The Process

Advance Preparation

In our ongoing effort to learn from our experiences in earlier phases, one of the clearest things we have seen is the value of advance preparation. Putting time now into advance preparation in all of the Parishes of the Archdiocese is a good, solid investment.

Invite us! We have had meetings with Councils, Vicariates, open meetings of Parishes, Catechists, and Parish Staffs – we will come and speak with those groups or any others you may propose. We prefer to speak with Parishes grouped together in their eventual Collaboratives, but that is a preference, not a requirement. Our program can take many forms, and we can tailor it to specific groups, but in general we like to discuss any of the following topics:

  • A general introduction to Disciples in Mission
  • An explanation of the structure of the Collaboratives
  • The New Evangelization – What is it, and what does it mean for a Parish to be a center of the New Evangelization?
  • Local Pastoral Plans
  • What’s happening in current collaboratives
  • What are we learning as we go?

If you would like us to come out and meet with your Parishes/Councils/Staffs/Collaboratives/Vicariates, please contact Sister Pat Boyle.


There are two workshops that are offered as formation for Disciples in Mission: 

Both workshops are open to the public.  They are free to participants from within the Archdiocese of Boston and there is a fee for participants attending from outside the Archdiocese of Boston.

We strongly encourage clergy, councils, staff, local pastoral plan writing teams, school boards, key volunteers, and interested parishioners from collaboratives to attend these workshops, if possible in the order they are listed above.  We also recommend that you attend these workshops with other participants from your collaborative whenever possible.

Plan Writing and Implementation

One of the outcomes of the Disciples in Mission process is the creation of local pastoral plans for the Collaboratives. This work is entrusted to a Collaborative Writing Team in each Collaborative. All Writing teams are offered specific support for this task during the Plan Writing Stage.

Contact your Collaborative Support Team for more information about undertaking the plan writing process

The Collaborative Plan Writing Team
The collaborative plan-writing team, ideally, should include 10-12 people. Fewer than that is likely too small, while more than that will likely be too many to move forward at an appropriate pace. The plan-writing team should include the pastor.

The plan-writing team should include staff members, parish council members, finance council members, school board members (if applicable), and parishioners from each parish in the collaborative. Because plan-writing team members serve as representatives of these larger groups, each plan-writing team member should be in regular communication with the larger groups about the progress of the plan-writing process.

We strongly discourage an open-ended approach of choosing potential team members.

Staff members on the plan-writing team should solicit suggestions and information from the staff regarding the feasibility and implementation of plan priorities, goals, and strategies.

Finance council members on the plan-writing team should discuss the practicalities and budget ramifications of plan priorities, goals, and strategies with the finance councils.

School board members on the plan-writing team should work with the school(s) to determine their role in the collaborative pastoral plan.
Throughout the process, parishioners should see drafts of the pastoral plan and be able to understand and view how the priorities, goals, and strategies are constructed and how they will be implemented.

When selecting members on the Writing Team, consider these criteria:

  • Strategic thinkers who are agenda-free
  • Faithful disciples who are comfortable speaking of the faith
  • Valuable experience or perspective
  • Committed but not overcommitted
  • Highly engaged and newly engaged

Collaborative Plan Writing Meetings
The Archdiocese of Boston will support and train local facilitators to lead a series of plan writing meetings for collaboratives participating in the plan writing process.  In some circumstances it may be possible for archdiocesan staff to facilitate the plan writing meetings directly.  The overall schedule and format of these meetings is flexible according to the needs of each particular collaborative.  The most typical timeline for the plan writing process is roughly 12-14 months involving 6-12 meetings.  The plan writing team usually has work to do between meetings to gather information and consult with other parishioners.  Archdiocesan Collaborative Support Team members* are available as their schedules permit to check in with plan writing teams via phone, videoconference, e-mail, or occasional in-person participation in plan writing team meetings.

*​Each collaborative of parishes has a Collaborative Support Team.  This support team is made up of people with expertise across a variety of areas assigned to a particular collaborative by the Archdiocese. The Office of Pastoral Planning coordinates the implementation of the entire process of Disciples in Mission, which includes the workings of the collaborative support teams.

Reviewing and Revising Your Draft Local Pastoral Plan
The occasional submission of Local Pastoral Plan Drafts to the Office of Pastoral Planning and the Archdiocesan Collaborative Support team is a means of Archdiocesan support staff providing guidance to collaboratives and their writing teams based on their experience working with other collaboratives and also a method for Archdiocesan staff to understand a particular collaborative's goals and provide support to the collaborative in refining and achieving those goals as appropriate. 

A plan writing process usually involves at least 2 draft submissions.  

Submission of local pastoral plan drafts is  an opportunity for the Office of Pastoral Planning to check on progress to date, provide feedback to the Pastor and the Plan Writing Team, and offer appropriate support from the Office of Pastoral Planning, the Collaborative Support Team, and any other Archdiocesan offices as needed.

The Office of Pastoral Planning and Collaborative Support Team members are available to provide formal or informal feedback on local pastoral plan drafts at any time and facilitate discussions of those drafts as needed.

Plan Implementation
The Office of Pastoral Planning, the Collaborative Support Teams, and the rest of the Central Ministries of the Archdiocese are able to assist collaboratives in the implementation of their local pastoral plans