Today is a promising day, because about 300 of our priests, deacons, religious, and our pastoral planning women and men, will be joining me at Saint Joseph’s Seminary to begin the next phase of our pastoral planning process, Making All Things New.
Many of you have already been a part of the beginning stages of our pastoral planning, which began under Bishop Dennis Sullivan – then our Vicar General, now the Bishop of Camden, New Jersey – and very ably carried on now by Father John O’Hara. The parish surveys that were completed by parishioners in nearly all of our parishes yielded thousand of responses, Bishop Sullivan and his team met with thousands of our people at sites all over the archdiocese, and these responses have been very carefully studied as an initial indicator of the pastoral needs of the Catholic faithful in this archdiocese.
At today’s meeting, we will be introducing The Reid Group, a company that specializes in assisting dioceses in their pastoral planning process. The Reid Group will be working with the Archdiocese of New York, and, more specifically, with our parishioners, parishes, and regions, as we seek your input and ideas about what should be done in pastoral planning. Every parish will be involved in this process, and we can only succeed if we are all committed to working together to share our ideas in order that we might renew and strengthen our parishes and parish life.
As we continue with our pastoral planning, I can assure you of two things. The first is that no decisions have already been reached about what changes will be made at the end of our process. Those decisions will only be reached after much consultation with our laity, our religious, and our clergy. We need you and your wisdom to help guide this process. The second thing I can promise is that we will always proceed patiently, prudently, and prayerfully. And, The Reid Group will help us to do just that.
For now, I ask for your continued prayers that the Holy Spirit will guide Making All Things New, and I invite and look forward to your active participation in your parish as our pastoral planning gets underway in earnest this fall!