Diocesan Strategic Planning Resources
Regional Gathering Representative Orientation Video
1. We will remain open to change under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, whom we believe is leading this planning process.
2. We will observe all applicable teachings, doctrines, and laws of the Catholic Church.
3. We will provide opportunities for all members of the parish to be aware of and involved in the process.
4. We will promote collaboration among well-trained lay leaders, deacons, and priests in parish leadership, while reserving the primary responsibility of ministry and administration to pastors according to the norms of law (cf. Can 515 ff.) which require parishes to be governed by pastors.
5. We will consider that parish a model which is materially self-sufficient, is capable of meeting its ministerial needs, equips lay leadership, promotes evangelization and vocations, and has vibrant faith formation.
6. Keeping attendance at Sunday (Saturday evening) Mass central to our planning, we will strive to balance the distance the faithful drive to attend Mass, the distance the priest drives to provide Mass, and the distances at which priests live from one another.
7. We will plan so that parish priests, as a norm, would neither say more than four Masses per weekend, nor be asked to serve beyond the age of seventy-five (75).
8. We will eliminate the unnecessary duplication of Masses for the convenience of the faithful if everyone can be comfortably accommodated in another/other Masses.
Flourishing Parish Families Planning Process Moves Ahead
Over the past year a committee of priests, deacons and laity have been busy organizing a strategic planning process for our diocese at my request. The committee has put together a great deal of information about what parish life looks like today as well as the challenges we face across the Diocese of Rapid City. With the assistance of this committee, pastors have held town hall meetings in their parishes to share this information with all of you. I hope you were able to attend one of these town halls.
The “Flourishing Parish Families” planning process is about to enter a new phase. I have asked pastors to choose two lay representatives from each of their parishes to engage in regional meetings to discuss how they can better work together to introduce people to Jesus Christ and help them deepen their relationship with Christ and his church.
The priority of this phase of the planning process is to find ways to grow and flourish. By creatively and intentionally finding new ways to share the faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can look forward to building up the church in western South Dakota. Our goal is to allow the Spirit to work more powerfully through us to renew the church in our time.
A second task of this phase of the planning process is for those regional meetings to generate recommendations for me about how we might work together if we have fewer priests able to serve the needs of our people. I sincerely hope that we will experience a growth in vocations – and we have seen the number of seminarians grow in the last two years, which is a hopeful sign. But it is also good to grapple with how we might be able to proclaim the Gospel if we experience a decline in priests.
I encourage you to speak to your pastor and your parish representatives so that they can hear your ideas as they do their work. I look forward to receiving the recommendations that the regional/deanery planning groups will make. I will then review them prayerfully and approve a strategic plan for the diocese which I will share with you.
Please pray that the work we are doing will please God and help us better proclaim Jesus Christ to those around us.