Dear Friends in Christ,
I recently participated in seven meetings across the archdiocese to kick-off our Journey of Faith pastoral planning process. I came away from these gatherings filled with hope for the future. I am grateful to the clergy and hundreds of parish leaders from each parish who participated.
At these meetings, we looked carefully at trends that shape our current reality – declining religious participation, population shifts and numbers of priests available to serve in parishes. We also grouped parishes in “families” which will work together going forward.
In these Families of Parishes, we will bring together the best we have to offer, for the good of the whole family. A collaborative approach among parishes, schools and ministries will ensure a stronger future for Catholic life. Priests will be better able to focus on pastoral ministry, in cooperation with brother priests, with shared staff and financial resources to contribute to better stewardship.
Families of Parishes now begin the challenging work of planning for necessary changes. While fear often comes with the prospect of change, we recall the promise of the risen Jesus to be with the Church. He is with us at this important moment.
As we work toward the November goal for submitting plans, I ask you to think of the abundance that Jesus surely wants us to experience as we more fully embrace the mission of living and spreading the gospel. Join me in praying for a holy imagination, to see what God sees for our flourishing.
Thank you for joining this Journey of Faith and for your prayers as we meet, work and plan during the coming months.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend George J. Lucas
Archbishop of Omaha