Notes from Archbishop Perez (Part One)

A few weeks ago, Archbishop Perez met with the priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It was during an annual fall workshop sponsored by the Archdiocese.

The Archbishop spoke on a variety of topics. He first mentioned that a number of good things are happening in Philadelphia. For example, Young Catholic Professionals are meeting regularly. The Culture Project is expanding throughout Philadelphia. This is an initiative of young people trying to restore our culture through the experience of virtue. They proclaim the dignity of the human person and the richness of living sexual integrity. This invites our culture to become fully alive. To date, they have met with over 14,000 people. They have done this at Theology on Tap, high schools, Abbeyfest, retreats, and parishes.

The Archdiocese is engaged in the Christ in the City Missionaries project. The vision is to create a culture of encounter and form contemporary Catholic missionaries. Young adult missionaries live in a common house and share daily life. They spend intentional time learning about the Catholic faith and resources to serve the homeless. Incidentally, a Saint Monica parishioner is currently discerning involvement as a missionary.

We have four missionaries involved with Vagabond Ministry. This is a national movement in the Catholic faith serving eight cities across the country. They are young people driven by a passion to know Christ. They especially focus on forgotten and neglected teens. They are currently reaching out to young people in Chester.

These are indications that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is “moving from crisis to hope.” This is one of three goals on which Archbishop Perez has said he wants to focus over the next few years.

He mentioned that he is advocating two large conversations in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

  1. Catholic Schools: When you look at the 1800s, Catholic churches were being burned. There were anti-Catholic riots. There was prejudice against the Catholic faith in the city. What did St. John Neumann do in this time of the “No-Name Riots?” He did not complain. He did not lament. He moved. He built a healthcare system. He started Catholic Social Services. He built Catholic schools. His idea was “What does Catholic education look like 25 years from now?” Archbishop Perez said, “I am asking the same question of a select panel right now. I am asking them, ‘What does Catholic education look like 25 years from 2022?’ You have two years to answer that question.”
  1. The Catholic Church: What does the Catholic Church look like 25 years from now? Look back 25 years ago. The year 1997. We were in a technology “.com boom.” The economy looked like it would grow for years. We saw the explosion of the Internet. It was also pre-9/11. Did anyone foresee what we see today?

We have to enter into the future, being part of a change, and not feeling that we are a victim of change.

Archbishop Perez has more to say, especially about our parishes. I will cover that next time.

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