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Pastoral Plan 2020

The process for developing a pastoral plan for Our Lady of the Lake as requested by Bishop McKnight in his Better Together initiative has been completed. Today I had the pleasure of submitting the pastoral plan of Our Lady of the Lake to the Diocese. Our plan, and the plans of all the other parishes in the Diocese, will form the base of a diocesan-wide pastoral plan that will go into effect this Advent.

While the diocesan process has been underway for almost a year, our parish has already been involved in a jounrey of planning for the future through the work we put into developing our long range plan. The discernment that took place last summer and fall have been invaluable to me as I developed our specific plan in response to Bishop McKnight’s three pillars of pastoral planning:  a spirituality of stewardship, the co-responsibility of the laity and the clergy, and the parish as a center of mercy and charity.

In the coming weeks I will publish the details of each activity our parish will emphasize in the coming months and even years as we put our pastoral plan into action, especially as we will respond to our problem identification process and the Lenten discernment groups. There are three major activities, each of which embodies one of the pillars of the Diocesan initiative. To these three, I have taken the liberty to add a fourth point, especially in response to the Church’s call to a new era of evangelization, as recently outlined in the Congregation for the Clergy’s document on parishes as centers of evangelization.

Activity One:  The parish will form a Stewardship Commission to assume the same type of leadership role currently enjoyed by the existing five commissions of the parish. (Stewardship)

Activity Two: The Social Concerns Commission, under the leadership of Deacon Jim Hankins, will take the lead in our parish’s growth as a center of mercy and charity. (Mercy and Charity)

Activity Three:  The pastor will work with the chairs of the five existing commissions in the development, chartering, and staffing of a Parish Pastoral Council. (Co-responsibility of Laity and Clergy)

Activity Four:  The parish will embrace pastoral conversion in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church, especially in evangelization of the youth and young families. (Evangelization)

The month of August will be a great opportunity for all of us to think through the implications of the plan, especially how to integrate our existing pastoral and spiritual activities into the timeline of the plan. The commissions will each have an opportunity to reflect on the plan especially in how each commission can bring its resources to these activates. Finally, and most important, we will invite the participation of all our parishioners in the planned activities as we have a formal event to mark the official promulgation of the plan in October.

I feel so blessed by God at this time to be part of such a holy process. Bishop McKnight’s vision has been a tremendous help to me, particularly during this time of crisis with the pandemic. The entire process has made it easier for me to focus on the essentials of parish life and recommit my ministry to evangelization. I look forward to leading the parish into the future, knowing that the Holy Spirit has already lit the way through the prayerful discernment and willing cooperation of the parishioners of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.