Diocese releases plan's second draft - Catholic Courier

Diocese releases plan’s second draft

In the latest step in a series of planning initiatives that began in 1998, the Diocese of Rochester released the second public draft of a new five-year strategic plan Sept. 19.

The plan contains proposed mission, values and vision statements for the diocese, as well as a list of five goals intended to shape the diocese’s agenda. Each of the five goals is supported by examples of measures that could be taken to implement them, according to Bill Pickett, director of the diocesan Office of Pastoral Planning.

The plan’s second draft was prepared with input from a wide variety of diocesan groups and leaders as well as Bishop Matthew H. Clark. In September, the Diocesan Planning Pastoral Council and the Diocesan Stewardship Council reviewed the second draft, Pickett said, adding that the Diocesan Priests’ Council was slated to review the draft on Oct. 4.

The second draft contains a proposed mission statement that reads: “We Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester are disciples of Jesus Christ. Called in Baptism and nourished by the Eucharist, we proclaim the Good News of God’s saving love. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, we serve all people with justice and mercy.”

The proposed values statements note that Catholics value history, tradition and culture centered on “Word and Sacrament”; prayer, faith formation and ongoing conversion; and the life and dignity of each person.

A draft vision statement reads, in part: “Grounded in vibrant Eucharist and in scriptural reflection, faith-sharing and small group sharing, the Diocese of Rochester throughout its 12 counties is experiencing renewal.” The vision statement notes that more and more leaders and ministers “are pursuing formal studies in undergraduate, graduate or certification programs. And as they are empowered, they in turn are empowering others to work collaboratively.”

The five proposed goals have been modified somewhat from their presentation in the first draft of the plan, Pickett noted. The goals are as follows:

1. To Deepen Lifelong Faith Formation & Spiritual Transformation

Pickett noted that the second draft makes this goal the center of the strategic plan, whereas the first draft had made reconciliation and unity the plan’s core. Pickett said input from groups and individuals led to the change.

“Unity and reconciliation were seen as a result of spiritual transformation, rather than the other way around,” he said.

Among proposed action steps are making evangelization the “central mission of every parish and faith community” and strengthening parish faith formation “across all generations and cultures.”

2. To Strengthen the Commitment to Christian Stewardship for All Catholics

The plan defines stewardship as how people use “time, talent and treasure” to serve the church. Proposed action steps include providing stewardship materials, programs and other resources for parishioners.

3. To Follow Christ’s Call to Justice, Love and Peace

Suggested actions include developing partnerships between Catholic Charities and faith communities, as well as expanding ecumenical and interfaith cooperation.

4. To Develop and Nurture Lay and Ordained Ministry That Uses the Gifts of All for the Service of All

Suggested actions include promoting St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Pittsford, which offers development programs for both paid and volunteer ministers; and ensuring that sufficient funding is available for ministry-formation programs.

5. To Build Up Reconciliation and Unity Within the Diocese of Rochester

Proposed actions include strengthening the relationship between Bishop Clark and pastoral leaders, and enhancing “transparency and accountability in all communications.” In practical terms, Pickett said, this means the diocese’s various groups and communities will need to have open, honest discussions about the issues that divide them as well as the things that draw them together.

The full text of the plan may be found on the diocesan Web site, www.dor.org, by selecting “Pastoral Planning” on the home page, then following links to “Strategic Planning” and “Second Public Draft Plan Now Available.”

Pickett said the strategic plan is expected to undergo one more revisions before a final version is presented for Bishop Clark’s approval, which is expected by the end of the year. Implementation would begin in 2006.

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