Last week in this note, I mentioned a little bit about the Archdiocese “ Parish Transformation” program and announced St. Matthias’ upcoming participation in its fall session. This week I go to a gathering of pastors for my training and soon thereafter several of our parishioners will be asked to attend an introduction and orientation session for program leaders. By mid to late September about 30 people from various segments of our parish population will be invited to take part in the Parish Transformation program, guided by an Archdiocesan resource person, at a series of 16 weekly meeting here at St. Matthias. We’ll be done before Christmas and then will report our parish findings and our plans for the future to the Archdiocese in January.
Instead of me rambling on about this new program, here is a message to participating parishes from Cardinal George
MESSAGE FROM CARDINAL GEORGE
Apart from the family where the name of God is first heard, the parish is home to our Catholic faith. It’s in the parish that the baptized encounter the Risen Lord in the proclamation of his Word and the celebration of the Sacraments. The parish is the home of mercy, the school of prayer, the teacher of wisdom and justice. The parish forms a community of witnesses, who, driven by the Holy Spirit, become light and salt for the world.
Because our parishes are essential to the life of the Church and of every Catholic, we must do all that we can to make our parishes effective communities of faith with a strong sense of mission. We must also exercise good stewardship so that all our parishes will have the solid financial ground they need to fulfill their mission. In support of our common mission I am asking for your involvement in the Parish
Transformation Initiative. There are two major components to this initiative
1. Parish Visioning, which helps a community discover its strengths and plan for greater pastoral effectiveness by creatively strategizing for the future.
2. Financial Renewal, which provides the tools for analyzing the material and financial components of the parish with view toward establishing a strong and viable financial picture. With the assistance of our Parish Transformation team, a number of pastoral coaches and facilitators, and the resource assistance of all our Archdiocesan pastoral offices, Parish Transformation has the potential for being a catalyst for renewal in our parishes that will keep our parishes strong and vibrant for years to come.
We have much for which to be thankful in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Let us work together to transform our parishes so that together, as the local Church of the Archdiocese of Chicago we will faithfully carry on the mission that Christ has entrusted to us. God bless you and those you love.
Fraternally yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago