By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
At an annual diocesan Administration Day Sept. 20, Bishop Mark Hagemoen unveiled a Pastoral Plan for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon focused on the mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ.
“Evangelization must permeate everything we do — everything we do proclaims Christ and God’s Kingdom,” said Bishop Hagemoen, announcing the promulgation and rolling out of the new Pastoral Plan.
The bishop challenged Pastors, Parish Life Directors, ministry leaders and parish representatives from across the diocese of Saskatoon to use the proposed three-year plan as a way to reflect upon strengths, gaps, and new directions.
The mission statement “Proclaim Christ and God’s Kingdom Today” is identified in the Pastoral Plan, along with six priorities — beginning first and foremost with: “Draw People into a Deepening Intimacy with the Lord.”
“Whether it is a parish of five families, or 15,000, the task and the mission of Christ is fundamentally the same,” he said. “Ultimately, everything must involve the call to evangelization.”
Greg Chatlain, Director of Education for Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, was one of the facilitators for the eight-month planning process undertaken by the Diocesan Pastoral Council (which includes representatives from parishes of all sizes from across the diocese, as well as pastors, religious, and other leaders).
“What you are seeing today is the result of many hours of wrestling and discussion, and of challenging each other to come up with those things that we all need to work on together,” Chatlain said at the Administration Day launch.
Reason for developing a Pastoral Plan
Bishop Hagemoen described why the first task that he gave to the newly-formed Diocesan Pastoral Council was to discern the needs and challenges facing the Church, and to produce a Pastoral Plan for the diocese and its parishes.
“As I travelled the diocese I was hearing different expressions from the parishes that we have in the diocese of Saskatoon — dreams, hopes, concerns — as you can probably guess, some of the concerns especially in the rural area were around issues of viability,” explained the bishop.
“At the same time, Saskatoon has had the highest growth rate of any city in Canada, which has an impact on our parishes and communities, so there is need for planning for growth.”
In both cases, one cannot just plan for improving viability or for growth, without a vision, goals and priorities, he said. “Especially in the Church, especially in ministry, if it doesn’t come from the mission of Christ and the Church, then all we would be doing is enlarging our maintenance.”
Bishop Hagemoen cited the insight he heard from a Parish Pastoral Council chair at a small rural parish: “Bishop Mark, we love our church, we put a lot of work into our church and we will continue to do that, but we are exceedingly concerned that we are putting 95 per cent of our effort into maintaining our building and very little into the mission,. We know that if we keep doing that, we won’t last, we will die… we want to, and we need to, engage in mission.”
The six priorities/ goals
Click on each goal for more detail
- Draw People into a Deepening Intimacy with the Lord! – Supporting a deepening friendship and intimacy with Jesus Christ
- Make Every Sunday Matter – Focusing on our Sunday celebrations
- “Embrace Your Priesthood” – Discerning God’s call to each person to share in the mission and life of the Lord
- Build and Support Family and Community – Strengthening and supporting families and marriages, vocations support
- Promote the Healing Journey in the Lord – Healing, growth, serving, ongoing conversion
- Move from Maintenance to Mission. – Helping parishes proclaim Christ in everything
“We are only beginning — the coming months will see the rolling out of this,” Bishop Hagemoen said of the Pastoral Plan. “This is not meant to be a quick fix or a quick experience, check off a couple of things — that is not what it is meant to be.”
He added that he takes his responsibility as bishop seriously, and that he sees the plan as a way to move forward and deepen engagement with the mission of proclaiming Christ and the Kingdom of God, “I am building on the faith life of a great diocese,” he said.
At the diocesan level, the Pastoral Plan will assist in moving forward in ministries and programs to assist parishes and provide resources. As next steps for parishes, the bishop proposed the following:
- Personally and prayerfully review and consider the Pastoral Plan, the mission and goals
- Review and discussion at parish level
- Review by parish and finance councils; parish ministry people; general parishioners
- Possible discussion at deanery level
- Determine parish priorities/tasks given strengths and gaps
- Seek supports and resources
Working poster outlining the Pastoral Plan’s mission and goals: PDF of poster