Regional meetings underway for pastoral plan

November 27, 2012

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo spoke about the future of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston through a video message during parish Masses this fall. He conveyed a necessity to respond to the needs, hopes and dreams of the faithful in order to ensure the Archdiocese grows with the next generation. He presented the idea of “fostering a spirituality of communion” — a concept first revealed by John Paul II in 2001 as the basis for the Catholic Church’s pastoral planning. This phrase is now the guidepost for the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council as they plan the Archdiocese’s future. 

Cardinal DiNardo introduced three pathways intended to bridge the Archdiocese’s current reality to a desired future. The pathways are:

• Live our faith;
• Share our faith; and
• Nurture our faith.

To “nurture our faith,” Cardinal said it we must welcome others — their cultures and languages — and stretch our hearts and generosity to bring the Catholic faith to others. He said the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is unique — growing in population and diversity, with Masses celebrated in 16 languages.

To “live our faith,” the Cardinal expresses a goal of forming Catholics of all age groups: youth, young adults, adults and the elderly. Foremost for the Archdiocese is the formation of faith among youth and young adults.

He defines “share our faith” as finding a way, through education and formation, for parishioners to know more about their faith, the meaning of prayer and sharing talents and goods with one another and the larger community. 

Pastors and parish leaders are attending regional meetings facilitated by Archdiocesan Pastoral Council members and Chancery staff.
Representatives from the Deaf Ministry, University of Houston Newman Center and the Indonesian Catholic Community are also participating. 

The first meetings were filled with idea exchanges that portrayed the varied needs of the laity. Large group discussions flowed directly into small group conversations on:

• How each parish already supports a “spirituality of communion”;
• What potential actions to include at parishes;
• What collaborative efforts can be made to partner with and support each other; and
• How to develop best practices going forward.

Other specific topics included youth and young adult outreach, adult catechesis, elder needs, handicapped considerations and cross-cultural ties. 
At the time of publication, five meetings had taken place with three more to be completed by early December.

“The energy at the meetings is evidence of the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit working to reveal the best in our Archdiocese,” Sue Fogarty, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council chair, said. “It’s inspiring to watch pastors and parish leaders discussing the true issues and needs of the laity.” 

Meeting notes will be used in the next phase of the Pastoral Plan which is to formulate objectives that parishes can use to create individual action plans.

“This candid exchange of ideas across parish boundaries broadens viewpoints and expands possibilities of growth in living, sharing and nurturing our faith,” Fogarty said. †

Archdiocesan Pastoral Pathways

  •  Live our faith — Support Catholics of all ages in the daily practice of their faith; in their vocational response, in their family life and in their commitment to lifelong formation.
  • Share our faith — Commit to fully engaging all young people in their faith and encouraging them to share it with others. Commit to enthusiastic outreach to all those who do not participate in Church and dialogue with those of other faiths.
  • Nurture our faith — Nurture Spirit-based relationships between and among the faithful — these relationships cross all barriers and organizations whether cultural, parochial, parish-based or generational.