Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Parishes progress with Know, Love and Serve pastoral planning process

the Inland Register

(From the December 19, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

The organizing committee for the diocese’s Know, Love & Serve (KLS) pastoral planning process has provided an update to pastors and parish delegates. “Everything seems to be on track, thanks to your fine spirit of cooperation,” wrote Father Patrick Kerst, the committee’s chairman and pastor of St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley, and St. Joseph Parish, Rockford.

A report from each of the parishes in the diocese was due Nov. 20. That report was to outline how the parish (or cluster of parishes) would be implementing the KLS pastoral planning process. Nearly all the parishes had submitted reports by the deadline.

The parish reports show that the most popular method-of-choice for engaging the KLS process is to conduct parish-wide surveys and/or conduct town-hall types of meetings with parishioners. In most parishes, the major elements of the KLS process will unfold during January and February of the New Year. A summary report is due to the organizing committee by March 1, 2014. In mid-April a yet-to-be-selected group of some 50 participants will engage in a Leadership Summit, whose charge is to provide Bishop Cupich with a slate of recommended goals. The bishop will use the input of the Leadership Summit to write a pastoral plan which will be implemented by the entire diocese over the following five years.

Several reports were accompanied by brief comments or updates of their own. One parish delegate wrote, “With each step of the process I am getting more excited for our community’s growth. I believe the other committee members are as well.”

Another delegate wrote, “To our pleasant surprise we have discovered a hidden eagerness to help move our parish and our diocese forward. Know, Love & Serve is just the process we’ve been looking for.”

Getting as many parishioners as possible involved in the planning process is as important as the final written plan. Father Kerst’s update observes that “Pope Francis has been calling the Church to be more people-centered. His words of encouragement come at an opportune time as our diocese engages in this effort. The Know, Love & Serve process gives the People of God a welcome opportunity to have their voices heard.”

Recognizing the fact that the KLS process cannot solve all the challenges which confront the diocese or universal Church, Father Kerst advised pastors and parish delegates to acknowledge whatever issues are raised, but to not allow such things to set the process off focus.

“By design, KLS (using Appreciative Inquiry) focuses on the positive – Strengths and Dreams,” he wrote. Speaking from that strength, he encouraged parish to acknowledge forthrightly those challenges which lie outside or beyond the capability of the KLS process, but to refer them in an appropriate manner to the proper authorities.

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