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EDITORIAL | Essential work of All Things New strategic pastoral planning effort will ensure a vibrant Church for generations to come

Strategic pastoral planning initiative will take time, but the work is essential in supporting future evangelization efforts for the archdiocese

Are you ready for change?

This week, the Archdiocese of St. Louis formally announced the launch of All Things New, a strategic pastoral planning effort that will examine all facets of the local Church, with the goal of examining its efforts to evangelize.

The multi-year process will identify opportunities for improvement and renewal within the entire structure of the archdiocese, including parishes, schools, archdiocesan offices and agencies and other ministry efforts.

Yes, we’re going to see some changes. But in doing so, the Church is going to be better positioned for generations to come in sharing the Gospel message with others — and ultimately drawing closer to Christ.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has long thrived on a centuries-old model of Church, which relied heavily on an influx of Catholics who immigrated from Western and Eastern Europe and other parts of the world. The model of Church as it exists today grew out of those early immigrants who came here and sacrificed much as they built a structure reflective of their experiences in the Old World.

In a culture of Christendom — where Christianity prevails in society — we had all of the structures in place to support certain aspects of Church life, including religious vocations, Catholic education, needs-based ministries and more. Institution building is a primary means of proclaiming the Gospel, because people come to the Church.

But as we have seen, the culture has changed. We’ve entered into an Apostolic age, where the Church must assume a secular mentality. That means Catholics must go out to people, who need to hear the Gospel for the first time. It also means we need to change the way in which we evangelize.

Evangelization means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every situation and seeking to draw others closer to Christ by the power of the Gospel message. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said that evangelization is the idea that we “propose the faith.” We don’t force it upon others. And yet, we don’t hide it. Ultimately, it’s how people witness us living out our commitment to Jesus as Catholics.

All Things New will reimagine how the Church serves her people throughout the archdiocese. At the same time, we also must look at new ways to foster viable, sustainable and vibrant parishes, schools and ministries that support the evangelizing mission of Jesus Christ and His Church.

It won’t be a quick or easy process, but with your input, we must look forward to ensure we are serving effectively and preserving the faith for future generations to come.

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