All Things New Listening Sessions

Thanks to all of you who have participated in the All Things New surveys and provided data and feedback over the past few months. The information has been enlightening, educational and fruitful as we continue to ask ourselves what our parishes, ministries and institutions need to look like in order to effectively share our Catholic faith in a way that is suitable and sustainable for our children and generations to come.

The next step in this multi-year process is to hear more robustly from you, our parishioners, about our parish. The Archdiocese of St. Louis will host over 350 listening sessions throughout our 178 parishes between October 8 - November 19, 2022. Our Parish Listening Sessions will be October 18 and October 20 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. You are invited to register for our listening sessions beginning mid-September at online.

Parishioners must register in order to attend a Listening Session. Registration will close once the designated room's seating capacity is reached. There will not be additional opportunities for Listening Sessions other than the ones scheduled for each parish.

Each listening session, including ours, will be facilitated by volunteer parishioners from a different parish. These trained facilitators will share pre-recorded messages from Archbishop Rozanski and Fr. Chris Martin, Vicar for Strategic Planning, with an overview of All Things New, a planning area overview and multiple DRAFT model options to consider for our respective planning area. A brief time will be allowed for small group discussion and facilitated large group feedback.

The goals of the listening sessions are to engage as many of you as possible in understanding the current state of our parish and diocese and to solicit feedback from as many of you as possible about the DRAFT models options for their planning area.

After the final listening session in each planning area, the Archdiocese of St. Louis will make public the content presented at all the parish's Listening Sessions in that planning area and will offer an additional opportunity for parishioners to provide open-ended feedback through an online survey.  The survey will remain open until December 31, 2022. Parishioner feedback to the models is critical, as it will be used to help shape the future of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

In order for you to be fully prepared with accurate information before our parish listening sessions, you will receive access to our Parish Workbook.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has created Parish Workbooks as a supplementary resource to help us prepare for the listening sessions. The workbooks are meant to equip us with data about the Archdiocese of St. Louis, our local planning area, and our specific parish. Our Parish Workbook is available online for anyone to view.

Please continue to pray for the gift of true discernment so that we may continue to do the Will of God in all things.

Listening Session Registration

Parish Workbook

 

If you need to change your scheduled session please email onlinesupport@catholicleaders.org.

All Things New Education Survey Results

The results of the All Things New Education Survey have been posted.  Take a few minutes to check them out here.

Addressing Some of the Rumors Around All Things New

Reprinted from an article in the Catholic St. Louis Magazine by Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Many of us are familiar with the role of the fact checker.  When claims are made by political candidates, the fact checker does the research to determine whether they are true.  And it often turns out that the claim is only partly true. In this article, I'd like to play the role of the fact checker for some things that are being said about the All Things New pastoral planning process.


Claim: “I heard that Pittsburgh went from 188 parishes down to 57, and we are working with the same group.”  

It's true that that's what happened in Pittsburgh. And it's true that Pittsburgh worked with the Catholic Leadership Institute, and so are we. But Pittsburgh's plan was Pittsburgh's plan, and our plan will be our own. The Catholic Leadership Institute is here to help us fashion our vision and plan, not the other way around.


Claim: “They already know the plan.”

This is, perhaps, the most important rumor that people hear.  I will not tire of reiterating: we do not already have a plan!  We know what the demographics look like; we know what the sacramental and financial trends look like. What we are discerning is what our infrastructure could look like, and what our mission should look like. Some preliminary models will be prepared over the summer as a starting point for conversation.  But then these preliminary models will be brought to the priests and the faithful through listening sessions so we can hear from peoples’ hearts. The conversations we have will clarify what we need to prioritize, and how we will invest our time and energy moving forward.


Claim: “All Things New is trying to destroy the tradition of the Church.”

We’re not trying, in any way, shape or form, to change what the Church believes. Quite the opposite: What the Church believes is the foundation upon which we build!  All Things New will not change the nature of the Mass, or of the priesthood, or of the sacraments, for example. What we are looking at is the way parishes are structured in this sense: where they are located, how priests are distributed among them, how parish programming supports evangelization. What we believe will not change. How we operate needs to.


Claim: “Demographics are inevitable.”

Let's call this “demographic fatalism.” If we just look at the numbers, they are declining. If we simply project those numbers into the future, it looks like the decline will continue to get worse. But consider just one counter-example. In the early 1800s, Catholicism in France was in demographic freefall.  By the late 1800s, there had been a tenfold increase in the number of priests and religious sisters! Of course, there were many factors in this turnaround. But the fundamental elements were the grace of the Holy Spirit and individuals cooperating with that grace. We need to view our own demographic
trends with human realism, and we are. But we also need to view them with faith in what the Holy Spirit can do, and what can happen when we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.


Conclusion

Many things are genuinely unknown at this point of the process.  What often happens, however, is that those unknowns get filtered through our fear, sadness and anger. That filtering process turns uncertainty into rumor - and rumors are not the Lord’s work! So here's my plea: let's resist the rumor mill! And here's my proposal: every time we experience fear, sadness and anger - which we all do! - let’s pivot on them in a different direction. Let’s make them occasions for turning to the Lord and asking for His guidance.