January 10, 2013 - Phase One Parish Collaboratives Announced*

Braintree, MA (January 10, 2013) – The Archdiocese of Boston announced today the 12 Phase One parish collaboratives as part of the official launch of Disciples in Mission – A Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese of Boston.  Last November (2012), Cardinal Seán O’Malley announced his formal acceptance of the plan.  The full implementation of the pastoral plan will take place over the next five years.

Cardinal Seán said, “Disciples in Mission is the result of the work of a community of faithful people who love the Church.   During this first phase, we pledge our full support to the dedicated priests, parish staffs, parishioners and lay volunteers who will lead the way for our efforts to fully embrace the New Evangelization.”

Fr. Paul Soper, Director of Pastoral Planning, said, “These 12 collaboratives, comprising 28 parishes, have taken a leap of faith with us, following hundreds of hours of consultation, discussion, research, reflection and prayer.  The road ahead is exciting and filled with the Spirit’s promise, alive in each and every parish.  We will meet our goals because of the work of our priests, parish staffs, parishioners and volunteers, who care deeply about parish life and the discipleship we are called to by Christ.”    

Phase One will comprise 12 collaboratives, consisting of 28 Parishes.

1. Saint Luke and Saint Joseph, Belmont
2. Saint Mary, Saint Margaret, Saint John, Beverly
3. Saint Mary, Saint Theresa, Saint Andrew, Billerica
4. Saint Mary, Brookline (a one parish collaborative)
5. Saint Mary of the Angels, Roxbury and Saint Thomas and Our Lady of Lourdes, Jamaica Plain
6. Saint Mary and Sacred Heart, Lynn
7. Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Maria Goretti, Lynnfield
8. Saint Lucy and Saint Monica, Methuen
9. Sacred Heart, Middleboro and Saints Martha and Mary, Lakeville
10. Sacred Heart and Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton
11. Saint James, Saint John, Immaculate Conception, and Saint Anne, Salem
12. Saint Jerome and Immaculate Conception, Weymouth

Detailed information about each collaborative, including 23 year histories of Mass counts and Sacramental statistics, maps, links to Parish websites, and in-depth three year financial reports on the Parishes of each collaborative, are available at http://www.disciplesinmission.com.

Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Vicar General and Moderator of Curia, said, “We have confidence that Disciples in Mission will be successful because it is the fruit of a collaborative effort with clearly defined goals and objectives.  Fr. Paul Soper, Msgr. William Fay, Deacon Chuck Clough and their colleagues on the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission (APPC), have developed a pastoral plan based on several years of consultation and analysis.  I am particularly grateful that we have received support across the Archdiocese from our pastors and parishioners. They have embraced this opportunity to be leaders in the faith during the implementation phase.”   

Disciples in Mission

The Pastoral Plan groups the parishes of the Archdiocese into approximately 135 collaboratives.  Each parish maintains its own identity within the assigned collaborative. Each parish retains its canonical rights its buildings, its financial assets and obligations. The collaborative will have one Pastor who will work with one Pastoral Team, one Parish Pastoral Council and one Parish Finance Council.  Together they will develop a pastoral plan for their local collaborative, focused on serving the needs of the parishes in their particular collaborative and advancing the mission of the New Evangelization.  The formation of the parish collaboratives will be phased in, with appropriate flexibility, over a period of five years.  Pastors, pastoral teams, and councils of each parish collaborative will participate in extensive theological and practical training for the New Evangelization.

Fr. Soper added, “Phase One is our learning phase for Disciples in Mission.  These Phase One collaboratives are a cross section of the Archdiocese, geographically distributed, representing collaboratives of a variety of sizes, financial situations, ethnic realities, and pastoral needs.  They include rural, suburban, and urban Parishes.”  In order to keep the work transparent and open, Fr. Soper noted that a regular stream of information will be posted on http://www.disciplesinmission.com, so that people can review it and share their experiences.

Here are some dates for Phase One:

1. January 10, 2013:  The 12 Phase One Collaboratives are announced.
2. March, 2013:  The Pastors are named.
3. May and June, 2013:  The Pastors are trained.
4. July 1, 2013:  The Collaboratives are formally inaugurated.
5. September, 2013:  The Pastoral Teams, Parish Councils, Parish Finance Councils, and School Boards begin their training.
6. October, 2013 – January, 2014:  The Pastoral Teams are trained in their own sites
7. January, 2014:  The Local Pastoral Plan Development Team is trained, and begins their work
8. December, 2014:  The Local Pastoral Plan Development Team completes their work, presents it to Cardinal Seán.
9. January, 2015:  The Collaborative begins to work, and to evaluate their work, under the structure of the Local Pastoral Plan.

The New Evangelization

At the very core of the vision of Disciples in Mission is the New Evangelization. A primary goal of the Pastoral Plan is to support parishes in becoming centers for the New Evangelization.  Pope Benedict XVI, in an Ad Limina Address to the Bishops of Western France, reminds the Church of the ultimate goal of such work:
“Solving pastoral problems that present themselves in your dioceses must never limit itself to organizational questions, however important these may be. This approach risks placing an emphasis on seeking efficiency through a sort of ‘bureaucratization of pastoral care,’ focused on structures, organizations, and programs, ones which can become ‘self-referential,’ at the exclusive use of the members of those structures. These would have scarce impact on the life of Christians who are distanced from regular practice of the faith. Instead, evangelization requires starting from the encounter with the Lord, within a dialogue rooted in prayer, which then concentrates on the witness of giving itself toward the end of helping the people of our time to recognize and discover anew the signs of the presence of God.” (21 September 2012)

A significant portion of the training that will be offered to the collaboratives will be for advancing the New Evangelization.  Pastoral teams will be encouraged and supported in preparing for their work through the lens of the New Evangelization – “new in ardor, methods and expression,” as Blessed John Paul II called for throughout his papacy.

Bishop Arthur Kennedy, Episcopal Vicar for the New Evangelization, said, “The Cardinal’s intention that parishes become centers for the New Evangelization is about to move forward with the designation of the initial collaboratives.  Our office is looking forward to working with the pastors, councils and teams of these parishes to assist them in the work of helping others to encounter the Person of Jesus Christ.”

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 288 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 42,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit  www.BostonCatholic.org.