Two parishes in the City of Philadelphia will enter the
Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative this year.
Today, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the continuation of the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative that has been ongoing in the region.
Two parishes in the City of Philadelphia are preparing to take part in the process this year. They include Our Lady of Ransom and Resurrection of Our Lord. Both are located in Northeast Philadelphia.
Information regarding the Pastoral Planning Initiative was shared with the above listed parish communities through announcements at Masses during the weekend of January 14th and 15th.
Background on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Process
In the Fall of 2010, a pastoral letter was issued to parishioners throughout the Archdiocese. It outlined the necessity of an in-depth examination of all parishes in order to gauge whether they possessed the necessary resources to remain vibrant and sustainable faith communities. This process, known as Parish Area Pastoral Planning, is designed to be as collaborative and consultative as possible.
The pastor and three representatives from each parish taking part will comprise the local area pastoral planning committee. This committee will submit perceived positive and negative aspects of the partnership model and merger model for these parishes. The meetings of the committees will begin in the coming weeks.
The goal is to provide pastors, after consulting their lay parish leadership and parishioners, with the opportunity to dialogue with members of the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee in providing comments for parish growth and sustainability within their respective geographic areas.
During the process additional steps are taken to be as inclusive as possible. In the majority of cases, the regional bishop and dean meet with pastors as well as their pastoral and finance councils to hear their opinions, which are brought before the Archdiocesan Strategic Planning Committee, the Council of Priests and the College of Consultors for their observations and recommendations. Input and consultation from of all these groups is provided to the Archbishop, who makes the final decisions.
There are two potential outcomes. First, a parish could take part in a merger by which the two parishes are combined into one newly formed parish with all assets and debts being assumed by the new parish. The second model, a partnership, differs from merger in that the partnering parishes each remain open and retain parish status. However, one pastor, one Pastoral Council, and one staff serve the parishes in the partnership. Since each parish in the partnership remains an individual canonical entity, each of the partner parishes retains its own finances and Finance Council. The partnership model is presented to help the involved parishes realize efficiencies in operation, to pool resources for more effective evangelization, and to address the issue of decreasing priest personnel throughout the Archdiocese.
It is expected that the current round of Parish Area Pastoral Planning will conclude this spring with decisions taking effect July 1, 2017.
Editor’s Note: There are 217 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, comprised of 44 Pastoral Planning Areas (PPAs). For more information on the Parish Area Pastoral Planning, please visit https://archphila.org/features/parish-planning-initiatives/.