Pray. Learn. Prepare. Repeat.

During Phase 0, the time before our Families of Parishes are implemented on July 1, we have been encouraged to pray, learn, and prepare. Change is rarely easy, and the transitions we anticipate with the implementation of the Families of Parishes are no exception. We will look back at where our parishes have been and anticipate the newness of life and faith that is possible in the future; we may grieve as we let go of familiar routines and find hope in joining with others who share our Catholic faith. It is not only in Phase 0 that we should pray, learn, and prepare, however. Here are a few thoughts about how we might carry these crucial actions into our future:

Pray: Let us look for opportunities to pray together as we join with others in our new Families of Parishes. Of all the things that hold us together as Catholics, prayer is at the top of the list. Invite the Holy Spirit to be with us as we experience the traditions of the parishes in our Families; participate in Mass at each parish in the Family; celebrate one another’s patronal feast days; include prayer in meetings and at the beginning or end of festivals, dinners, picnics, and other social time.

Learn: As we implement our Families of Parishes, leaders will continue to learn through studying Journeying Together as well as guiding Church documents, especially those that expand our pastoral vision as we create pastoral plans to address the six principles of Beacons of Light. We will also learn about each other. We will learn what is or has been important to each parish in our Family. We’ll learn about the health of our pastoral practices, fiscal situation, and buildings and grounds. All of this learning will be foundational to the way we discern our future together.

Prepare: It is tempting to think that once July 1 is upon us, everything must happen immediately. We know that isn’t really possible, nor advisable. Preparation will continue to be necessary – we must take the time for prayer, conversation, and discernment in order to make decisions that will lead us toward more fully living as people of mission in our Families of Parishes.

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