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Each Family of Parishes will follow the Pastoral Planning Pathway to guide its future.  This Pathway will assist each Family in creating a pastoral plan for the parishes in the Family, articulating how they will live out the six Beacons principles and abide by each of the parameters, all aimed towards vital, mission-driven parish life within the Family of Parishes and ultimately, as one canonical parish.

The Pathway:

  • Is based upon the six Beacons principles, and considers each of them in each phase
  • Includes parameters (“musts” and “must nots”) approved by the archbishop to guide the planning process.
  • Is the means of providing accountability to Archbishop that the Beacons of Light process is being undertaken in each Family of Parishes, led by the pastor.
  • Is meant to bring together the leaders (clergy, staff, councils) of all parishes within the Family for prayer and cooperation in its creation.
  • Is multi-year, with phases that are marked by clear completion steps and specific measurement criteria allowing for each Family to progress at their own pace.
  • Uses the four-fold process of Assessment-Design-Implementation-Evaluation for the Pastoral Planning Pathway overall and also within each phase.
  • Is supported by a Liaison and other Pastoral Center staff.
  • Is more “portfolio” than “timed”, allowing for each Family to proceed at their own pace, rather than along a precise universal timeline.
  • Includes periodic review by deans.
  • Allows for and supports canonical processes as the Families of Parishes unite as a canonical parish, including discernment of the utilization of church buildings and other parish facilities.

VALUES supporting the Pathway:

Conformity to canon law & the Vatican instruction on parishes “The pastoral conversion of the parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church.” (2020)

Grounded in prayerful discernment.

A theology of Families of Parishes grounded in Church teaching, including Evangelii Gaudium and Journeying Together.

Pastoral planning within the Family of Parishes supports vocational discernment and supports family life as the “domestic church”.

Co-responsibility among ordained and lay ministers within the Family for planning.

Coordination among Families within the deanery, led by the dean.

A Planning Team in each Family (led by the pastor) to oversee the planning process.

Support from the Pastoral Center for each Family in the planning process.

The Pathway Platform:

  • Will be a digital framework including all of the tools needed by a Family of Parishes to do pastoral planning.
  • Is organized around the six Beacons principles, administration, and communication.
  • Includes general material about Beacons of Light, the theological foundations for pastoral planning, and other essential resources for parish leaders.
  • Is freely available to parish leaders and anyone who needs access for pastoral planning.
  • Does not duplicate existing assets on Pastoral Center office web resource pages (policy docs, webpages, etc.) but links to them.

Included on the principle/focus area pages are each of the following:

  • Principle or focus statement 
  • Vision points for the principle/focus area
  • Parameters for the principle/focus area
  • Links to related existing civil law, canon law, other particular and universal Church law, and AOC policy documents 
  • Introductory video pertinent to the principle/focus area
  • Prayer materials for each principle/focus area
  • Theological content (scripture, magisterial) for each principle/focus area
  • Essential documents needed for planning (e.g. quarterly or annual reporting tools)

Things also included in the platform for each principle/focus area:

  • Assessment tools for aspects of parish life (e.g. liturgical, catechetical, facilities, etc.)
  • Recommendations
  • Best practices
  • Strategy documents (e.g. “How to combine your parish councils into a Family Council”)
  • Meeting outlines (e.g. “Worship Commission agenda for revising Mass schedules”)
  • Helpful media (videos, podcasts, etc.)
  • Links to external sources
  • Contact info for key Pastoral Center staff
  • Digital assets (logos, wordmarks, etc.) for use in local communications and publishing