On this 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, when we think of being good stewards, we may think that God is asking too much of us when He calls us to generously share our time, talent and treasure. However, we must remember that we are not “owners” of anything, we are merely “stewards” of the gifts God has given us. All He is asking is that we give back a small portion, in gratitude, of what He has already given to us.
An Update on Parish Renewal,
Structural Changes, and
This week – July 6 – the Archbishop consulted with his Presbyteral Council regarding the recommendations (May 21, 2023) put forward by our Parish Renewal Committee. His Grace will be away on vacation next week, then off to World Youth Day in early August. The conversation will continue when he gets back.
However, as an update from me, in responding to the pressures of parish restructuring, we need to be sensitive to the needs of all our parishioners. There has been confusion lately around what is being proposed. We never intended to change the name of each church, that was never part of the conversation. However, the reality of coming together as one parish, and possibly having a new name, is still an option.
The parish can be thought of as a family of families. There is value of evoking the family metaphor in our context in order to better understand the challenges facing our four parishes, and how restructuring success can be improved. Let me share the image of a blended family.
What parishes can learn from blended families? There are similarities between blended families and our parishes engaged in restructuring. There are high stress levels, forming new traditions and establishing new relationships, and sometimes boundary problems and unrealistic beliefs. Just as successful blended families must account for both the planning/preparation and the implementation of the new family structure, so too restructured parishes experience both a planning/preparation phase and implementation phase.
As I shared back in April, the mission of parish renewal is, at its core, not the conversion of structures and such – but, ultimately, the conversion of hearts. Programs do not renew the parish, but people will. Let us continue to pray for parish renewal this summer, for prayer is the real engine! Parish renewal is a process of both spiritual and structural renewal with the goals of making disciples, building communities, and inspiring witnesses.
Let us prayer together this summer, with hope and confidence, and gratitude at what God continues to do in our lives. Have a great week. Peace.