This pastoral plan is the fruit of the long and prayerful discernment of our parish community. Its purposes are several:
- to articulate a coherent vision that will cause the whole parish to move forward in a unified and effective way;
- to inspire and guide the parishioners, especially those engaged in leadership positions, who are charged with devising and undertaking actions to further the mission of the parish and to fulfill this pastoral plan;
- to assure appropriate continuity in parish policies and practices; and to serve as an instrument by which the pastoral staff and the parish council can evaluate whether programs are consistent with the plan and can monitor the parish’s progress in carrying out its mission.
We, the people of Old St. Joseph’s Church, desire to be transformed through the action of the Spirit into a community united with Jesus Christ. With our Jesuit brothers, we are called to be companions of Jesus, sharing the mission the Father gave him. Just as Jesus attended to the will of his Father, we listen to the Word of God; we strive to understand the Word in our circumstances; and we share that Word with others wherever we encounter them.
Having heard the Word of God, and having understood it in the light of our circumstances, we are committed to these principles:
- We are united with the Church of Philadelphia, and, as a work sponsored by the Society of Jesus, we share the Society’s distinctive mission. Accordingly, we adopt the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola; we will follow the Society’s way of proceeding; and we will participate in the apostolic priorities of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.
- We hold the Eucharist as the source and summit of our parish life. Without Eucharist, we cannot exist as a Catholic community, for it is through our common celebration of Eucharist that the transformation we so ardently desire into the Body of Christ continues. Accordingly, our highest priority is that all of us participate fully, actively, and consciously in our celebration of Sunday Eucharist. We will plan and undertake our liturgical celebrations with the utmost care and reverence; we will see that liturgical ministers are well trained and that presiders are well prepared; and we will make sacred music a vital part of our worship.
- We desire with all our hearts to know Jesus more intimately, that we might grow in our relationship with him. Accordingly, we will encourage and support the continuing faith formation of all our members and of those who want to be incorporated into the Church. We will promote the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as the primary means of coming to know Jesus, growing in love of him, and freely choosing to join him on mission.
- We acknowledge and accept our baptismal responsibility to participate wholeheartedly in the life of the Church. We share with our bishop and our Jesuit pastor responsibility for the well-being of the parish community. Attentive to the Spirit and in concert with the pastor and the pastoral staff, we will articulate our mission, develop the programs necessary to accomplish it, and evaluate them for their fidelity to it. So that we can be effective Ignatian partners, we will develop and participate in programs designed to develop us as lay leaders and to form us in understanding and practicing Ignatian spirituality and the Jesuits’ traditional way of proceeding.
- We show our love for God by loving one another in an atmosphere that is caring, inclusive, and respectful of our differences. We recognize that our ministries of hospitality and parish life are crucial to forming our community and deepening our mutual affection. Like the Christian communities described in the Acts of the Apostles, we want to know and to meet the needs of all our members. In particular, we will look for ways to integrate fully newly registered parishioners; those who feel alienated from the Church; those who are registered but inactive; young adults; and members of minority groups.
- We recognize that we cannot love God without loving our sisters and brothers. We acknowledge and respect the dignity and worth of every person, and we hear clearly Jesus’ call to reach out to those in greatest need. Through our social justice and outreach programs, which we undertake without regard to race, religion, socioeconomic circumstances, or sexual orientation, we will show our solidarity with all men and women. In particular, we will care for those most in need, especially the hungry and the homeless, the sick and the lonely, and the disadvantaged children of our community, and we will advocate for social change on their behalf.
- We cherish our young people, the future of our Church. Accordingly, we commit ourselves to love, inspire, and protect them. The children of our parish look to us as models of faith in action. We will do all that we can to teach them the value of a life of prayer and service.
- Continuing in the tradition of the Society of Jesus, and acting on the Church’s desire to bring the Gospel to the culture in which we live, we will foster a lively intellectual life in our parish and will seek respectful, open dialogue with persons of different religious faiths for our mutual growth and benefit.
The parish’s standing committees are expected to devise and undertake effective steps to implement this plan. Accordingly, each standing committee will:
- at the beginning of each fiscal year, identify achievable objectives;
- design new programs or revise existing ones to achieve these objectives;
- prepare annual operating budgets in accord with the parish’s budgeting procedures so that all programs are adequately financed;
- supervise the execution of these programs;
- evaluate the effectiveness of these programs every year; and report periodically to the parish council about progress in achieving stated objectives.
For its part, the parish council will review committee objectives, programs, and budgets for consistency with the parish’s mission and its pastoral plan. Without infringing on the responsibility of the standing committees, the council will offer appropriate direction to them. At least every five years, the parish council will review the pastoral plan and amend it as necessary.
For more information about the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, including its mission and its ministries, go to: www.archdiocese-phl.org