All Things New Draft Model 2
Thank you for your patience, openness, and willingness to participate in the process for the All Things New Archdiocesan Initiative. While the concept of change is always challenging and can make us anxious, I have been so edified by your willingness to see the reasons for change as what they are and to begin to engage them through efforts of evangelization and deeper discipleship.
I wanted to provide you an update as to where we are in the process. We are now more than a year into the All Things New process and after having received the initial models at the Parish Listening Sessions, we were able to gather and submit significant feedback from our team of Key Parish Leaders and our parishioners as a whole. The Archdiocese heard from more than 70,000 people through the DMI Surveys, hosted nearly 350 Listening Sessions at 178 parishes in the Archdiocese, surveyed 18,000 parish school parents, administrators, teachers, staff, donors, community partners, and volunteers, compiled sacramental, financial and demographic statistics for every parish and school, met with community, civic and business organizations, held focus groups, and had conversations at the deanery and parish levels, both in groups and one on one.
Over the past several weeks, the All Things New planning committee, which includes priests, deacons, parish life coordinators, lay leaders and religious from across the Archdiocese, have been reviewing and processing the parish feedback summaries, parish workbooks and financial data of every parish in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. All are currently posted on allthingsnew.archstl.org. Using that information, the planning committee has refined the first draft models to a second set of draft models, which offer one draft model per planning area. In reviewing the models, you will notice that the planning committee has made great efforts to incorporate reasonable feedback and suggestions, and many of the initial draft models have changed significantly.
Each planning area is divided into pastorates. Each pastorate reflects the area for which one pastor would be responsible. The planning committee has analyzed each pastorate to reasonably ensure each one has the resources (people, priests, buildings, and financial resources) to sustain a new territory and model. It is important to note that these drafts do not address worship sites, clergy assignments, or schools.
The next step is to gather feedback on the second draft models. Outlined below is the process we will be taking at St. Gerard Majella Parish:
- The Archdiocese has published the second draft models online for all to see at allthingsnew.archstl.org. Please take some time to review the models, particularly our own Planning Area 6.
- Please take our brief parish survey to give your thoughts and feedback on the second draft models. You can access the survey here. Please submit all feedback by Thursday, February 16.
- This will be the last set of draft models and the final portion of feedback gathered in order to enable the Archbishop to make a well-informed, discerned decision for the spiritual well-being of the Archdiocese, looking at the feedback of the people and the needs of the Archdiocese.
As you look at the draft models for Planning Area 6, many parishioners may feel relieved to see that the planning committee recommends that St. Gerard Majella Parish remain as a stand-alone parish. The temptation when reading this is to believe that SGM can now “check out” of the process, since nothing appears to change. The reality, however, is that while structural change may be less dramatic in our area than others in the final announcement, our parish cannot afford to simply move forward with “business as usual.” Something must change if our parish is to remain the vibrant and viable community it has become. Evangelization, discipleship of Christ, collaboration with other parishes, and responsible use of our temporal and clergy resources is a necessity for the future. Without these, we cannot succeed in our mission, and our parish and Archdiocese may be back in this same place again in a few more years.
The challenge of All Things New is the call to closer discipleship of Jesus Christ in our Church, parish, and community. Thank you again for being part of this important process and know of my prayers and gratitude for you and your families.
Fr. Michael Grosch