We have officially launched All Things New, the strategic pastoral planning process for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. All Things New will evaluate the effectiveness of the Church in St. Louis in proclaiming the Gospel and will identify opportunities for improvement and renewal within all parishes, schools, curia offices and agencies.
Why a pastoral planning initiative?
Well, why does the church exist? The Church exists to make disciples, not to run hospitals, schools or homeless shelters. The latter are all good fruits that flow from discipleship, but if we are not effective in making disciples, the institutions become hollow.
We all know that the Church of today is not the same that it was 50, 100 or 150+ years ago, yet we are still functioning in many ways out of the same mode of evangelization. We have inherited a great treasure of Catholic institutions from previous generations, but as the Catholic population and society have shifted over the past several decades, those institutions are no longer as effective or sustainable as they once were.
We are closer now to 2050 than to 1950. We need to ask ourselves what our parishes, ministries and institutions need to look like in order to effectively share the faith in a way that is suitable and sustainable for our children and for generations to come.
What does All Things New entail?
We will be utilizing three guiding principles for All Things New; unceasing prayer, a unified vision for evangelization, and intentional stewardship.
-Prayer resources for individuals and parishes, as well as local and diocesan events, will help us to renew our own personal call to holiness and evangelization and will ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we discern what is best for our local Church moving forward.
*Unified Vision for Evangelization
-Evangelization is the mission Jesus gives to us. To share the Good News is the responsibility of all of us. Yet only 0.6% of Catholics say that they feel equipped to share their story and invite others into relationship with Jesus and the Church. We need to renew and rediscover this call in our lives.
-The Church is made of living stones, not just those of brick and mortar. We cannot allow our attachment to infrastructure impede our primary mission of building up disciples and saving souls. Empty churches don’t save anyone.
How will this initiative be accomplished?
Your prayers and input are needed. Opportunities for prayer, to provide feedback, and to attend listening sessions will be occurring all across the archdiocese. We invite you to stay informed and sign up for regular updates on the All Things New website at AllThingsNew.archstl.org. Sign up today! Steadfast in Faith, Forward in Hope.
Rev. Chris Martin