Pastors of Phase 1 collaborative parishes begin training

The 12 pastors of the parishes taking part in the first phase of the archdiocese's pastoral plan are pictured during their training at the archdiocese's Pastoral Center May 10. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

BRAINTREE -- To support the first phase of the Archdiocese of Boston's new pastoral plan, a vanguard of 12 pastors of collaborative parishes met in May to discuss the knowledge and to train in skills necessary to begin their new ministries in June as part of the new evangelization.

The Office of Pastoral Planning linked the mission of the new evangelization with practical development and leadership skills at a training session, May 7-10, for the 12 pastors. The training opened a larger program set to continue later in the month for first-phase collaborative parish pastors.

Father Paul Soper, director of the Office of Pastoral Planning, and Michael M. Lavigne, senior associate to the Episcopal Vicar for the New Evangelization, described the specifics of the sessions in an interview on May 9.

Father Soper said "Disciples in Mission: A Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese of Boston" called for training run in stages to help collaborative parishes establish themselves.

"This is the second stage of the training for phase one. The 12 pastors of the 12 phase one collaboratives are here for eight days, four days now and four days at the end of the month, in order to kick off that training," Father Soper said.

Sessions included talks and training on theology in practice of the new evangelization, Catholic leadership and topics related to ministry of collaborative parishes.

The training program presented the new pastors with a look at how collaborative parishes work by using information gathered at actual collaborative parishes as part of the plan.

"Day one was really a lot of foundational presentations. So, for example, we had a presentation on what is the new evangelization? What is our role? What are some practical ways of living it out in parishes?" Lavigne said.

He said discussion and training focused on moving forward in identifying needs to sustain ministry in collaborative parishes.

"They have a lot of information at their disposal and a lot of staff from the Pastoral Center dedicated to serving them, not just for this training, but beyond ... and really helping them to navigate the waters in this first phase of Disciples in Mission," Lavigne said.

Organizers said the training sessions included scenario simulations using true-to-life data specific to collaborative parishes in the archdiocese. As part of the training, pastors discussed the information related to collaborative parishes, to get a feel for the realities of their future ministry.

In a simulation, pastors divided into three working groups. Each group looked at one set of collaborative parishes to discuss and study the factors necessary for the parishes to become centers for the new evangelization. Pastoral planning trainers assigned pastors to collaborative parishes other than their upcoming assignments for the simulation.

During the simulation, pastors interacted with the Collaborative Support Team, a group instituted as part of the pastoral plan to funnel information and support from the archdiocese to collaborative parish pastors and their pastoral teams.

As the pastors developed familiarity with specific realities of collaborative parish ministry, members of the Collaborative Support Team developed familiarity with the pastors and how best to provide them with support.

"Those relationships are developing. It is as much training for the Collaborative Support Team in supporting the pastors as it is training for the pastors themselves," Father Soper said.

Father Soper said training in the next session will focus on the collaborative parishes where pastors are assigned, so they can prepare to address the needs of those parishes based on the foundation of knowledge built in the last session.

Father Paul Ritt, assigned to collaborative parishes in Lynnfield, talked about the value of the training for him as he prepares to serve Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Maria Goretti.

"Being with my brother priests, all of whom are going to be pastors in collaboratives, I have benefited from their insights, from the wisdom they have gained through the years in their own respective pastoring. We have shared ideas. We have had good leadership, good guidance from the Catholic Leadership Institute folks who are here," he said.

He said the most helpful segments of training were the simulations, and that he was impressed by the amount of information made available.

"We had loads of information given to us in huge binders. The staff here at the pastoral center has put together an incredible amount of information on the respective collaboratives, the parishes. They have given us great data. With the help of the data and the binders and the wisdom of the resource people here, we have been able to look at the needs, the demands, of these new collaboratives, the resources that we have, the issues that we are going to need to address fairly soon," Father Ritt said.

Father Bill Dickinson, vice-president of ministry development and episcopal services at the Catholic Leadership Institute based in Pennsylvania, said the vision asserted by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley in the pastoral plan and executed by the Office of Pastoral Planning at the training could be replicated for other dioceses on a national scale.

The national apostolate partnered with the archdiocese to facilitate the training as a consultant and support structure for the trainers, coordinators and pastors at the May training.

"My role here is to provide leadership training and support to these 12 pastors who will be pioneers in these first 12 collaboratives as the cardinal pursues the new evangelization here," Father Dickinson said.

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...