Recently the priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia met with Archbishop Perez for an annual Fall Workshop. The topic was “Called for More.” This is the multi-year, Archdiocesan initiative to implement the three top priorities of Archbishop Perez, namely:
- Move from crisis to hope.
- Build up resources for the sake of the mission.
- Develop a culture, in the parishes and Archdiocese, of missionary discipleship.
Parishioners will be meeting with me to develop a three-year strategic plan. With the assistance of the Catholic Leadership Institute, this “Envisioning Team” will look at the strengths and challenges of our parish using the Disciple Maker Index survey. We will also incorporate parishioners’ input gleaned from the “Synod Listening Session” held in May of this year. The Envisioning Team will be called upon to identify unique Saint Monica values. Three Parish Priorities and six corresponding “SMART Goals” will be developed based on those parish values. Finally, the Team will be calling upon parishioners to fulfill the implementation of the three Parish Priorities over the next several years.
Besides parish renewal, Called for More also has a component which will focus on the priests of the Archdiocese. Every priest in the Archdiocese will be required to develop a personal “Priest Growth Plan.” The plan will include basic information such as current age, projected retirement age, previous assignments, language proficiency, advanced degrees, and additional skill sets. Ministry and personal preferences will be discussed. This includes ministry settings, living preferences, and a perspective of the priest skills drawn from personal reflection and input from other priests and lay people. Finally, priests will take a behavior and skill set inventory to determine strengths, styles, and skills.
Archbishop Perez has charged that the Parish Priorities/Goals and the Priest Growth Plan be submitted to him by Ash Wednesday – February 22.
Saint Monica had already been setting the groundwork for this initiative for several months with the Synod Listening Session and Called for More Focus Groups. I gathered a group of people to help me with my Priest Growth Plan. This group started meeting in June. For the development of the parish envisioning process, I have assembled an Envisioning Team which began meeting last month. More details about that below.
First, I wish to express my gratitude for the parishioners who have helped guide the parish and advise me over the past years. From the beginning of my tenure here, I had motivated, prayerful disciples to discern the Holy Spirit and help implement what we thought St. Monica was being called to be and to do in the vineyard. They included:
Dennis and Jessica Connell, Christina Coughlin and Brian Walheim, Jim and Megan Fox, Annie and Mike Kicak, Leo and Aagee Lane, Drs. Angela and Gregory Lawton, Kerri and Matt Manion, Michelle and Thomas Manning, Chris Moran, Maureen Mulhall, Gerald and Trish O’Brien, Bridget and Matt Tomasicchio, Tobias Hoppe, Tom McGurk, and Terry Dougherty. Additional information about other parishioners who advise me in the areas of Leadership, Stewardship and Fiscal Responsibility can be found on our website under “About Our Parish / Information.”
The current Envisioning Team includes Kristin and Erich Sizelove, John and Jenna Leone, Pat and Kim Campbell, Mary Guyer, Megan and William Sayer, Kim and Andy Conrad, Greg and Michelle Garabedian, Hernan and Elizabeth Jimenez, and Barbara Losoncy. The Team is laying a spiritual foundation by committing to daily prayer, weekly Eucharist, and monthly Confession. I am feeding the group intellectually through a meditative reflection of Sherry Weddell’s book, Forming Intentional Disciples. Finally, the implementation phase will require people throughout the parish with specific gifts and talents to lead and participate. The team has also been encouraged to take the Catherine of Siena Institute’s “Spiritual Gifts Inventory” and take part in the Institute’s “Called and Gifted” charism discernment curriculum.
It is an exciting and poignant moment for the parish of Saint. Monica. This is why we have prayed the Prayer for Discernment and the St. Michael prayers before and after Mass respectively. Please pray for these disciples – your fellow parishioners – for wisdom and joy as they embark on this journey of hope and guidance.