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CURRENT ISSUE:  April 21, 2008
VOL. 46, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page story
 
Pope: U.S. should uphold traditional
role of religion in political, social life

 
New diocesan plan focuses
on renewal of pastoral life
 

A new pastoral plan for the Oakland Diocese, in development for nearly two years, is now complete and ready for implementation. It sets forth goals, objectives, and action steps that will guide parish and diocesan activities in five areas of pastoral life — sacramental renewal, faith formation and catechesis, pastoral leadership, youth and young adults, and stewardship.

Diocesan Vision
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, established the Church of Oakland as His sign and instrument of a Holy People, rich with diversity of spiritual and cultural gifts, and a New Creation in the East Bay.
 
Diocesan Mission
To know Christ better and make Him better known.
 
Focus on these areas will move the diocese “farther along the path of renewal charted for us by the Second Vatican Council,” said Bishop Allen Vigneron in a letter promulgating the plan, entitled “Our Call to Holiness.”

Diocesan and parochial staffs will be responsible for seeing that the plan moves forward in all parishes during the next five years. “In some cases, this will mean a refocusing of priorities,” Bishop Vigneron said.

Pastors, parish council members, parish staffs, parishioners and diocesan staffs worked with the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Presbyteral Council in formulating the plan, which builds on a diocesan strategic plan that has governed diocesan priorities for the past 13 years.

To initiate the revision process, the DPC and the Presbyteral Council invited each parish to send representatives to a series of meetings where they ranked 25 pastoral issues in order of importance. Sixty-five percent of parishes participated.

Additional ranking took place at seven regional meetings. As the narrowing process continued, the “same five priorities seemed to come up at every meeting,” said Janet Cooke, chair of the Diocesan Pastoral Council’s task force which crafted the plan.

  Goals for 2008-2013
• We renew and deepen the celebration of the sacraments in our diocese to stimulate the life of our parishes and revitalize our individual and collective faith.

• We provide formation that brings about in all Catholics such a joy and enthusiasm for their faith in Jesus Christ that they live it and freely share it with others.

• We develop and sustain effective and healthy pastoral leadership for clergy, lay ecclesial ministers and laity to build up and serve the Body of Christ in Oakland.

• We welcome, encourage, and engage young people in all aspects of Church life to empower tem to become disciples of Jesus Christ in today’s world.

• We become good stewards and live a lifetime journey of discipleship to grow in holiness.
Members of the DPC and Presbyteral Council met with Bishop Vigneron and his administrative council and consulted with parish and diocesan staff to delineate how those five priorities could be turned into concrete objectives and specific actions.

Among the action plans for 2008 are:

• A sacramental renewal program will be de
veloped for parishes throughout the diocese and a diocesan Eucharistic Congress will be planned.

• The diocesan Department of Evangelization and Catechesis will adapt the RCIA process as a model for all diocesan faith formation programs.

• The diocesan School Dept. will develop a catechetical certification for elementary and high school teachers.

• A mentoring program will link veteran priests with new priests, new pastors and priests coming to the diocese from outside the U.S.

• The diocese will form a Liturgical Commission that will provide liturgical and homiletic training for clergy and lay ministers.

• A Diocesan Youth Advisory Council will be formed. Among its tasks will be the identification of funding sources for parish youth ministry so that all parishes have access to professional youth ministers.

• A schedule of youth Masses in the diocese will be listed on the diocesan website.

• Each parish will appoint a social justice parish liaison who will communicate regularly with a newly formed Human Solidarity Commission.

• A diocesan Stewardship Commission will be formed.

• Each parish will strive to become a tithing parish to fulfill parish needs and social justice needs.
The new plan will be officially presented to diocesan clergy on May 6 and the full text will be available on the diocesan website (www.oakdiocese.org) in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Plan summaries will be available in several languages. DPC members will present the plan to parishes during the next few months.

Implementation of the plan will be monitored regularly by an advisory committee made up of diocesan staff and parish representatives. They are: Janet Cooke, chair, St. Joan of Arc Parish, San Ramon; Salesian Father George Alengadan, diocesan director of the office of priests and deacon formation; Deacon Bill Archer, St. Michael Parish, Livermore; Keith Borchers, diocesan director of the department of evangelization and catechesis; Mary Fair, St. Charles Parish, Livermore; Debra Gunn, diocesan stewardship coordinator; Hector Medina, diocesan director of Hispanic ministry; Markus Mullarkey, St. Ambrose Parish, Berkeley; Carol Potter, diocesan director of pastoral planning.

Chuck Siebenand, the former director of pastoral planning for the diocese, spearheaded much of the planning process prior to his retirement last year.

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