Under the Archdiocesan Disciples in Mission plan, St Mary's Parish will be joining St Eulalia's Parish as a Collaborative during the next few years. We will share a Pastor, a Pastoral Team and a Pastoral Council. The members will be encouraged to work together, but each Parish will remain open and maintain its own identity – its own name, buildings and finances.
Here is a link from the Archdiocese of Boston website to Frequently Asked Questions about Collaboratives. https://disciplesinmission.com/faqs
Pastoral Planning Introduction
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE ARCHDIOCESAN PASTORAL PLANNING COMMISSION
The Boston Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission recently began a series of 25+ consultations around the Archdiocese to discuss a proposal to strengthen its 290 parishes. It is a proposal to reorganize the way we serve our existing parishes. It is not a proposal to close parishes or churches.
In addition to a new evangelization focused on promoting growth in the Church, a major part of the proposal would be to develop and organize our priests and parish staffs differently. Every parish would be obligated to develop a pastoral plan of action with one or two other parishes in the area. Based on their geographic proximity and shared local community, it has been proposed that St. Mary’s and St. Eulalia’s form a Pastoral Service Team.
The Pastoral Service Team is a group of pastoral associates, lay ecclesial ministers, parish pastoral and finance councils served by a single priest who provide pastoral services to multiple parishes. By creating these teams, improved pastoral services can be provided to parishes without altering the parishes themselves. The parishes would retain their unique and distinct identity, funds, assets and liabilities, but they would be served differently. That is, they would share a common parish staff that would be re-trained for mission, collaboration, and partnership.
It is important to remember that this is only a proposal. There is no formal action plan, no timetable, and few details. The Commission is seeking the wisdom and insight of its parishioners over the next several months to determine support for this approach. And, if this approach is not acceptable, what approach would people recommend, given the realities and challenges we face.
There is a real urgency to re-energize our pastoral leadership at every level. The data collected by the Archdiocese indicates that, in ten years, we will go from 346 priests available for parish ministry to 178-185 for our 290 parishes. The data also indicates that our pastoral associates, the lay men and women who serve parishes as the next tier of parish leaders, and other key lay ecclesial ministers could shrink by 65-80%.
Though these numbers are stark, the Cardinal has taken this crisis as an opportunity to refocus the mission of the Archdiocese. The reality in our parishes is that less than 16% of Catholics go to Church. Therefore, the Cardinal invites parishes as they develop their new pastoral plan, to re-organize around a new mission of evangelization and outreach. Parishes should extend their plan beyond the status-quo.
We thank all our parish leaders, staff and parishioners, as you work with us to discern our next steps as an Archdiocese.
Web site for Boston Pastoral Planning - Archdiocese of Boston