23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. As we begin a new school year, we also begin a new Pastoral Year. This weekend’s readings highlight stewardship, inviting us to share our gifts, time and talents with our parish. Many of us are generous with our gifts. However, many of us are not generous in proportion to the gifts we have been given. How often do we give at the minimum level required? Remember, the Lord calls us to nurture and develop our gifts and to give back with increase. He calls us to be generous with all the gifts, especially the one that means the most to us.
Back to school again, and back to a new Pastoral Year. This is an exciting time for the Church. A time to rediscover who we are, what we are about and how to build the Kingdom in the 21st Century. It’s also a scary time because we need to walk away from some of the structures that have been in place for 100+ years in order to create new, relevant structures that allow us to continue the mission.
The Catholic Leadership Institute – through their Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program – has helped the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall in the past, giving us a foundation and tools which allowed pastors and ministry leaders lead parishes through the chaos, and to utilize the gifts and talents of parishioners. The new partnership of the Archdiocese with Villanova University will continue to help our conversation about parish pastoral planning this fall, and in the next few years.
What are some of the obstacles you see that prevent a vibrant parish? Our parish leadership will be meeting on September 18. There will be many things to discuss include these four topics.
- Fostering Discipleship.
Utilizing polls and surveys in the coming weeks, we will invite all parishioners to participate in order to create a vision and plan for discipleship in our parishes based on our unique gifts and talents, and Jesus’ vision for the Church.
- Lead & Shepherd.
Through our Pastoral & Finance Councils, along with the help of our Pastoral Renewal Committee, and other input from our small groups, we hope to integrate the science of leadership with pastoral application, in order to build confidence and competence in all our different ministries, allowing us together to shepherd our parishes.
- Vision & Leadership.
Collaborating with parish leaders through our different gatherings, meetings, and small groups, we plan to continue to strengthen our parishes creating a healthy organization, a plan for the future, excellent Sunday experiences, and support for evangelization and discipleship.
- Vibrant Parishes.
Is our parish thriving? Our goal this year is to implement a proven model for parishes that creates thriving, vibrant parishes now and in generations to come.
I look forward to our gathering on September 18, starting with Mass. Through our continued conversations about pastoral planning, we have a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the Church and create a new generation of Catholics in our community. We seek to envision what we want our Church to be and then make that vision a reality. Have a great week. Peace.
ps. Ultimate Frisbee is back this year, at the Dome every Friday, starting September 8.
pss. let’s continue praying for vocations to the priesthood.