Families of Parishes Update, Fall 2021

Wins and challenges in the first few months after the launch of Wave 1 Families of Parishes

As we bid goodbye to summer and turn our thoughts to football, cider mills, and falling leaves, it’s a good opportunity to take a pause and reflect on our progress around Families of Parishes. Since we launched 26 Wave 1 Families on July 1st, we’ve had a number of wins, as well as our fair share of challenges.

As far as the wins go, we have completed 67 Family Gatherings across our Wave 1 Families, as well as five Commissioning Masses. There are close to 60 Directors in place or soon to be in place, and we’ve even got a few Family Pastoral Councils and Family Leadership Teams taking shape far ahead of schedule. Many of our Moderators and One Pastors have already begun meeting with combined staffs across the Family, and all but a few have submitted drafts of the Priests’ Family Covenants to the Regional Bishops for discussion.

This work is not easy, but most of our priests, deacons, and lay faithful have committed themselves to finding a way to make our move to Families a means for us to be a more missionary diocese. Many thanks to all of you who are moving this initiative forward!

There have been challenges as well. The move to Families drives a different perspective on how a priest carries out his ministry, and some priests are struggling with making the transition. There have been a few issues raised regarding civil law implications to In Solidum Families as well, and these concerns have needed to be addressed and put to rest.

Looking forward, we still have much to do in our Wave 1 Families, with perhaps the most important thing on the horizon being the development of the Family Missionary Strategic Plans. These plans are the means for making clear and visible to all in the Family what we need to do to Unleash the Gospel on a Family-by-Family basis.

We are also starting to significantly engage our Wave 2 Families with Parish Overviews and SWOT meetings where they are not already complete, and Wave 2 Moderator positions have been made know for priests to pray about and discern if they are called to be a Moderator.

With all of this activity going on, it is good to remind ourselves once again that our move to Families is not an end but rather a means to an end. Our ultimate goal in restructuring is to better position ourselves to be a more missionary archdiocese. Through the intercession of St. Anne and Blessed Solanus Casey, we pray that we will succeed in this, our mission!

Deacon Mike