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Archbishop shares draft parish models with priests, pastoral council

Proposals reviewed by priests and archdiocesan pastoral council include multiple restructuring scenarios in each planning area

Archdiocesan priests and members of the archdiocesan pastoral council reviewed on Aug. 19 the first draft models of parish restructuring under the All Things New strategic pastoral planning process.

The draft models include two to five possible restructuring scenarios for the parishes in each planning area, or group of neighboring parishes. The territory of the archdiocese is divided into 15 planning areas. (Planning area maps are found at allthingsnew.archstl.org under the Ways to Engage menu.)

These models are the next step in discerning how best to ensure a vibrant future for the archdiocese where the Gospel message reaches people in every square mile, Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski said.

“Our goal is to implement a vision for evangelization that is accessible to all and empowers every Catholic to spread the Gospel message — today and for generations to come,” Archbishop Rozanski said.

Since the beginning of the All Things New process, archdiocesan leaders have examined demographics, sacramental numbers, parish resources, clergy projections and other data. They also carefully considered the more than 70,000 responses to the Disciple Maker Index survey, said Father Christopher Martin, archdiocesan vicar for strategic planning.

“The Disciple Maker Index survey focused on finding out if we are successfully equipping people for evangelization and growth in their faith life and where we might need to do better,” Father Martin said. “If we want to do better in those areas, we might need to realign our resources so we have programs and staff that can better accomplish those goals.”

The Aug. 19 discussions with priests and the pastoral council are part of the ongoing All Things New timeline. In September, the draft models will be presented to key parish leaders. In October and November, parishes will host more than 350 listening sessions — including up to two for each of the 178 parishes — to present archdiocesan and parish demographics and data trends as well as the possible restructuring scenarios to all parishioners.

All Things New leaders will gather feedback from each group along the way.

“We’re following the planned timeline to receive feedback from ever-expanding circles, so we can adjust the models accordingly,” Father Martin said.

The pastoral planning committee also collected input from the All Things New school survey, which garnered more than 18,000 responses regarding Catholic education in the archdiocese. A young adult survey specifically addressing young adults’ experiences and needs is available to take online through Monday, Sept. 12. (The young adult survey is available online at allthingsnew.archstl.org/Ways-to-Engage/Young-Adult-Survey)

Listening session dates, times and locations, as well as an online registration form, will be made available in the coming weeks. Registration will be required to attend a listening session.

Parish and planning area data will be available for review several weeks before each parish’s listening session on the All Things New website. Diocesan data is already published on the site under Ways to Engage - Statistics and Trends.

“I encourage you to engage with us during our listening sessions with an open heart and mind, as we continue to discern where the Lord is leading us,” Archbishop Rozanski said.

The pastoral planning committee will review feedback collected from each listening session before making final recommendations to the archbishop. Archbishop Rozanski will announce final pastoral plans on Pentecost, May 28, 2023. Implementation of these plans will take effect beginning in fall 2023 through 2026.

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