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.