State of the Parish — June 2016

You can download the audio from the “State of the Parish” talk here.


7 Year Gospel Vision for the Church of St. Peter’s: the first 4 to 5 years will be about strengthening foundations–the most important being our relationship with Jesus, with the Father, with the Holy Spirit.


Year 1 – Jubilee Year of Mercy: The Church came into being through the experience of God’s mercy—the Church is made up of sinners who know the mercy of God.  All renewal in the history of God’s people to the present always begins with a new surrender to God’s mercy, preceded by the humble awareness of sin and the sincere desire to repent.  The Year will divided into two parts:

  • Receiving God’s Mercy – various topics related to our experience of sin and mercy within our relationship with God and with one another (all looked at through the lens of love within relationship): Sin & Conscience; Sin & Guilt; Contrition; what is Mercy; Sacrament of Reconciliation; What is Penance; Sin’s against the love of God; Sins against the love of Neighbor . . .
  • Sharing God’s Mercy / “Be merciful, as (our) heavenly Father is merciful”How we show God mercy by: corporeal works of mercy; spiritual works of mercy.


Year 2 & 3 Growing more deeply together as intentional disciples of Jesus Christ

  • This focus will be present and ongoing throughout the 7 year vision–the “Alpha Course” will be one of the primary evangelization tools we’ll use to help create a culture of encounter with Jesus, growing as his disciples and learning how to live by his gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • This is in response to Pope Francis’s call to all of us, which he makes in the pastoral letter “The Joy of the Gospel”: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.”
  • No matter where we may be on the journey of faith with Jesus, it is always God’s desire to draw us closer, to take us deeper in love, deeper in faith. We will make use of various dynamic movements of grace within the Church to help us set out together into deeper water.  Anything we can do to strengthen our relationship with Jesus, to give Jesus a great place in our life can only bear good fruit, and lots of it.
  • Jesus, together with the Holy Spirit, will always be our way forward, the source of all renewal, the health and strength of every parish.


Year 4The Mass & the Eucharist

  • Jesus has placed the Mass (the Lord’s Supper) at the center of our Catholic Christian life, and yet, in the average parish in America only 1/3 of Catholics regularly attend Mass. Among those who do attend Mass, there are some who do not see the relevance of what we celebrate on Sunday with the rest of life—there is a serious disconnect.
  • The celebration of the Eucharist is meant to be the center point of the week, where we bring everything in our lives into the paschal mystery of Jesus, his death and resurrection, and by our communion with Jesus in the gift of his body and blood, we bring the powerful grace of his death and resurrection back into our daily lives so we can live as his true disciples.
  • We will speak about the Mass, not from a doctrinal point of view (though this will be implied), but through the lens of love, from a relational point of view: how is God loving me, relating to me in each part of the Mass? And how do I respond?  How do I live out the mystery of the Mass in my daily life?


Year 5 – 6 Marriage, Family Life, & other relationships

  • The place where we live out our relationship with Jesus as his disciples is within Marriage, Family Life, friendship and other relationships. Jesus comes to redeem and heal all that has been wounded and broken by sin.  Without Jesus, our fallen human nature can introduced so much hurt, division and misery into the various relational spheres of our life.
  • The approach we will take will address this brokenness and how the power and mercy of God is constantly working to heal and save us.


Year 7 and beyond Evangelization and greater Outreach

  • The natural fruit of a stronger, deeper relationship with Christ, and the strengthening of the foundation of faith in everyday life, is a desire to share this good news and to live more generously for others.
  • Though this will spring up and happen naturally throughout our 7 year vision, during this year we will focus on developing the sense of the universal call to mission, developing the “lay apostolate,” discerning the gifts and talents given for service in the Church and for the mission field of the world.
  • Evangelization for most people will not be going door to door–but “relational evangelization,” learning how to share the good news with people we already know at home, at work, around the neighborhood.

Leave a Reply