Happy feast day of Christ the King! We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you’ve found our 3-part homily series, “Priest, Prophet, and King,” edifying. Fr. Brian’s and my hope is that we are not only more knowledgeable about our participation in this threefold office and mission of Jesus Christ, but that we are desirous and eager to live out the priestly, prophetic, and kingly dimensions of our vocation as missionary disciples.
Last month at the Presbyteral Convocation (the annual gathering of all the priests of the Diocese of Lansing), Bishop Boyea and his Chief of Staff, Deborah Amato, led the priests of the diocese in some visioning exercises. In light of the three historic Diocesan Assemblies since 2014, culminating in the one this past September 22nd when about 13,000 of our lay faithful were present in the Breslin Center, we want to capitalize on the great momentum our diocese and, more specifically, our parish have built in these last four years.
In this Year of Prayer we have just commenced, our next step is the prayerful discernment of a strategic plan for our parishes to become communities of missionary disciples who will “announce the Gospel of the Lord” to a world in desperate need of the Good News. Over the next few months, Bishop Boyea wants this vision for our diocese and our parish to be a central theme in our prayer life until January 31, when the priests will gather to set more concrete goals as a diocese.
Crucial to this visioning process is the input of the lay faithful. Thus, we have begun our own visioning process as a parish. We began with our staff and are now in the process of seeking the input of our lay leaders on the Pastoral Council and of our Parish Representatives.
The main questions we are asking our staff and our lay leaders are:
- How have you seen our parish change since the first Diocesan Assembly in 2014?
- What are three major areas where you’ve seen a significant difference?
- How do you ideally see our parish five years from now? Ten years from now? Twenty years from now? In other words, if a reporter were to write an in-depth article about our parish at those junctures, what would the article say?
- What areas are we lacking in fulfilling that vision? What needs aren’t being met?
- How do we arrive at that vision? What are the biggest gaps between our current reality and our vision?
- What are three of the biggest obstacles that prevent our parish from achieving this vision?
- What are the three clearest priorities that our parish must undertake in order to move toward that vision?
We also want to ask you individually a few similar questions. In this Year of Prayer 2019, Andy Bihl and I will be checking in with you either by phone or personal meeting to seek your input on these and other questions regarding parish life and how we may better serve you. By the completion of this Year of Prayer in 2019, we hope to have “2020 Vision,” that is, a clear blueprint and clear goals for how we as St. John want to advance the Kingdom of God here in Jackson County.
Yours in Christ,