The Spirit among us

On Monday, May 5, a group of 20 pastors will return to the Pastoral Center in Braintree for another week of training and preparation for the June 3 inauguration of 20 new collaboratives in Phase II of the archdiocesan pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission. A collaborative is made up of one, two, three or four parishes who share a pastor, a pastoral team, and a collaborative pastoral council. Each parish within the collaborative maintains its own identity, assets and obligations, buildings (including churches), and parish finance council. Phase II collaboratives include 43 parishes. Within their first 18 months, they will write and submit a Local Pastoral Plan that fits the unique needs and gifts of their specific collaborative. The collaborative structure presents a new leadership model, designed to make our parishes vibrant centers of evangelization: strong, stable, intentional and effective heralds of the Good News.

Disciples in Mission is still new and will be rolled out gradually, in seven phases, through 2019.

The 28 parishes in the 12 Phase I collaboratives will mark their one year anniversary on June 4. Over these next weeks the 20 Phase II pastors listed below and the parishioners in their collaboratives deserve special attention in prayer. In addition to preparing to work within this new model, many of the Phase II pastors are leaving behind communities and parishioners they have grown to love. Leaving can be as difficult as starting something new. Faith-filled Catholics are asked to pray for all of the communities who will be impacted by this change. The Easter season is a time of great faith and hope, abounding with evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit and attesting to Jesus' promise: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always," (Jn 14: 16)

The disciples on the road to Emmaus were uncertain and hesitant about what had taken place in Jerusalem the past few days. Jesus met them, interpreted the Scriptures for them, and ate with them. This beautiful passage from the Gospel of Luke ends with: "Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread."

Faithful Catholics in parishes where their beloved pastor is moving, and faithful Catholics in the parishes of Phase II collaboratives who prepare to welcome a new pastor, will continue to meet Jesus in the breaking of the bread. It is the task of parishioners in all parishes to pray for openness to the working of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, in our midst.

Pastors and parishes in Phase II:

Father James Mahoney -- Abington/Whitman: St. Bridget and Holy Ghost

Father Walter Woods -- Acton/Stow: St. Elizabeth and St. Isidore

Father Scott Euvrard -- Amesbury/Salisbury: Holy Family and Star of the Sea

Father Paul Clifford -- Braintree: St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare

Father Jason Makos -- Dorchester: St. Ann and St. Brendan

Father James Achadinha -- Gloucester/Rockport: Holy Family and Our Lady of Good Voyage

Father Christopher Hickey -- Hanover/Norwell: St. Mary and St. Helen

Father Ronald Coyne -- Hyde Park/Milton/Readville: Most Precious Blood, St. Pius X and St. Ann

Father Peter Quinn -- Littleton/Westford: St. Ann and St. Catherine

Father Nicholas Sannella -- Lowell: Immaculate Conception, Holy Trinity and St. Anthony

Father John Culloty -- Medfield/Norfolk: St. Edward and St. Jude

Father Edward Doughty -- Medford: St. Joseph and St. Francis

Father Michael Medas -- Middleton/Topsfield: St. Agnes and St. Rose of Lima

Father Michael MacEwen -- Natick: St. Linus and St. Patrick

Father Kevin Deeley -- North Andover: St. Michael

Father Louis Palmieri -- Quincy: Sacred Heart, St. Ann and St. Mary

Father Timothy Kelleher -- Saugus: Blessed Sacrament and St. Margaret

Father George Hines -- Walpole/Sharon: Blessed Sacrament, St. Mary and Our Lady of Sorrows

Father Joseph Mazzone -- Stoughton: Immaculate Conception and St. James

Father Phillip Earley -- Wilmington: St. Dorothy and St. Thomas.

Susan Abbott is Coordinator of Parish Outreach for the Archdiocese of Boston's Office of Pastoral Planning.