As Lent begins, I want to tell you about some ministry developments in the Archdiocese, and so here at St. Paul.
Some months ago I wrote about the Amazing Parish conference which the Archdiocese hosted back in May. Fr. Joseph, Judith Jones, Beth Allison, Anne Graves and Ray Bauer attended with me. I’ve subsequently asked Tina Forsythe to join the group. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen. 190 parishes took part. This was the first time the Amazing Parish people have ever done this for an entire diocese. Usually, the pastor and his group have to go to Denver.
Archbishop Vigneron wanted us there as another step preparing us for Synod 16 which happened last November. Various St. Paul participants have shared their thoughts over the past several weeks. More of those will be coming.
Both of these experiences are key in shaping the Church in Detroit for the New Evangelization. Although you’ve heard me say it before, it bears repeating. The New Evangelization is about forming our hearts to follow Jesus Christ, so that we can transform Southeastern Michigan for Christ. Again, this is why the Church exists (Cf. Matthew 28:19-20).
The Amazing Parish folks shared many practical steps to move our parish communities closer to the goal of being a “band of joyful missionary disciples” (that’s a phrase the Archbishop uses often, and so you’ll hear it more and more). They suggest calling the group who attended and continues to work together a Leadership Team. The Leadership Team collaborates with the wider parish staff, the Parish Pastoral Council and Commissions, and other parish groups to fulfill the Great Commission from Jesus (Cf. Matthew 28:19-20 again).
The Conference leaders had each parish group identify three priorities. Our group came up with these three: Child Faith Formation, Adult Faith Formation, and the Worship Experience (what happens when we come together as a parish to pray). We’re working on goals for each of the priorities. I’ll share those with you as they develop.
What’s this mean for us? Big changes? Reorganization? None of the above. I think of it as refining some of what we’ve already been doing, and doing very well here at St. Paul, but doing it smarter and better. I’ll keep you informed as we work to “Walk in the footsteps of Jesus and set hearts on fire.”
May God bless you and your families.
Msgr. Pat Halfpenny