Informal Evaluation of the Area Pastoral Plan
“It is in the local churches that the specific features of a detailed pastoral plan can be identified—goals and methods,formation and enrichment of the people involved, the search for the necessary resources— which will enable the proclamation of Christ to reach people, mold communities, and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture.
I therefore earnestly exhort the Pastors of the particular Churches, with the help of all sectors of God’s People, confidently to plan the stages of the journey ahead, harmonizing the choices of each diocesan community with those of neighboring Churches and of the universal Church.”
Apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II (January 2001)
The Call to Conversion and Holiness prompts a response to God’s movement in the lives of His disciples. It calls for a deeper relationship with God and the on-going change of heart that this requires. Parishes as well as individuals need to respond to the ongoing call to conversion and holiness. It is necessary for a parish, through its Parish Pastoral Council, to reflect on how its mission guides its activities and directs the use of its resources. Pastoral planning facilitates this reflective process.
The assessment of the Parish Pastoral Plan is the work of the Parish Pastoral Council. Through the annual assessment of the Parish Pastoral Plan, and the periodic in depth evaluation of parish life, staffing, facilities, demographics, and financial stability the Council can learn what has been accomplished, determine what still needs to happen and the effect that the pastoral plan has had on the parish.
Area Pastoral Plans are rooted in the plans of individual parishes. Information and insights that the parish receives through ongoing parish planning are used to develop and revise the Area Pastoral Plan, a tool for helping parishes cooperate together to be more effective in their ministry, service and programs.
After an area pastoral plan has been developed and actions taken to accomplish it have been undertaken, individual Parish Pastoral Councils and each Pastoral Planning Area Implementation Committee is asked by the Regional Vicar to conduct an informal evaluation of the Area Pastoral Plan. The Parish Pastoral Councils are asked to consider the following four questions as an addendum to the review of the Parish Pastoral Plans:
- Your Parish Pastoral Council has had some period of time to review the progress on implementation of your Parish Pastoral Plan. Are there any ways that the Pastoral Planning Areas can now help your parish, that may not have been noticed when the parish plan was first done? (especially if the parish grouping (planning area) has changed substantially since that time)
- Through the parish plan assessment process, have you discovered any new strength or resource within your parish that would be of service to other parishes in your Pastoral Planning Area?
- If the Area Pastoral Plan has not helped your parish, why has it not? If it has helped you, how?
- In light of the need for regular assessment of the Area Pastoral Plan, does your Pastoral Planning Area have an Implementation Committee? Has there been effective communication with the members of your Parish Pastoral Council from this group? Does your parish have a representative on the implementation committee?
Informal Evaluation by the Pastoral Planning Area Implementation Committee
When the Pastoral Planning Area Implementation Committee initiates an evaluation of the Area Pastoral Plan. They will consider the following:
- What action(s) has (have) been taken to carry out the Area Pastoral Plan?
- What action(s) still need(s) to be taken to meet the goal(s) of the Area Pastoral Plan?
- To what degree has the vision of the Area Pastoral Plan been implemented?
- To what extent has parish life, staffing, facilities, demographics, and financial stability changed since the last area plan was developed.
- Have any new needs been discovered or new actions taken since the plan was first developed?
- What obstacles, if any, have stood in the way of the implementation of the Area Pastoral Plan?
As part of this evaluation, the Pastoral Planning Area Implementation Committee in consultation with the Pastoral Councils of the parishes in the Pastoral Planning Area will determine the current status of the Area Pastoral Plan.