Sharing the love and life offered by Jesus Christ is at the heart of all we seek to be and do in our Catholic Church. How do we do this most effectively? How do we work together across our parishes, schools, ethnic communities and agencies to realise the great mission entrusted to us?
Our Diocesan Pastoral Plan Bearers of Christ’s Love (2015 to 2017) offers a wonderful vision and resource to support us in our efforts to be proclaimers of the Good News. Shaped by community consultation and key advice from our diocesan leadership, our plan focuses on Family, Healing and Outreach. This year, in particular, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on Family, and has convened an extraordinary synod to focus on our pastoral response to families. Next year, our universal church will embark on a Year of Mercy, and the focus of Healing in our own plan both embraces the Year of Mercy, and invites us to consider what healing the church needs to offer, and what healing we need to receive. The focus on Outreach remains a prevailing theme, as we seek to share the Gospel in every setting, particularly by bearing Christ’s love to all people.
What are our challenges and opportunities?
We recognise that both our priests and our fully active laity are declining in numbers. Our Diocese is diverse and encompasses one of the fastest growing population areas in the country: south-western Sydney. Additionally there will be significant growth in other areas of the Diocese as part of the Greater Sydney population strategy. We are called to be Good News to all people in our Diocese.
How do we work together for this goal?
In 2009-2010 the Diocese embarked on an extensive consultation process to develop a pastoral plan which would attempt to capture the pastoral needs of the Diocese into the future. The Diocesan Pastoral Plan Bearers of Christ’s Love (2011 to 2015) offers a way of working together, cooperating with the Spirit in God’s mission. Our plan not only contains many ideas for action, but also offers a way of planning together.
What are our learnings from our Planning 2011 – 2015?
As we journeyed together in bringing our plan to life, we recognised the need for strategic directions (2013). These led to the employment of a Diocesan Executive Officer to support our planning, and the creation of a support manual for our Parishes Working Together process. These strategic directions or Practical Support Principles are: Co-responsibility, Communications, Business Plan and Sharing Resources.
What changes as we look ahead from 2015 – 2017?
Our initial plan invited our agencies to work together on broad initiatives to serve the needs of the Diocese. We have undertaken a three-year plan rather than a five-year plan to allow for more flexibility. In shaping our plan for the next three years, we are engaging more closely with local communities, focusing efforts on supporting grass-roots initiatives. The goals in the original plan (2011-2015) have been reworked. Our renewed goals are:
- Uplifting Prayer and Worship
- Enriching Faith and Spirituality
- Strengthening Community Life and Outreach
- Empowering Leadership for Mission
Each year a focus is offered: Family (2015); Healing (2016); Outreach (2017). Each focus is not set in stone but is offered to help align our efforts across the Diocese within a common theme. Our efforts continue across the entire scope of God’s mission, always seeking to respond to the cry of the poor, and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As such, we plan the best we can, and remain open to changing our plans.
Our Plan only exists to serve the good people and works of our Diocese. We give thanks particularly for the enduring faith, hope and love expressed through good works of individuals and local communities.
Click here to view the Diocesan Pastoral Plan Bearers of Christ’s Love (2015 to 2017)