.
How will this initiative be accomplished?
Your prayers and input are needed. Opportunities for prayer, to provide feedback, and to attend listening sessions will be occurring all across the archdiocese. We invite you to stay informed and sign up for regular updates on the All Things New website at AllThingsNew.archstl.org. Sign up today! Steadfast in Faith, Forward in Hope.
Rev. Chris Martin