"Guided by the Spirit"
was the name given to the diocesan strategic planning process begun in 2005. This effort involved nearly a thousand people from throughout the diocese, including priests, parish staffs, and faithful from each parish. Guided by diocesan staff and contracted experts, the 133 diocesan parishes were organized into 41 regional “clusters” which met to discuss their own specific regional situations and analyze their particular gifts, challenges, and opportunities. Each cluster team then suggested ways the Church in that region might better utilize its human and temporal goods in pursuit of her mission, including suggestions about restructuring parishes and their administration. These suggestions were gathered by a diocesan commission (made up of priests and laity from around the diocese) and reviewed in light of the needs of the entire diocese. Recommendations were then made to the Bishop, who, after further consultation and dialog with all those involved, issued directives to each cluster and specifically to each parish, guiding their future pastoral activities, especially regarding their structure and organization.
The process of implementing the Bishop’s directives continues today via the second phase of the diocesan strategic planning process, titled, “Trusting in the Spirit.”