Bishop Joseph Kopacz and his Envisioning Team will roll out the new Vision, Mission and Pastoral Priorities for the Diocese of Jackson at a series of community meetings throughout March and April of this year. All are invited, but members of pastoral and finance councils are especially encouraged to attend. The meetings are not parish-specific, so anyone can attend any meeting.
Sunday March 19 6 p.m. Jackson St. Dominic Annex
(on I-55 Frontage Road)
Monday March 20 6 p.m. McComb St. Alphonsus
Tuesday March 21 6 p.m. Vicksburg St. Paul
Thursday March 23 6 p.m. Greenwood Immaculate Heart of Mary
Sunday March 26 5 p.m. Southaven Christ the King
Monday March 27 6 p.m. Oxford St. John the Evangelist
Tuesday March 28 6 p.m. Cleveland Our Lady of Victories
Tuesday April 4 6 p.m. Meridian St. Patrick
Thursday April 6 6 p.m. Tupelo St. James
***CORRECTION: Last week’s listing had an additional meeting in Meridian. There is only one meeting in Meridian. We regret the error. ***
By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz and his Envisioning Team will roll out the Pastoral Priorities for the Diocese of Jackson in February 2017, a year after the bishop and members of his staff traveled the diocese to gather the information needed to write the plan.
“We have asked everyone to pray for the team as they worked on the plan, now we ask for prayers as we begin the process of education and implementation,” said Bishop Kopacz.
“I think the plan is a good one. It offers each parish, each community a chance to embrace the work of the church, but in their own cultural and unique ways. Advent is the perfect time for us to be planning this rollout. As we wait and hope for the Lord, we also pray for new life in the diocese.” he added.
In February of 2016 the bishop invited people from across the diocese to attend a series of listening sessions. Attendees spoke about what the diocese is doing well, what challenges the church faces and what dreams they have. Scribes recorded what people shared while written responses were collected and typed. A team of more than a dozen representatives from across the diocese began meeting to go through all the data collected and discern priorities and goals for the diocese.
A consultant from Catholic Leadership Institute led the team through the process of strategic planning, helping them focus on outcomes and results so the plan could strike a balance between being realistic and optimistic.
The resulting plan consists of a new mission statement, a vision and three priorities. The next step is to assign “smart” goals to each priority. “Smart” is an acronym used in corporate settings and means the goals are strategic, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound or timely. Each goal has to contain a way to measure rates of success and a timeline for when it should be reached. The plan leaves room for creativity as well as each parish, school and service center will approach the goals in their own way. Representatives from the diocese will report back on what the parishes are doing and Mississippi Catholic will share some of the success stories.
“We hope the parishes – and even individual people – will think about how they can work on each priority in their own lives and churches,” said Father Kevin Slattery, vicar general for the diocese.
The rollout will start with priests and lay eccelesial ministers. The bishop and his team will host a convocation during the first week of February to go through the plan with them and talk about ways to implement it.
Later in the month the bishop will go back out, hosting another set of public gatherings to provide a forum to present the plan to parish leadership and parishioners. The schedule will be similar, but not identical to the one used last year. Look for it in upcoming editions of Mississippi Catholic.
In addition to a printed version of the plan, the Department of Communications will build an online version with resources connected to each goal and priority. For example, the team is selecting a scripture verse for each goal. Reflections on these scriptures may help a small faith group or pastoral council explore how it fits in their parish community. The web version will also include a way to ask questions or share ways the plan is implemented in a particular community.
The plan looks ahead 3-5 years. Before the end of that time, a team will revisit the goals and priorities to set new ones or decide to maintain the ones in place.