Please help me 'Chart the Course' for our diocese

Friday, Oct. 10, 2014
Please help me 'Chart the Course' for our diocese + Enlarge
By The Most Rev. John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City

The Diocese of Salt Lake City Pastoral Plan is under way! On Sept. 27, at our annual Pastoral Congress, I announced during the Mass that this process has officially begun. You also may have seen the “Charting Our Course” banners at the Cathedral of the Madeleine and the Skaggs Catholic Center, or the posters and prayer cards in your parish, or read the front-page article in this paper last week.
This is an exciting time for our diocese and I am looking forward to this process, during which we will discern the working of the Holy Spirit in our midst. It may sound intimidating, but the Pastoral Plan process is really not that complex, and it offers everyone a chance to participate.  
I’m aware that, as with any new undertaking, many questions will arise. To answer those questions, you’ll be hearing more about the Pastoral Plan, Charting Our Course, in your parish and in the pages of this newspaper. Information is also available online at In addition, your pastor will be talking about the process, and there will be regional meetings, or listening sessions.
I encourage all Utah Catholics to attend a listening session. Some of these sessions will be limited to members of particular Catholic groups, such as the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women or the Knights of Columbus. Others are open to all Catholics within a deanery or region, and I invite each and every one of you to attend such a session to discuss the Church in Utah and help us plan for the future. I expect that the conversation at these listening sessions may be wide-ranging, but the facilitators will limit the discussion to topics that are within the purview of this local diocese – matters of Church doctrine will not be included in the dialog.
Before attending the listening session, please take about 30 minutes to fill out the questionnaire at I ask that you do this prayerfully, with careful thought. Then, please bring the completed questionnaire to the listening session. At the end of the session, the questionnaires will be collected, but all information will be kept confidential.
If you are unable to attend a listening session, I still urge you to participate by completing the survey, which is separate from the questionnaire. Both are available at; paper versions will be available in an upcoming issue of the Intermountain Catholic and at your parish.
The purpose of these listening sessions, questionnaires and surveys is for me to learn your concerns about our local Church. All information will be confidential. Once the Diocesan Pastoral Plan Steering Committee receives the results, we will prayerfully consider your input. As your shepherd, I will listen with my heart and reflect deeply on what we have learned from you. I will pray and discern where the Holy Spirit is leading us in this time and place, and then develop a vision for the Diocese of Salt Lake City. This vision for the diocese will include establishing goals for the next five years. We also must develop strategies to meet those goals, and ways to assess our progress.
The listening sessions will be very important in this process. Upcoming sessions are listed on p. 14.
Please join me in praying for the success of our Pastoral Planning. I am most grateful to you all for your anticipated participation and to those leaders in our diocese who have served and are currently serving on the planning committee. I thank especially Susan Northway and Father Wayne Cavalier, OP, for their invaluable assistance and expertise. May God who has begun this good work in us bring it to fulfillment!

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