On the first weekend on Advent, Bishop O’Connell announced that all 107 parishes in the Diocese of Trenton will take part in a self-evaluation, visioning and planning initiative called “Faith in Our Future.”Each parish in the diocese has selected a Planning Core Team. The Core Team is made up of the pastor and four parish leaders.
The goals of the Faith in Our Future process promoted by Bishop O’Connell include:
1.Strengthen and enliven the parishes of the Diocese as well as Diocesan-sponsored organizations and ministries.
2.Explore new models of leadership in the parishes and ministries in institutional settings (schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, etc.) in order to address the challenges presented by the anticipated retirement of the large number of clergy and religious over the next ten years.
3.Improve our stewardship of personnel, finances, and facilities and other parish and Diocesan resources.
4.Establish collaborative relationships among the parishes and ministries of the diocese that will build upon the gospel to re-evangelize the local church, especially those who live on the fringes of the church, as well as those who do not yet know Christ.
5.Provide pastoral ministry to Hispanic Catholics, the fastest growing segment of out Diocesan population, within our parishes and organizations.
As our Core Team begins to organize itself, it will be keeping these goals in mind and alerting you to how we are doing in meeting the goals.
The Diocese of Trenton has been blessed with many parishes which have served millions of people for more than 130 years. Given changing demographics, the increasing needs of the parishioners, the anticipation of fewer priests to serve the diocese, and the strain on facilities and finances, we are called to better steward our resources so that we can truly and in the best way possible meet the needs of active Catholics and share our faith with those who are marginalized or who have not yet heard the Good News.
As we look to the future, new models for parishes are needed. Cohorts of parishes are being asked to consider models related to the best ways to serve the Catholics in the diocese. An overall principle of Faith in Our Future is that parishes are more effective if they work together in ministry areas. It is envisioned that every parish community will collaborate with other parish communities where appropriate and feasible.
While there are six models outlined, it should be noted that, in many cohorts, more than one model will be suggested by the cohort of parishes as they prepare their Suggestions that are due in June 2016. All suggestions will be reviewed by the Diocesan Planning Commission as they prepare Preliminary Recommendations by late June 2016. Each model will be outlined in future bulletins.
MODEL ONE: COLLABORATIVE PARISHES
MODEL TWO: LINKED PARISHES
MODEL THREE: MERGED PARISHES
MODEL FOUR: IN SOLIDUM TEAM
MODEL FIVE: PARISH LIFE DIRECTOR
MODEL SIX: PERSONAL PARISHES
Our Parish COHORT assignment: Saint Mary, Colts Neck; St Gabriel Parish, Marlboro; St Benedict Parish, Holmdel; St Catherine Parish, Holmdel
- Present through May 2016 - Core Team and Cohort Meetings
- June 1, 2016 - Cohorts make recommendations to Diocesan Planning Commission
- June 30, 2016 - Preliminary Recommendations from Diocesan Planning Commission to Cohorts and Parish
- July - September 2016 - Conversations at parish level about the Diocesan Planning Commission recommendations
- October 31, 2016 - Final model recommendations by Bishop O’Connell to each parish
- July 2017 - Implementation of one of six Models