Vibrant Parish Life
by Bishop Anthony M. Pilla


Vision
Four Convictions
Laying the Groundwork
Conclusion
Response Form

Like most people in the Church, my recollections of growing up Catholic consist of vivid images and pictures, vibrant scenes and fond sentiments. My warmest memories are about people... lively, animated, loving people. These people were "my parish." Parish life was so central to us as children that, when asked where we lived, we were as likely to name a parish as we were a street or neighborhood. For most Catholics of my era, the parish was the center of our lives and Church life was parish life.

Although the parish is not the only setting in which people experience the Church, it is a touchstone for all the other ecclesial experiences. It supports and sustains the domestic Church. It is home to countless groups and gatherings of people. It unites its parishioners with the Diocese and the universal Church. I see parish life as so central to our diocesan well-being that I would say, "as the parish goes, so goes the faith of the people."

Therefore, as we conclude our Jubilee observance, I want to present my convictions about parish life and how we can best sustain this great gift through collaboration among our parishes. I am not seeking to re-create the past nor am I able to predict the future, but I intend to share my vision, my values and my hopes. Jesus defines the purpose of His mission when He says, "I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). My hope is that we will do all that is possible to sustain and enhance the vibrant parish life to which Jesus calls us.

These are not my first words regarding the future of parish ministry in our Diocese. Rather, this reflection summarizes my thoughts about a conversation that has been going on for years. This conversation developed against the backdrop of many positive developments as well as serious challenges that evolved over the last thirty years. These years have witnessed the positive growth brought about by the Second Vatican Council, the renewal of our liturgical life, the expansion of ministries and the renewal of our proclamation of the Good News in an effort to evangelize the modern world. These advances have been accompanied by some challenges. Of particular concern here are issues resulting from the reality of suburban sprawl and its demand for parish growth, the decline of the urban core and its threat to city and ethnic parish ministry, and the very real issue of fewer priests and religious being available today than in the past.

This conversation is also influenced by the diversity and richness of our Diocese and the increasing variety of needs. Our eight-county Diocese is urban, suburban, and rural; manufacturing and agricultural; wealthy and poor; east, west, and south; and includes diverse races, languages and ethnic groups. With this richness also comes a full array of needs, all of which are important and legitimate concerns of the Church. These needs are as numerous and varied as the persons who possess them. These needs continue to challenge the Church’s efforts and means of responding. While our Church is blessed with impressive gifts and resources, the circumstances and challenges of today demand that we seek renewed ways of nurturing parish life.

As I look to the future I see our challenge to be finding a balance between these very real needs, and the gifts and resources available to meet them. Finding such a balance requires discernment. Discernment is a gift given to the Church so that God’s will might be discovered in the midst of concrete, daily reality. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit we are charged to find new opportunities for the mission of Jesus to be accomplished in and through us. Discernment is needed today for us to faithfully meet the present challenges as we plan for the future of parish life. If the Church is to flourish in the 21st century, we must offer, maintain, and support a vibrant parish life for every Catholic.

 

Vision 
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The characteristics of a "viable and vibrant parish life" are discernible from many sources. During the 1990's, our Diocese has used Our Vision and Goals, and its five areas of mission: Celebrating, Evangelizing, Caring, Teaching and Participating. I offer my further reflections on vibrant parish life.

We are a Eucharistic Church. As Catholics, we are formed into a faith community by the Holy Spirit by being gathered around Christ at the table of the Word and Eucharist. We see ourselves as called by Christ to be His Church, to become His Body. We know that we are a sacramental Church. We have come to appreciate the Word of God as proclaimed in the assembly and broken open for us in the homily. We believe that Word and Sacrament belong together. We know that we must gather to celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, doing as Christ commanded us to do in memory of His life and ministry, His suffering, death and resurrection, and His sending of the Holy Spirit. We are most true to our Catholic identity when we uphold the importance of Word and Sacrament, celebrated in common.

For most Catholics in our Diocese, the parish is our Eucharistic community. People seek a vibrant community where we can celebrate the Liturgy in a dignified and prayerful way, where, with others of our faith, we encounter Christ, and from which we can take that presence of the Risen Lord to our families, neighborhoods and workplaces. Catholics have always turned to the parish when seeking reconciliation, to marry, have their children baptized, or bury loved ones. It is no wonder that people sense the need for a priest, deacon or parish minister for these sacramental, educational and pastoral needs. We understand the important Catholic tradition of grace and sacrament in the most significant moments of our lives. We value a Christian community that is spiritually alive. We want our parishes to grow through evangelization and the Rites of Christian Initiation.

In addition to the opportunities for worship and reception of all the sacraments, a vibrant parish, alone or in collaboration with other parishes, must be able to offer religious education on all levels. We have always prized our Catholic schools. We deeply care about quality religious education programs such as our Parish Schools of Religion and youth ministries. These are the places where so many of us have learned how our faith relates to all aspects of life and how the values of our faith must be integrated into our daily decisions. Adult religious education and formation opportunities, programs for strengthening family life, young adult programs...all these must also be regularly available and strengthened.

A vibrant parish reaches out to the world around it and genuinely cares about the needs of the poor and those who are less fortunate. We are a missionary Church. Acts of charity, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, were characteristic of the first Christian community of Jerusalem. All gave of their possessions so that no one was in need. We in our day, must seek to imitate the zeal of that early community. A vibrant parish must inspire in its parishioners a care for its members and its neighbors. We know that the ‘neighbors’ of any parish include the surrounding community with its many different people, the Diocese, the nation, our universal Church and the whole of the society in which we live. We must be a sharing community to bear the name Catholic. The Church in the City initiative has further defined this call to serve the common good of our cities and region.

It is also clear to us that as Church, and especially as individual members and local communities in the Church, we must be involved in forming a just society. We must strengthen family bonds in Church and society. We must guard the sacredness of life in all its stages. We must be concerned about the poor and the disadvantaged, and the societal systems that affect their lives. We must pursue justice and peace. Moreover, we must do this in collaboration with the ecumenical and interfaith communities.

A vibrant parish is a caring and welcoming community of faith, a place to which we come willingly, where we feel at home, where we know we can grow in our faith, where we can find God and be reconciled when we feel lost, where the emphasis is on the individual worth and dignity of every person. A parish should be, above all else, a good place in which to grow spiritually — a supportive and caring community to be proud of.

What will our parishes need in order to realize this vision of vibrant parish life in the next decades? Let me share my reflections.

To be the center of good worship, qualified and trained liturgists and musicians are needed to make sure that what is done is in the best of the Catholic tradition. The faithful should be formed to understand the meaning of our communal prayers and rituals, and appreciate them as special and distinct from their daily routine and chores. Liturgy should be an experience in which the faithful encounter the presence of God and are inspired to seek a deeper holiness in their lives.

Parishes in the next decades, either alone or in collaboration with their neighbors, should have effective programs of education in our faith at all levels. Qualified personnel are needed to administer and facilitate all of these programs.

Parishes will need to have coordinated outreach ministries, again with qualified personnel. The extent of poverty and the need for such outreach cannot be overestimated.

Parishes will need to collaborate in providing different services and support groups to assist and aid all kinds of parishioners with their individual needs, e.g., family programs to help those preparing for marriage; care for the sick and elderly; programs for those seeking parenting skills; support groups for the widowed and divorced, for the chemically dependent, and for those with difficult life situations. While no single parish can afford an individual minister for each of these needs, parishes can cooperate to assure that someone coordinates them, knows how to evaluate the best of such groups and where they are available, and can assess the religious values that ground them.

All of these opportunities require much collaboration. They demand good stewardship and the willingness to share with others -- the poor with the rich, the rich with the poor, one cultural group with another. Collaboration includes sharing in the same district or neighborhood, and goes beyond to invite partnerships between parishes with different cultural roots.

As I look to the future, I also recognize that each parish has its own history, one that gives birth to its particular characteristics. We certainly do not want to lose these unique qualities. Many parishes were founded with strong ethnic roots that were and continue to be important in sustaining people’s faith. Our European, Asian, African-American and Hispanic parishes are a vital witness in our Diocese and we are proud of them. Moreover, our rural parishes will not be the same as our urban or suburban ones. Our richness and diversity are a treasure to be preserved. Vibrant parish life is the best way for us to manifest the presence of Christ and to inspire others to embrace Christ more profoundly. This quality of parish life is a reality in many places. If all Catholics are to experience vibrant parish life, we will need to sustain and expand the vital ministries we now have, while discerning new and creative means of providing ministry in the future. We also need catechesis in order for our people to understand and support this vision of vibrant parish life.

 

I am afraid, however, that such vibrancy is being threatened by the effects of growth in some areas, decline in others, fewer priests and religious, and the increasing inability to hire lay ecclesial ministers in the places where they are needed and wanted. For the future of Church life in our Diocese, I am convinced that vibrant parish life, as we have come to define it, must be available to all areas of our eight counties.

Let us consider for a moment the consequences if we do not take action now to ensure vibrant parish life throughout our Diocese. If we simply continue the status quo, we may see the day when we will be a Church in decline because our parishes and our ministries have become weakened by fewer staff and diminished resources. This would be a great loss for our people. I do not want to see the health of our priests, deacons, religious and lay ecclesial ministers threatened by asking them to do more than they can. I also do not want priests to be so overburdened with administrative responsibilities that they have too little time for the sacramental and interpersonal ministry which they see as central to their priestly work. I can foresee these as real possibilities on the not-too-distant horizon if we fail to act now. Failing to act now may mean that the evolving reality will impose more difficult situations upon us; circumstances may take the choice out of our hands. Right now, we have options. Engaging in a process of renewal can lead to a fuller, vibrant parish life for those who participate. Failing to act will lead inevitably to diminished parish life.

I realize that parishes grow and change. They are affected in ways beyond their control by changes in the region or neighborhood where they are located. I recognize that it is very difficult for the people of a parish to see their community in decline and in need of support, facing deficit budgeting and an uncertain future. They may be unable to adequately serve the needs of parishioners with the ministries necessary for a vibrant faith community. It may well be advisable for a small parish facing these circumstances to unite with another parish or parishes to ensure a more stable neighborhood presence and improve the quality of ministry that can be provided to its people. It takes great courage for a parish to see that it is no longer viable, and that for the good of the future parishioners, a merger with another parish or closing is needed. I offer the people of any parish in difficulty my prayerful support and my guidance in coming to a wise decision about the steps that need to be taken. I understand that closing a parish without the consultation and support of its members can lead to lasting hurt and alienation from the Church.

We must never abandon hope in the working of the Holy Spirit among us, nor in God’s love and providence in our lives. Building on the good solid traditions of the past and on the willingness of our priests and parishioners of today to look at their situations in a realistic but hopeful way, we can indeed face the future boldly and with confidence and trust.

 

Four Convictions
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I offer here my heartfelt convictions and core values in order to assist the diocesan Church in the process of discernment for the future. These convictions come from my reflection upon the Gospel, my study of Church history, consultation with the ministers and faithful of our Diocese and my reading of the signs of the times over the past forty years. These thoughts drive my pastoral ministry as bishop regarding the future of our parish life and I believe they must guide us as we consider the future of our Diocese in the New Millennium.

 

My first conviction is that our chosen method for achieving vibrant parish life for all of our people must be an experience of "communion" – growing together in Christ. I want the process that we use for developing ways of better sharing our resources and personnel to have the same qualities as the goal we are seeking to achieve. St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians presents us with a model of how the Church should face and resolve the issues of its life: "Living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into Him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body . . . brings about the body's growth and builds itself up in love" (4:15-16). Therefore, I believe that our efforts to respond to the realities of growth and decline must be guided by a process that itself is vibrant, one that "builds up" the experience of parish life for the people and the ministers. It is my hope that this process, for those who enter it sincerely, will not discourage people or communities. Instead, any process we use to deal with the future of parish ministry must encourage the faith life of the persons most directly affected. This standard which I am setting will be challenging to uphold. It demands the love of Christ, a charity beyond all telling, a willingness for compromise and sacrifice, and a fidelity to the Gospel and the Church.

 

My second conviction is one of deep respect for, and reliance upon, the leadership of those closest to each situation. I hold in inestimable value the local community, its gifts, traditions, ethnicity and needs. This respect mandates that any process involve initiative at the local community level. I do not believe that true parish life can be imposed from an outside authority. Rather, I am convinced that it must be discerned in faith and be embraced voluntarily with the heart. While I will admit that this conviction is a personal approach, I must assure you that it is an intentional and, I believe, an authentic act of Christian leadership. I suggest that its validity lies in my understanding of true conversion, and its attraction for me lies in my esteem for each member of the Christian faithful. Admittedly, it is a challenging style of leadership, because it depends upon the commitment and responsive fidelity of courageous members of our parishes and communities if it is to be effective. It is risky and deeply Christian, because it is an attitude of leadership that requires no compulsory participation, threatens no consequences for non-compliance, and demands hard work and perseverance. For those who accept the call to cooperate, I can promise you a powerful experience of the Spirit and an opportunity for true Christian discipleship and authentic Church life. I invite the cooperation of all the faithful in the Diocese. My personal spirituality and style of episcopal leadership dictate that I rely upon the leaders and members of each local community to participate in the formulation of a plan for the future and to willingly open their hearts to new life and to a renewed Church.

My conversations on the subject of parish staffing have shown me that most people do have some idea of what they think might "fix things." I find many of these "fixes" unacceptable because they are typically solutions aimed at some "other" people, "someone else’s" parish, one of those "cumbersome" institutions, or some "unfamiliar" effort. Our solutions cannot deal with the Church’s people and institutions by using impersonal or hurtful strategies. My resistance to formulating an aggressive and sweeping plan for parish consolidations or closings is that, rather than "fixing" a fundamental problem or strengthening the faith of the people, the actual result is that people experience tremendous pain and alienation. I do not believe that building vibrant parish life can be legislated. It must involve initiative at the local community level and be embraced willingly with the heart by those most affected. This demands local leadership.

 

My third conviction is that the priests, deacons, religious and lay ecclesial ministers serving the parishes of our Diocese must be respected and that their faithful cooperation is essential. The mission of Christ in this Diocese cannot be accomplished, nor can the challenges of growth and decline be remedied, without the initiative and cooperation of these men and women in leadership. I rely very much upon their insights, their gifts, and their generosity to build up parish life. Our parish leaders are as prepared, gifted, committed, and generous as any in the Church. I take very seriously my responsibility of appointing and distributing our ordained ministers in an effective and just fashion, considering the overall needs of the entire Diocese.

However, I am very concerned about the increased burden upon fewer priests, the effect on priestly morale of being "over-stretched", the burden upon lay ecclesial ministers having insufficient priestly and sacramental support, and the burden upon our institutions to recruit, train, and maintain lay ecclesial ministers with just compensation. These aspects of our present dilemma bring urgency to the discussion. We need to move more quickly in planning for the future in order to honor, encourage and preserve the treasure we have in our parish ministers because these challenges strike them most significantly every day.

The value I place upon the ministers of our Church obliges me to state firmly that solutions to the issues of growth and decline must safeguard the role of the ordained ministers. I look for solutions that are respectful of the proper role of all in ministry. They must include encouragement, training, and the just compensation of lay ecclesial ministers. The best solutions will be those that strive to create collaborative leadership groups that employ the full complement of all the Church’s ministries.

If local communities are going to experience vibrant parish life, it will be at the hands and to the credit of Spirit-inspired parish leaders. My hope is that every parish leader will hear the call of this present situation and join with me in enthusiastically moving into the future.

 

My fourth and final conviction is that vibrant parish life is best achieved through the collaborative efforts of several ministries and communities in an area, and that these ministries will often permeate parish boundaries. Such collaboration will utilize and preserve the different gifts of each parish; it will relieve the burdens of some; and it will promote the faith and the life of all the Christian faithful. In my experience, there are wonderful examples of collaboration that have increased the vibrancy of parish life for all concerned. Several which come to mind are: programs which are done jointly or regionally such as RCIA, youth ministries, Pre-Cana Days, Separated and Divorced ministry, elementary schools, adult education/speaker series, and community outreach - programs and ministries that a single parish might find difficult or impossible to do alone or whose quality is greatly improved when done collaboratively; one or more parishes sharing a pastoral minister (which neither parish could support by itself); and coordinated Mass schedules in an area (which eliminates duplicate times and liturgies). Many of our parishes have been enriched through The Church in the City partnerships in which worship, social, educational and outreach experiences are shared. These partnerships are marked by a mutual giving and receiving, and by intentional and inclusive relationships which impact both the parish community and individual lives. In all of these cases, parish life has become more vibrant because resources were shared and coordinated, and the burden on each one was lightened. Traditional parish boundaries can be respected without serving as an obstacle to shared parish life throughout every area of the Diocese.

Growth and decline situations are not an urban, ethnic or administrative problem alone, but they involve the whole Diocese. As St. Paul reminds us, we need each other, as each part of the body needs every other part. "If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary." (1 Cor. 12:19-22).  Ours is a family challenge that demands the prayer, cooperation, and creativity of the entire family. I invite all parishes in our Diocese to respond to this call of renewing our mission. The solution I envision will depend upon every parish reconsidering its responsibilities for "parish life" in an area wider than its boundaries. I realize that some people may feel that their parish has everything it needs, so why bother with this process. I want to emphasize that we are called to give witness to a "Catholic vision" of parish life and unity, and not simply a "congregational perspective." Each parish has something to give, and each has something to receive.

I ask that each pastor, staff and pastoral council begin to consider the needs of an area broader and wider than the traditional territory of the parish. Likewise, these parish leaders must consider the gifts that their individual parish can offer to that same surrounding area. The goal of this re-visioning will be the collaborative use of resources and personnel, the combining of gifts and creativity, and the building up of and just distribution of parish life so that all peoples are exposed to the fullest expression of Church life and ministry.

 

These are my most firmly held convictions regarding the future of parish life in the Diocese of Cleveland. To restate them:

1) Any process that we use for sharing our resources and personnel must be an experience of "communion" – growing together in Christ.

2) Any solutions we develop must come from and be embraced willingly with the heart by the local communities involved.

3) The initiative and cooperation of the men and women currently in leadership in every parish are essential.

4) The result of our discernment will be a collaborative effort, involving the networking of several ministries and communities in each area of the Diocese, permeating yet respecting the boundaries of existing parishes.

 

These convictions are interdependent. It seems difficult to imagine a healthy solution for our Diocese that omits any of these or exaggerates one. Having stated these convictions plainly, I now invite you to join me in the next step of this journey.  We are crossing the threshold into a new century, an amazing Third Christian Millennium. Amidst the uniqueness and the grace of the Jubilee, we find ourselves at a perfect time to gather our collective will in order to assess and renew our Church life and to make things the way they ought to be. The challenges of growth and decline that I have addressed in this statement are only one important aspect among many inviting us to renewal in this new time. We must be a reconciled community, one family of faith, sharing a common calling and recognizing a common goal. We are Christ’s Body empowered for this mission. St. Paul, writing to the Church in Rome, provides the direction by which our common goal can be attained: "Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another" (Romans 14:19).  If we value the peace among us and strive to build up the life we share, our mission is secure. Indeed, prayer and dedication are needed for such a mission. My forty years of ministry in this Diocese have convinced me that neither is lacking here. Let us join our hearts and lives as we work to build up an ever more vibrant parish life for everyone in our Diocese.

 

Laying the Groundwork
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The goals and convictions I have stated above will come alive on an area-by-area basis. Before I can encourage local parish communities to begin such a renewal, I believe a comprehensive preparation is essential.

A Diocesan Task Force will be appointed in February of 2001 to coordinate the preparation and implementation of a collaborative process. This group will develop and refine resources and instruments, building upon work we have already done in the Diocese. To assist the work of the Task Force, I invite further discussion in the Spring of 2001 within our parish staffs and parish pastoral councils, districts and consultative groups in order to suggest the practical means for implementing this initiative. It is essential that we provide steps and resources that will be genuinely helpful and relevant to every part of our Diocese. I hope to present the recommended implementation steps and resources to be developed by the Task Force at meetings of our priests and parish leaders by the beginning of 2002.

My charge to every pastor, pastoral staff and parish pastoral council in every parish of the entire Diocese will then be to initiate a two-step process over a twenty-four month period, beginning in the Spring of 2002.

As a first step, I ask that each parish, using the resources to be developed, assess its vitality and vibrancy as a manifestation of "parish life" which the universal Church and our Diocese have envisioned. Discover and proclaim what most gives life in your parish. Identify your best resources and your greatest examples of vibrancy. Discern those areas where you hope to enhance parish vitality. During this time of review and assessment, adequate catechesis will be essential to help our people to understand the vision of parish life that is at the heart of ‘why’ we are undertaking this process.

Second, when the self-study and catechetical steps are complete, I ask you to turn to at least one parish, ideally one that touches your parish boundaries. Enter into study and dialogue with them. Look at your various ministries and share the results of your self-studies. Recall the history and founding of each parish. Examine the rich ethnic, racial, liturgical and spiritual variety. Identify the similarities, the duplications and even the contradictions that exist between the parishes. The goal of this shared consultation is for each parish to identify the parishes (typically no more than three) with whom they can cooperate most naturally and begin to develop collaborative initiatives. In some cases, these clusters will simply build upon existing relationships and successful collaboration already in place. In other cases, new relationships will be formed. It will be helpful to discuss the formation and ongoing development of clusters within each district.

Parishes now engaged in The Church in the City partnerships with non-adjacent parishes are asked to participate in this clustering process in ways that can sustain the present partnership and build new opportunities with neighboring parishes. I would like this two-step process to be completed by the Spring of 2004.

I hope you recognize my stated convictions in this preparatory call for clustering. I envision this self-selected clustering effort as the beginning phase of a larger discernment process that will renew parish life in every area of our Diocese. We each must do our part to plant the seeds and lay the foundation for collaboration and unity that will deepen with time. If the future of ministry is to be vibrant and viable into the next Millennium, it will take a stated vision, a thoughtful and prayerful discernment, a conversion of hearts and minds, and most especially courageous and cooperative parish leaders. I am confident that the Spirit is moving among us and will renew our local Church.

To address the challenges which we will continue to face, I believe that the initiatives coming forth from parish clusters will need to respond to the following criteria:

  1. Enhance vibrancy and more effective ministry in all of the cluster parishes.
  2. Better serve important needs and more people than would otherwise be served by separate parish activities.
  3. Use parish staff personnel and material resources more collaboratively, creatively and effectively, and reduce the overall staffing burden for priests and other parish ministers that was previously necessitated by separate efforts.
  4. Increase shared leadership, collaboration and the fullest use of gifts among laity as well as clergy and religious.

 

I also recognize that the diocesan administration will need to take action not only to provide resources and staffing support for this process, but also to respond to the issues that are most appropriately addressed on a diocesan level. For example, in the future assignment of priests, we will continue to carefully assess the sacramental and priestly responsibilities needed within a parish and cluster area, and consider different alternatives, based upon both pastoral needs and the gifts and readiness of priests to be assigned. These alternatives may include shared assignments that include parish ministry as well other ministries (e.g. chaplaincy, diocesan ministry); assigning a pastor or priest to more than one parish; placement of a deacon, religious or lay person to serve as Parish Life Coordinator; or the assignment of a pastoral team (priests, deacons, religious, lay persons) for two or more parishes. I welcome proposals from parishes and parish clusters regarding new and creative ways of addressing parish staffing configurations in your area, within the present discipline of the Church.

Recognizing that vibrant parish life is facilitated by vibrant ministerial life, I also believe that we need continued dialogue within the Diocese with our priests, deacons, religious and lay ecclesial ministers regarding diocesan policies, practices and related expectations that make an impact upon ministerial life. This dialogue will need to explore areas that we need to sustain, change or initiate in order to support greater vibrancy in the life of the parish minister.

In addition to working with the Diocesan Task Force to support the implementation process, the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Office will coordinate this effort in collaboration with members of the Secretariats for Parish Life and Development, Clergy and Religious, and Education, and the Delegate for Future Parish Staffing. These offices will be available to assist you in this process. Their insights and experiences will serve the Church well as we undergo this re-visioning of vibrant parish life with renewed unity and collaboration.

 

Conclusion
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This statement is intended to offer a vision and a call for the renewal of parish life through our unity and collaboration. I ask our parish leaders, and especially my brother priests, to give me your support in leading this endeavor. We must love the Church and help our people to participate fully in its life. Our discernment and dialogue need to be rooted in love – the love of God, love for each other, love for the Church. We must recognize and embrace the unifying power the Church has for all of us. I look forward to continuing our conversations within the Church as we discern the path to which the Spirit calls us.

THIS PASTORAL LETTER MAY BE FREELY COPIED OR REPRINTED, OR FOR ADDITIONAL COPIES, WRITE OR CALL:

THE DIOCESE OF CLEVELAND

1027 SUPERIOR AVENUE, ROOM 600 • CLEVELAND OH 44114

216-696-6525 OR 800-869-6525, ext. 4210

vibrantparishlife@dioceseofcleveland.org


RESPONSE FORM B SUGGESTED ACTION STEPS TO CARRY FORTH
THE VIBRANT PARISH LIFE INITIATIVE

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Parish/Group:______________________________________ Location:_______________________________

Number of persons who participated in formulating this response:________________________________

Person completing this form:___________________________________________

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Please share your suggestions for practical ways to undertake this initiative. What would help and support your parish as well as others - in communicating and further developing this vision, in doing a parish self-study and in forming a parish cluster relationship? What have we learned from past experiences? What can best help us to move forward with a true spirit of Acommunion@ B growing together in Christ as we work to support vibrant parish life for all of our people?

 

 

 

 





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Please share any additional thoughts from your review and discussion of Vibrant Parish Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      ________________________________________________________________________

Please return this form with additional pages as needed to the Vibrant Parish Life Task Force,
1027 Superior Avenue, Room 600, Cleveland OH 44114, by May 31, 2001.
FAX: 216-696-4513; Email:
vibrantparishlife@dioceseofcleveland.org