At convocation, clergy urged to participate in Pastoral Plan for the Diocese of Salt Lake City
Friday, Oct. 17, 2014
Dominican Father Wayne Cavalier, who is helping guide the Diocese of Salt Lake City Pastoral Plan, makes a presentation at the Oct. 7 clergy convocation. IC photo/Marie Mischel
SALT LAKE CITY — As they gathered for their semi-annual clergy convocation Oct. 6-9, the priests in the Diocese of Salt Lake City were asked for their help in making the Pastoral Plan a success.
The plan is meant to discern God’s will for the diocese, identify priorities and create a plan to allocate resources for those priorities, said Father Wayne Cavalier, a member of the Southern Dominican Province, who is a member of the Pastoral Plan steering committee.
Bishop John C. Wester announced the kickoff of the plan at the Sept. 27 Pastoral Congress, during which he urged all Catholics in the diocese to participate by attending a listening session or filling out a survey.
The listening sessions are opportunities for local Catholics to have a dialog, led by trained facilitators, about issues concerning the local Church; matters of doctrine will not be discussed. (For a list of upcoming listening sessions, see the Around the Diocese section.) Those not able to attend a listening session are asked to complete a survey, which is online at www.prayerfulplanning.com; printed copies may be available at the parishes. The survey will cost more than a first-class stamp to mail; those who complete a paper copy are asked to return it to their parish.
During the clergy convocation, Fr. Cavalier asked the diocesan priests to aid their parishioners in various ways, such as making announcements about upcoming listening sessions and providing information about the plan in their parish bulletins.
The pastors should not attend the listening session for their area, because their presence could sway the discussion, Fr. Cavalier said.
Other ways the priests can help would be to show the 2-minute video that includes Bishop Wester’s direct appeal to parishioners, make available printed copies of the questionnaire that parishioners are asked to complete before the listening sessions, and help people understand the process and encourage them to participate, Fr. Cavalier said.
Also, he asked the pastors to collect any paper copies of the survey that parishioners bring in, and return them through bulk mail to the steering committee.
In addition, Fr. Cavalier asked that the priests pray the Pastoral Plan prayer with their congregations at their weekend liturgies. “This may be the only way that they can participate in the planning process, but it’s a very important way,” he said.
The Pastoral Plan is a process of prayerful discernment, so “prayer is such an important part of the Pastoral Plan,” he said.
During the convocation, the priests participated in their own listening session, at which numerous issues were discussed.
Once all the listening sessions are complete, the steering committee will assess the data from them.
“Everyone’s input will be considered, and that’s a promise we can keep, but in a diocese of limited resources, you have to identify priorities, and while many things will be considered, only a few things will be identified as priorities for the diocese to be able to realistically move forward, put resources into and pay attention to,” Fr. Cavalier said.
The listening sessions are expected to be complete by the end of November, and a plan is expected to be in place by next year.