In a May 24 letter to all archdiocesan priests, Msgr. Robert Deeley, vicar general and moderator of the curia, announced that the search for a new director of the Office of Pastoral Planning was commencing with the publication of a position description. Pastors received a copy of the position description and it was subsequently published on the archdiocese's website, BostonCatholic.org.
The archdiocese announced April 30 that Pastoral Planning Director Father David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., had accepted a teaching assignment in Rome and that Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley had appointed Father Paul R. Soper, pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish in Weymouth, as interim director of the Office of Pastoral Planning effective May 4.
In an April 30 email to archdiocesan employees, Msgr. Deeley wrote, "Father Soper has had a significant role in the development of the current proposal to strengthen parishes [as a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission]. He has provided insight, pastoral counsel, and leadership as this proposal has been formulated and reviewed through an extensive process of consultation across the archdiocese. We are blessed by his willingness to accept this position from the cardinal at this important moment in the whole pastoral planning process."
The archdiocese is encouraging applicants from various backgrounds and leadership experiences, including priests.
"This position will be critically important in coordinating the activities of pastoral planning on behalf of Cardinal Seán," said Father Bryan Parrish, assistant vicar for administration and special assistant to the vicar general and moderator of the curia. "Cardinal Seán and Msgr. Deeley are encouraging clergy, religious and lay leaders, with experience and interest in the essential work of pastoral planning for evangelization, to express interest."
According to the archdiocese, the principal objectives of the pastoral planning process are to strengthen the Church's ability to evangelize and hand on the faith in all areas of the archdiocese by a better structuring and allocation of the Church's personnel resources.
The position description states that "the ideal candidate would have a track-record of successful implementation of a major initiative across a large organization, experience with strategic planning and trend analysis, a thorough understanding of Catholic teaching and of the Archdiocese of Boston, a passion for evangelization and outreach, and strong communication and consultation skills."
Cardinal O'Malley will soon be appointing a five-person search committee and there is no published application deadline. However, Father Parrish encouraged applicants to express interest early and also said that he is grateful that the office has strong interim leadership.
"We have confidence in Father Paul Soper to continue the progress of the office until a full-time director is identified and hired. We thank Father Soper for his generous service in this role while he continues his ministry as pastor at St. Albert the Great Parish in Weymouth," he said.