PARISH ALIVE!

Watch the message from Archbishop Stephen Brislin on the Parish Alive Leadership Training taking place on Saturday, 19 November.

A NEW VISION FOR PARISH LEADERSHIP

This new vision encourages parish leadership to take a dynamic, missionary approach to embracing the Missionary Mandate given to us by Jesus himself. The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to Matthew’s Gospel 28:19-20 as the essence of this Mandate:

‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age.’



Pope Francis echoes this call to change and renewal:

…if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters. This presumes that it really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people, and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few.
Evangelii Gaudium # 28
In the following statement he paints a gloomy picture, one that we cannot deny, but also one that challenges and motivates us to take action.

We must admit, though, that the call to review and renew our parishes has not yet sufficed to bring them nearer to people, to make them environments of living communion and participation, and to make them completely mission-oriented. Evangelii Gaudium # 28

Realising that this call to renewal will require a new approach, it is suggested that each parish rethink the way they operate by incorporating five organisational elements:

  1. VISION: The parish needs a clear vision of how it intends to achieve the Missionary Mandate.
  2. STRUCTURE: The PPC needs an organisational structure which clearly sets out the main functions (portfolios) necessary to achieve its mandate.
  3. STRATEGY: Clear objectives and action plans need to be developed for each portfolio which move the parish towards its vision.
  4. CULTURE: A culture which supported the vision needs to be developed in the parish. A fundamental change in culture is essential to accomplishing the vision.
  5. LEADERSHIP: The PPC members, together with the parish priest, are encouraged to embrace a collaborative, visionary style of servant leadership as they lead the parishioners towards the vision.

These elements may seem to be more suited to a commercial entity than a faith-based one. The truth is that all groupings of people who share a common purpose need to incorporate aspects of these five organisational elements to grow and be sustainable. Our parishes are no different. If we ignore this truth and shun these ideas, we risk perpetuating our failure to heed the call for renewal as lamented by Pope Francis in his quote above.

Further to this and aligned with this thinking, the Pastoral Plan of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference lays out critical focus areas that should be reflected in the priorities of our parishes. Based on this the PPC statutes suggest seven areas of responsibility for parishes:

  1. EVANGELISATION
  2. FAITH FORMATION
  3. PARISH COMMUNITY BUILDING
  4. MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
  5. YOUTH
  6. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
  7. LITURGY

To enable parishes to carry out each of these portfolios, it is suggested that the PPC’s structure themselves around them. This means that the members of the PPC each be allocated a specific accountability for one of the seven portfolios. It is common practice in all organisations to identify key areas of work and to allocate clear accountabilities for these key areas to individuals. So, by doing this we are following a time-honoured organisational wisdom.

WELCOME TO PARISH ALIVE!

Parish Alive! is a new programme developed by the Centre for Pastoral Development (CPD) under the leadership of Fr Zane Godwin that encapsulates this vision. It will be implemented across the Archdiocese of Cape Town for all PPC leadership to assist parishes to embark on this journey of renewing our parishes and rebuilding our church.


PARISH ALIVE! was launched on November 19 with a half day training event and all PPC members, parish priests and Associations who were invited to attend and participate in this exciting event – the start of a new journey.

PARISH ALIVE! is designed to help all PPC members understand and fervently grasp the missionary mandate so that they can implement it in all parishes.


WHAT IS PARISH ALIVE!

LEADERSHIP TRAINING

The CPD has developed and tested an in-depth training programme which aims to assist parish leadership as they journey to achieve their Missionary Mandate.

Downloads

PARISH ALIVE Leadership Handbook: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

PPC Survey: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Strategy Session Agenda – for PPC: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Strategy Session Agenda – for PORTFOLIOS: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Strategy Document – blank form: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Strategy Document – example: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

ONGOING SUPPORT

The CPD is currently restructuring itself by setting up support teams which mirror the seven parish portfolios. This means that each parish portfolio will have a dedicated person or team in the Chancery which it can call on for assistance and support.

PARISH CULTURE SURVEY

A survey has been developed and tested with the aim of giving the parish leadership feedback from parishioners on how well they perceive the parish is doing in each of the seven portfolios. This information will prove invaluable to the portfolio coordinators in planning and prioritising the way forward.

SUMMARY

Can you imagine the impact our Church could have in the communities it serves if all 75 parishes in our Archdiocese rise to the occasion and really live out the Missionary Mandate?

Could we possibly answer the call by Pope Francis to review and renew our parishes and become completely mission-oriented?

We know we can accomplish this with the help of the Holy Spirit, and we look forward to bringing new life and vigour into our parishes and our church through Parish Alive! We look forward to journeying together as one united Catholic community in God.

Nick Bickell

Center for Pastoral Development

PPC LEADERSHIP TRAINING – 19 NOVEMBER

We had an amazing morning of training for all PPC’s on Saturday, 19 Nov held at the Bergvliet Junior School. It was attended by over 500 people from over 60 parishes in the Archdiocese of Cape Town. A huge thanks to everyone who came from far and near to be there as one united Catholic family ready to start on a new and exciting journey together.

FEEDBACK ON THE EVENT

Thanks to everyone for the time you took to give feedback on the event on Nov 19. You can read the report on the questionnaire BY CLICKING HERE >>>

OPENING ADDRESS BY ARCHBISHOP STEPHEN BRISLIN

You can read the opening address by the Archbishop by CLICKING HERE >>>

PHOTOGRAPHS

Some lovely photos were take of the day and capture the mood and ambiance of PPC members listening and discussing during workshops. There are also some great pictures of PPC groups and some of the fabulous crew that provided radical hospitality during the day. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOGRAPHS >>>

YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED

In the FEEDBACK QUESTIONNAIRE from the 19 Nov event, people were invited to submit questions. Thank you for taking time to write your questions. Click on the below link to open a document with all the questions submitted with answers.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS >>>

Some additional questions that people have asked are given below:

Question: What if I have questions and need support after the training
Answer: The Centre for Pastoral Development is establishing a support structure that mirrors the seven portfolios. So, for each of the seven portfolio areas there is a person or team in the Archdiocese who is responsible for providing support to the PPC members.

There is also a team in the Centre for Pastoral Development, The CPD Leadership Team, that is there to help with the whole implementation of PARISH ALIVE! For example, they will provide support to parishes that wish to run the Parish Survey.

Question: As I work through the PARISH ALIVE! HANDBOOK where do I go if I have questions.
Answer: As mentioned above, there is a team in the CPD (Centre for Pastoral Development) that is available to help by giving advice or facilitating further training or workshops as required in the PPC’s. Please contact this team and they will be happy to advise and assist.

This team will be arranging webinars on a regular basis around topics of interest to which all PPC members are invited. All PPC members are encouraged to participate and become active in these webinars. Not only will they help our work in the parishes but PPC members will form close bonds with other parishes.