The above quote is not just nice fluffy language from Pope Francis. The parish is the fundamental building block of discipleship, it’s where we learn of Jesus and how he is calling us to live our lives. We have heeded the call for continual self-renewal and constant adaptivity by intentionally moving in the direction of a unified Catholic faith community of Saint Patrick – Holy Cross – Saint Rita.
The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community. . . . if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters.
— Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, Paragraph #28
We hope you appreciate the significance of what is happening in our three parishes. This is new territory for our Church and unity isn’t simple or easy. But there is strength in unity, and that unity begins with strong leadership. Please prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to help shape the contours that will keep our parish communities relevant in the midst of the homes of our sons and daughters.
Our first priority is to establish strong leadership teams with specific areas of responsibility. With that vision in place, we will create one, unified Pastoral Council, one unified Finance Council, and three Parish Life Committees. The new Pastoral Council and new Finance Council will include members from all three parishes and the school community. They will serve as consultative bodies that will discern with the pastor and staff how best to address the challenges and opportunities we encounter as a unified faith community in today’s rapidly shifting world. Through pastoral planning and dialog they will make recommendations to help the pastor make critical decisions regarding parish priorities, directions and policies.
Parish Life Committees will be established at each parish. The responsibility of the Parish Life Committee is to oversee the day to day ministries, programs and services at the parish level. It is their duty to implement the policies, procedures and decisions developed by the Pastoral and Finance Councils, and to bring to their attention challenges and opportunities from the bottom up.
Are you interested in serving on these new Leadership Councils and Committees?
Membership for these councils and committees will be determined this Spring through a process of discernment. It will not be an election. Discernment, especially communal discernment (where people gather together to pray for God’s wisdom in deciding what and how to offer their discipleship service to their parish) is a process involving:
Reflection on the gifts, skills, and challenges you offer/bring
Education on the roles and responsibilities of these structures
Exploring and clarifying the roles and relationships between the councils and committees
Group prayer and reflection, listening to God’s call
All three current Pastoral Councils discussed various aspects of this new organizational structure. When asked to help identify the skills and talents needed for the new unified Councils and Parish Life Committees, here’s what they had to say:
Unified Pastoral Council and unified Finance Council would be best served by people:
Open to caring for the welfare of all three parishes as opposed to representing the interests of your
Strategic thinker – people who see the big picture
Respect the past, but focus on the future
Ability to work and adjust to a flexible and changing environment
Strong organizational and planning skills
Both good listeners and the courage to voice opinion – remember, in a group of 10 collaborative members, you will listen at least 90% of the time and maybe speak 10% of the time.
Parish Life Committees would be best served by people:
Congenial and approachable to parishioners
Visibly present and active in the local parish community
People who are doers – action oriented
Attentive to detail
Team oriented – encouraging others to help and become involved
Work closely with and raise up, parish volunteers.
What should I do if I’m interested in serving in some capacity?
Parishioners interested in offering to serve on a unified council or a parish life committee are encouraged to contact the parish office(s) to let us know of your interest, or the name of someone else whom you think would be a good candidate that we should contact. If you have questions about the new structure and expectations of membership, please contact Kevin Lovejoy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 253-274-4104.
The deadline for expressing your desire to serve on one of these new councils or committees is Sunday, May 12, 2019.
On Saturday May 18, 2019, we will host a Group Discernment from 9:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. at Holy Cross Catholic Church. Lunch will be provided. During that time, everyone will pray, reflect, share information about our strengths and weaknesses, explain what’s expected of the unified councils and the parish life committees and what’s expected of individual members, and mostly listen for what we think God is communicating to us individually and as a group.
At the conclusion of the day, attendees will be asked to write their response to this question: “What do I feel God is calling me to do for these parishes?” Some may decide they would like to be considered for member- ship on one of the councils, and others may discern that God is calling them to serve the community in some other capacity. Father David and his advisory team will collect the responses and soon thereafter continue discerning who among the remaining candidates is best suited for the various positions.
What about the other unified councils and commissions?
The Pastoral Councils recommended to Father David that several other unified commissions be established with members from each parish.
Faith Formation Commission
Pastoral Care Commission
For the coming year, membership in these commissions will be by invitation. It is our plan to conduct a similar group discernment for these commissions in the following year. If interested in serving on one of these commissions, please contact your parish office or Kevin Lovejoy.
Thank you for taking the time to discern whether God is calling you to be a part of this creative and flexible new leadership structure for our Tacoma Catholic parishes!