Fr. Jim Fenstermaker, C.S.C., the pastor of Holy Cross Parish in South Easton, Mass., has sent us his second post for us in his series this year on parish ministry in the Congregation. His post reveals how the charism of Holy Cross impacted the vision of his parish in its new three-year pastoral plan.
This past weekend we celebrated the annual observance of our parish's patronal feast day, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.The actual date is September 14th, but since it falls during ordinary time in the church's liturgical calendar, the bishop has given us permission to celebrate it at our Sunday Masses. At each Mass we presented to the parishioners the three-year pastoral plan developed last year and approved by the pastoral council last June. We also enjoyed a coffee and donuts reception on the front lawn after all the Masses in celebration of our feast day.
We then spent the next several months guiding the parish community through a pastoral planning process that culminated in a three-year pastoral plan for the parish. This included one-to-one meetings between parishioners and pastoral council members, followed by a parish assembly. From this input the pastoral council, with the guidance of the pastoral team, developed a vision statement and two pastoral priorities that will guide the parish for the next three years. The primary responsibility of the pastoral council will be to oversee the ongoing progress of implementing the pastoral plan.
"To strengthen Holy Cross Parish as a true Eucharistic community" is the vision for our pastoral plan. It emerged from our pastoral planning deliberations as an overarching theme and primary focus. I could not think of a more appropriate vision for our parish than that of growing ever more fully as a community that celebrates the Eucharist as "the source and summit of the Christian life" of our parish.
The first pastoral priority by which we seek to fulfill this vision is to "effect the renewal, conversion, and spiritual growth of the parish." The second pastoral priority is to "evangelize as a means of outreach to both active and inactive parishioners."
As we continue to grow as a Eucharistic community of worship and service, we will likewise grow, in the vision of Blessed Moreau, as a community that makes God "known, loved, and served."