Here's the letter. A few clarifications on my rant below are in order now that I see it in print; however, the substance remains the same.
Dear Fellow Catholics,
I am writing to inform you of a new initiative in the Wyandotte County Pastoral Region, the development of a regional pastoral plan to assist in the ensuring and promoting the on-going life of the Church within this portion of the Archdiocese. The Wyandotte County Pastoral Region has a wonderful tradition of Catholic life and ministry dating back to the 1850s. Many changes have occurred over the years in response to the pastoral needs of the Catholic community and the challenges and opportunities of proclaiming and living the Gospel of Jesus. As a Church, we have never been complacent with the status quo. We are challenged to continually improve our parish life and ministries to better carry on the life and the mission of Jesus in the light of today's realities.
The purpose of the pastoral planning is to assist in the furthering of the mission of Christ and the Church through a process of good planning in light of present conditions and future possibilities. Our goal, is not change for the sake of change, but rather change for the sake of better living and sharing our Catholic faith through strong and vital parish communities, quality Catholic education and the practice of good stewardship of our resources including our priests, parish, employees and volunteers, our parish material and financial blessings.
Good pastoral planning needs to involve the ideas and suggestions of us all so please become engaged in the process at the general parish meetings. Planning must be grounded in facts about demographics and trends in the parish life and rooted in a clear understanding of what constitutes a vital, alive parish today. It requires the collective wisdom of a community that honors the past, but looks to the future with awareness that we have the responsibility to respond to the pastoral needs today just as our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did in years gone by.
How do we as a Catholic community build on our strengths and ensure that our ministries and programs most effectively carry out our Catholic mission in contemporary society? How do we respond to change? How should we use our financial and human resources to accomplish our God given mission?
I have asked your parish priests to form a group of lay representatives who, together with the priests, will study and discern the current life and ministry of the church within the Wyandotte County Region and make recommendations on how to affirm all that is of value, to strengthen the vitality of parish life and ministries and to exercise the best stewardship of our blessings and resources. With the assistance of Alan Meitler, a professional planning consultant, the process will include local listening sessions involving as many parishioners as possible to reflect on the facts and provide suggestions to the Planning Task Force. Ultimately, the recommendations of the Task Force will be presented to me for review and approval. My hope is that this will be completed during calendar 2006.
I ask that you prayerfully remember this effort in the upcoming months and that you participate in this important process of planning for a bright future for the life of the Church for years to come. May we all work together for the future of our Catholic life and our mission of living and spreading God's Kingdom in our world today and tomorrow.
Sincerely yours in Jesus, the Lord of Life,
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann