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Leadership

1.4 Vision Communications

For a vision statement to truly affect the behavior and future success of your Family of Parishes, it must be continuously communicated and referenced. A communication strategy should include initial announcements, incorporation into all social media and future homilies, and reinforcing your vision in Family meetings. We recommend using the following five P’s:

Publish
Roll out your vision statement with a full explanation of how your vision statement was created, why your vision statement was chosen, how it will be used going forward and how you anticipate the vision will impact your Family’s activities and ecclesial culture. Much of this language can come from the earlier steps in this process. This explanation should follow the Kotter five-minute rule, meaning that, in five minutes or less, someone should be able to explain your vision statement in a way that the listener understands and can accept it.  

Add your vision statement to your website(s) (with explanation from above), bulletin(s), business cards, letterhead and any other Family communications. 

Promote
As part of the initial rollout of your vision statement, meet with and explain your vision statement to as many people in your Family of Parishes as possible. Start with all councils and commissions, all Family staff, ministry leaders and in-Family town hall meetings. All Family staff and leaders should eventually be able to explain and refer to your vision statement.  

Incorporate your vision statement into future meetings. We recommend starting all meetings with not only prayer but also an open discussion of your vision statement or a core value for your Family of Parishes. This can be done simply by showing a slide of your vision statement and asking meeting participants the following questions:

  • How are we living out this vision as a Family of Parishes?
  • How are we not living out this vision, especially in the area of this particular group? 

This is a proven method to reinforce a vision within any type of organization.  

Preach
The single best place your pastor, as the leader of your Family of Parishes, can communicate with parishioners is from the ambo in a homily. As part of rolling out your new vision statement, we recommend sharing your vision statement at all Masses and explaining its importance and impact on the future activities of your Family. But this cannot be done only once. The theme of your vision statement, if not the specific words, should be part of future homilies from that point on. When preaching duties are shared, this can be done by defining key themes from your vision statement that all preachers will incorporate into future preaching.  

Persevere
This process will take time, as it takes years to change hearts. Preach regularly from your vision statement. Refer to your vision statement in bulletin announcements, in meetings with staff and lay leaders and when announcing changes within your Family. 

Patience
Expect resistance! Change won’t happen overnight. 

2.1 Leadership Formation

Your Family Leadership Team (FLT) not only executes on your Family’s vision, but also models the authentic Catholic life for your parishioners and community. The Phase 1 milestone for Leadership states:

“Form a unified Family Pastoral Council, Family Leadership Team and staff, each rooted in prayer and supported by healthy teamwork.”

To be rooted in prayer and to live out healthy teamwork, your FLT should reserve time for its own spiritual formation. This was touched upon in Phase 1 (1.3 Leadership Formation) but requires ongoing effort to build and maintain well-formed and trained leaders. As Parameter 15 indicates:

Leadership Reversed

“Priests, deacons, staff and other lay leaders will participate in ongoing spiritual formation and training for leadership.”

To-do: REview the Amazing Parish Office Culture materials to assess your current leadership environment.  

To-do: Define a regular schedule for Family Leadership Team and all-staff prayer time. See materials tab for the approach used by one parish.  

To-do: Define a regular schedule for Family staff education and leadership training. Leverage ongoing training opportunities offered by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Pastoral Center. 

Leadership Overview: Phase 2

A vision statement is an important step forward for your Family of Parishes. A strong vision statement encapsulates inspiration and provides a rallying cry — a clear goal — for your Family’s leadership and members. A clear vision helps prioritize allocation of parish resources, facilities and funds. A vision statement also helps people move out of their comfort zones and past the normal reluctance to change by energizing your parish communities with the promised vision of a better future state. Thus, a clear, concise vision is important to meeting the Leadership vision point of co-responsibility:

Leadership Reversed

Pastors, staff and parishioners share responsibility for bringing all relevant perspectives to the process of discernment, according to their proper roles and gifts.

For an additional perspective on the importance of vision, please see this video

There are many ways to create a vision statement. If your Family of Parishes is using the Next Generation process in consultation with Catholic Leadership Institute, then you will use the Next Generation Parish visioning process, not those defined here. Some Families of Parishes are using other approaches to define vision. In terms of vision, there are two important things to the Beacons of Light process: 

  • Your vision is aspirational and aligned with the Beacons of Light pastoral goal to pursue the God-given mission of sharing the Gospel throughout our archdiocese.
  • Your Family’s vision is not dictated by any one person but is developed with input and buy-in from parish staff and volunteer leadership. Collaboration will support broad adoption, foster co-responsibility and increase the impact of your vision statement on the direction and ecclesial culture of your Family.  

The Center for Parish Vitality’s (CPV) recommended approach to creating a vision is defined here in Phase 2, primarily in the Visio Day and Family Visioning Process work steps. There is flexibility and some options within these steps. CPV advises that you consult with your Beacons of Light Liaison or the CPV at [email protected].   

0.1 Confirm Vision Assessment Complete

To prepare for Visio Day, it is beneficial to have an understanding of where your Family of Parishes stands in relation to each of the vision points in the Leadership principle. Use the Family Vision Assessment Tool to isolate which vision points are strengths and which need attention as part of establishing a comprehensive vision for your Family of Parishes.  

See the Vision Assessment Tool.

0.2 Leadership – Reinforce from Phase 1

Your Family Leadership Team (FLT) and Family Pastoral Council (FPC) need to be complete before you can move to Phase 2. This will also meet Parameter 13:

Leadership Reversed

Competent and qualified staff is necessary to serve the Family of Parishes, especially in the areas of worship, Evangelization (including Love in Action) and administration. As is possible, staff is unified to serve the entire Family.

The importance of a strong vision for your Family of Parishes can not be overstated. Creating this vision relies on broad input experienced in parish life, as well as a strong understanding of what it means to create a parish of missionary disciples. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you select your FLT and FPC and that they participate in the Family Visioning Process. 

1.1 Visio Day

Visio Day provides an opportunity for your Family Leadership Team (FLT) to learn the importance of creating a vision for your Family of Parishes and how to best create, communicate and enact that vision within your Family. This one-day workshop will not create the final vision for your Family of Parishes but will jump-start that process and prepare you for the Family Visioning Process.  

Some Families of Parishes participated in Visio Day early in 2023. We encourage all other Families, not engaged in the Catholic Leadership Institute’s Next Generation Parish process, to attend one of the two sessions scheduled for fall 2023.  

Learn more.