Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

KLS update: joy continues to be made through 'Joy Made Complete'

by Brian Kraut, for the Inland Register

(From the July 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Parishes throughout the diocese embraced the challenge of the “Know, Love & Serve” (KLS) pastoral plan, for “the parish is where the Church lives. Parishes are communities of faith, of action and of hope. They are where the Gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth. Parishes are the home of the Christian Community; they are the heart of the Church.” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “Communities of Salt and Light: Reflections on the Social Mission of the Parish”). As parishioners let us celebrate our accomplishments with joy in Christ, and keep discerning the goals and needs for the future.

As the plan proceeds forward, let’s equate the effort to those who are in the midst of a house remodel. In their book Pathway to Renewal: Practical Steps for Parishes, Daniel P. Smith and Mary K. Sellon wrote: “If you’ve ever remodeled a house while attempting to live in it, you have a sense of the chaos and complexity of pastoral planning. It will take far longer, cost you more, and prove messier than you ever imagined at the start. The difficulty lies in the work itself. Pogo’s line holds true here: ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’ The parish seeking change must look beyond simply improving its programs and its building, though both may ultimately be changed…The work demands a great deal from a people and a pastor.”

The KLS pastoral plan has looked at several rooms of the house; leadership development (including vocations), faith formation, family ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, and community building. The ongoing remodel is yet to be fully realized in any one of these – through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit may the blueprints become clearer and all be renewed and ready to join the effort as Christ nudges. Christ, open the ears of your faithful to hear the call and give them the courage to act where needed.

An abundance of work has been accomplished. Parish Missions have made a great resurgence across the diocese, with enthusiastic response. Elements that contributed to their success include nationally-known presenters, quality hospitality, opportunities during the day as well as the evenings, collaboration between parishes, and scheduling the missions during Lent and Advent.

Vacation Bible School offerings continue to transform the lives of thousands in various forms, including the traditional parish-based day programs, multi-parish programs, ecumenical programs, and evening family programs.

Small Faith sharing communities have been started in many communities. St. Vincent DePaul Parish, in Connell, used a parish evangelization retreat to renew the faith of parishioners and serve as a starting point for their small faith sharing communities.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes and other parishes have enabled parishioner access to, an online service that hosts Catholic video programs, films, eBooks, and audio presentations.

“Intentional faith sharing” has also become a practice on many levels. Parish and school staffs, parish pastoral councils, and small groups are taking time to share personal faith stories with one another, thus growing community and faith and helping the church be a community of faith, of action, and of hope.

Parish communication is essential to fostering communities. Parishes have revised their web sites; some are utilizing services like Flocknote, allowing email and text messages to be sent to all subscribing parishioners, notifying them of events or providing snapshots of parish life.

Parishes have also hosted social events like picnics and outings to the ballpark to deepen connection among parishioners.

Efforts have increased for youth and young adults, with more retreats, conferences, social gatherings, and formation opportunities, and plans continue to offer more.

May everyone keep the vision and mission in mind to “Make Joy Complete.” Remember the words of Pope Francis: “The first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement. Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.”

Speak often of this joy, for our God is doing great things in our midst.

(Brian Kraut is Director of Parish Support Services for the Diocese of Spokane.)

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