Your input and vision are important to planning

Where are we going? What is the vision? How are we going to get there? These questions often surface as a company or institution looks toward the future. They are important questions upon which to reflect. Now that I have been here for almost four years and have some experience behind me, these have become important questions for me as the bishop of this diocese. But I also think they are important for all of us as the People of God in the Diocese of Rapid City.

Over twelve years ago, the Diocese of Rapid City went through a synod process that gave direction and a vision for the diocese. Since this process took place a number of years ago, I feel that perhaps it time again for the diocese to look at the future in a systematic way, but on a much smaller scale than a full-scale synod, which would take at least a couple of years.

The Diocese of Rapid City will begin a visioning process that will help set our course and priorities for the next five years. We will partner with Catholic Leadership Institute. Catholic Leadership Institute is a world-class pastoral leadership formation and consulting firm based in Philadelphia. In its 21st year of operation, CLI has reached national prominence, ministering with diocesan priests and lay leaders in over 70 dioceses in the United States. Recently, the priests of our diocese completed CLI’s Good Leaders Good Shepherds program, a year-long process in which priests are taught more efficient and effective ways to lead, inspire and motivate the people they serve. Catholic Leadership Institute also works directly with bishops and their teams to develop a tailored diocesan strategy.

The visioning process will begin in late May with a number of listening sessions across the Diocese over the course of the summer. Our plan is to have 12 listening sessions around the diocese broken down in the following way: one listening session in each deanery; one listening session on each Indian Reservation; one listening session among clergy; and one listening session with the Latino community. These sessions will be between 90 minutes to 2 hours in length.

The end result of this planning process is to create a mutually shared diocesan vision for the Diocese of Rapid City and clarify three five-year pastoral priorities with appropriate goals for each priority.

Who is invited to participate? It is our hope to receive input from as many people as possible throughout the diocese, offering multiple ways in which the laity can participate. It is my hope that the pastors and five to six members of parish leadership attend the listening sessions for their deanery or reservation. Parish leadership should include members of the parish pastoral councils, finance councils and other parish groups, as well as individual leaders who can provide vital input toward refining and shaping the priorities of the diocese as we move forward into the future. Everyone is invited to attend, but it will be most valuable to have a good representation of the leadership of each parish and its ministries.

We will also be creating an Envisioning Leadership Team later in the summer to review the input from the listening sessions and then create the overall vision, finalize priorities and goals, and determine how best to communicate the plan. It is my hope that this whole process will be completed by the end of 2015, at which time the

Mutually Shared Vision and Three Five-Year Pastoral Priorities would be shared with the people of the Diocese of Rapid City.

More communication will take place about this process through your pastors. I encourage you to be part of the process. Your input in laying out a direction and a vision is important. The dates, times and locations of the listening sessions are listed below. But above all, please keep this diocesan endeavor in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward into the future.


Diocese of Rapid City Visioning Listening Session Schedule 2016

The Diocese of Rapid City will begin a visioning process that will help set our course and priorities for the next five years.


Lower Brule Reservation, Tuesday, Aug. 18, St. Mary Church, Lower Brule, 6:30 p.m. CT

Pine Ridge Reservation, Sunday, August 16, Sacred Heart Church, Pine Ridge, 1-3 p.m. MT

Spanish-speaking Members of the Diocese, Sunday, Aug. 23, Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City, 2:45-4:45 p.m. MT