SEATTLE — Archbishop Paul D. Etienne launched the next phase of the Seattle Archdiocese’s pastoral planning with an invitation.
He asked all Catholics, parishes, schools and Catholic ministries “to begin prayerfully considering the ways we carry out the basic mission” of the Catholic Church. “Specifically, how do we bring Christ to others and lead others to Christ?” he said.
The pastoral planning effort began in 2019 with the creation of the office for Planning and Mission Effectiveness, led by Tim Hunt, executive director.
In 2020, Etienne appointed a new Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, which began listening sessions to gather insights from the faithful and help shape the pastoral planning effort. To date, nearly 10,000 Catholics have participated in more than 90 listening sessions and an online survey, according to an archdiocesan news release.
In the latest phase, announced on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, the ongoing pastoral planning process will now begin to take shape at the local parish, ministry and personal levels.
Titled “Knowing Jesus Christ, Embracing His Mission,” the pastoral plan will guide the archdiocese for several years, the release said.
The focus of the plan for Catholics is threefold: Encounter Jesus Christ and one another; accompany each other, as one human family, “on the journey of discipleship”; and live “the unconditional love and joy of the Gospel.”
“How the plan is enacted with each person, parish or ministry will be different, which is good,” Etienne said in a statement. “We want people to make these focus areas relevant for their communities and the needs of their people.”
The plan emphasizes four overall values: faith in action, hope in Resurrection, truth in love and unity in diversity.
“There are a number of signs that the providence of God is at work in the timing of this pastoral planning effort,” Seattle’s archbishop said. “We’re living in a time with a lot of social unrest and coming out of a global pandemic, so it’s the perfect opportunity for us to re-envision how we live our faith more concretely in our parishes, schools, Catholic Community Services, Catholic Housing Services, in our homes and families.”
More listening sessions led by the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council will begin again in the fall and will continue throughout the multiyear pastoral planning effort.
“I want to invite everyone to join us in praying that we can be the people of God, the body of Christ, the church in western Washington that God is calling us to be,” said Etienne. “Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to inspire us, to lead us, to guide us that we can live the faith, live in Christ, and bring Christ to the world.”
The Seattle Archdiocese overs 19 counties in western Washington and has a Catholic population of 863,000 about a total population of 5.5 million. There are 72 Catholic schools, 168 parishes, missions and pastoral centers in the archdiocese, with over 500 weekly Masses celebrated in eight languages.