Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton in Bermuda
Words from the Cross
A Lenten Mission
Saint Theresa’s Cathedral
March 4th, 5th,and 6th, 2013
PRESENTER: Rev. Jim Gibson, CR
Father Jim will lead us in understanding how Jesus taught us even from the cross. Jesus’ final words, then and now, provide us with a message of hope. These meditations will be held during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY
Presentations at 11AM concluding with the 12:10 Mass or
7:30 PM concluding with Benediction.
Monday: Meditation on first two words from the Cross
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."
Tuesday: Meditation on three words from the Cross
"Woman, behold your Son." "Behold, your mother."
"My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"
Wednesday: Meditation on the final two words
"It is finished"
"Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit."
Special session, March 7th at 7:00 PM in the Cathedral Hall
For young adults, youth ministers, catechists and senior high school students Focus: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned Me”? and “I thirst.”
In January, 2011 preparation began for our second Synod which was held on March 24, 2012 with a Mass of Thanksgiving and Celebration held on April 13, 2012. On March 24th the Synod Proposals were accepted as the diocesan plan for the next two years.
Report for the Synod 2012
The Diocese in Hamilton Bermuda began the strategic planning process in September 2010 with the overall objective to ensure and continue the spiritual growth of its Parishioners in Bermuda. The final plan will guide and provide direction for the Diocese for the next two years. We are building on the past and current successes, while looking to improve areas of challenge and also to introduce new programs towards a New Evangelization: Renewed in Christ, Renewed in His Church.
Successes since the last Plan:
· Formation of Youth Ministry
· Lectio Divina
· R.C.I.A. program
· Year of St. Paul
· Permanent Diaconate Program
· Year of the Priest
· Noon Day Mass
· Annual Diocesan Assembly
· Lenten Mission
· Stewardship Committees
· Peace & Social Justices events
· Women’s Retreat
· Vacation Bible School
· St. Vincent de Paul’s Loaves and Fishes program.
Process used to develop the Strategic Plan
The scope was to:
· Develop a strategic pastoral plan for 2012-2014 for review and approval at the Diocesan Synod in early 2012.
· Involve and gather input from the Councils, Ministries and appointed members of the diocese.
· Establish a method for the SWOT analysis and have this method and process distributed as required.
· Collate the data and publish a report on the findings.
· Establish a format to be used for the Synod Assembly.
The planning structure used for the formation of the plan was the format contain in the “Draft Proposal for the Development of a Strategic Pastoral Plan for approval at the Diocesan Synod of 2011”.
The Operating Principle was to seek input from the faithful of the Diocese for the Plan using the SWOT process and method where an assessment of the Diocese was done. A SWOT form and process was created to capture the input and a Steering Committee of six individuals, was formed to work on the formation of the Plan and have the results presented to the DPC. The focus was to get the Faithful of the Diocese to provide their input on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats regarding their own organization or Ministry and also the Diocese as a whole.
A Pilot was conducted using St. Theresa’s Parish Council. The Pilot was a success and the SWOT process was carried out throughout the Diocese.
Several meetings were held by each Ministry, Team and/or Office in the Diocese, with some people attending more than one meeting. The response was very good and submissions were received from all the sectors in the Diocese that were polled.
The input was reviewed by the Steering Committee members and analyzed.
Initial results determined that it was best to have each Parish review their particular Parish SWOTs and conduct their own individual Parish plans. This way, the DPC could focus on the Diocesan Plan and a review of the submissions began in earnest.
Statistics: 40 SWOTs were conducted and approximately the input from 150+ Parishioners was captured. The submissions were analyzed and consolidated and a template for recording the analysis output was created. The primary function was to gain details for the formation of the short (less than 2 years) and the long (more than 2 years) potential goals. Once the data captured was analyzed, it was then consolidated even further; summarized and streamlined into 12 tentative goals which were then presented to the DPC for their review and feedback. Upon further review, this list of “tentative goals” was further streamlined as noted on subsequent pages of this report.
SWOT Findings and Results
· Experienced and dedicated Bishop and Clergy
· Committed and active members, supportive volunteers
· Rich diversity of Parish members
· Good Catholic education: MSA, CCD program
· Financial stability
· Supportive Sisters of Charity
· Good outreach programs: Hospital visits, outreach, St. Vincent de Paul Society.
· Failure of many Catholics to become engaged in the mission of the Church
· Declining attendance; inactive/lapsed Catholics
· Parishioners are too busy; schedule conflicts; complacency
· Attendance at Church is a low priority for many Catholics
· Aging Clergy, Sisters, aging membership of active parishioners,
· Lack of vocations and Parochialism vs. Diocesan identity
· Young adults are not involved in Parish Life; Apathy; lack of youth involvement.
· Promote MSA and the benefits of a faith-based education
· Create more faith-based continual development programs and events
· Continue to build on the Youth Ministry
· Engage families (especially those in the 20-40 year group) to participate actively
· Promote Stewardship and use the positives of a diversity community
· Promote the use of technology as a tool to foster better communication
· Promote and institute more social, fun events to get Catholics together
· Identify and make better use of the talents and abilities of Parishioners; conduct a census on a regular basis
· Support the Permanent Diaconate, promote vocations.
· Aging priests and Religious; Aging population
· Need more vocations
· Negative publicity
· Materialism, Apathy of Catholic population to Catholic worship and values
· Shifted priorities of Catholic families
· Shortage of more adults who are willing to help
· Economic and financial downturn; less people due to many leaving the island.
Parishes and Church Ministries that participated:
Theme: The New Evangelization
The mission of the Church was clearly communicated to the disciples by the Risen Jesus:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching then to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20)
We believe that the Lord is with us and with the Church as it recognizes the growing need for a “New Evangelization.” In this spirit we will maintain the goal of our pastoral plan first stated in 2006, namely, “to assist Catholics to become more mature in their faith life and to make the parishes and the Diocesan Church more vibrant proclaimers of the Gospel.”
a. We will renew our efforts to reach out and to invite inactive Catholics and all who are interested to actively participate in the life of the Church.
b. Special efforts will be made to assist the faithful to grow in their understanding and appreciation of the Bible as the Word of God and the Sunday Liturgy as the source and summit of the Church’s life through programs of Bible Study and Lectio Divina and continuing catechesis on the Mass. The hiring of a Diocesan Director of Music will assist the parish communities to participate more fully, consciously and actively in the Sacred Liturgy by way of suggestions for appropriate liturgical music and training workshops for leaders of song, cantors and parish choirs.
c. Improved communication is needed within the Diocese by way of a more effective use of technology and electronic means of communication: Diocesan and Parish websites, greater use of emailed communiqués, a careful use of Face Book, and practical procedures for online parish collection offerings.
d. In order to help Pastors know their parishioners and facilitate communication, a uniform, computerized data base will be implemented throughout the Diocese (ParishSoft systems). A carefully prepared pastoral census of each parish will accompany this process.
e. With the assistance and guidance of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, all parishes need to develop a ministry to the poor and the needy as a form of practical evangelization.
1. Catholic Education
1.1 We will promote Mount Saint Agnes Academy as a major educational apostolate of the Catholic Church in Bermuda.
1.2 The faculty, staff, clergy and religious will work together with the students and their families to strengthen the faith life and academic achievements of MSA as a means of providing a secure future for the school.
1.3 The families who entrust their children to MSA have a right to expect that the students will be formed in their Catholic Faith, not only by word but also by the example of the lived faith of the faculty, staff and board members of MSA.
1.4 The Diocese will celebrate a Catholic Education week each year during which the Pastors will speak at all the parish Masses on the values of Catholic Education at all levels, including College education.
1.5 MSA will continue efforts at a more vigorous promotion of the school with open houses for the public, increased advertising, a monthly newsletter distributed in all the parishes and public relations initiatives to dispel the persistent misconceptions about MSA and the values of Catholic Education.
.6 The Diocesan Finance Council will be invited to review the feasibility of a Diocesan Fund to provide financial assistance for students of our parishes who want to attend Catholic Colleges, especially those who may be interested in a career of lay ministry in the Church.
2. Diocesan Office of Religious Education
The Diocesan program for Continuing Christian Development (CCD) provides catechetical instruction and family faith formation for all the children of the Diocese. CCD has developed over the years as a beneficial program; it is the largest single pastoral outreach ministry in the Diocese that is parish-based. The Diocese will strive to maintain this program and improve it where needed.
2.1 The Diocese will maintain the Office of Religious Education in its present form with a salaried, professionally qualified Director.
2.2 The Office will be supported financially through the subsidy that is asked of families for each child participating in the program and through a subsidy from the Diocese that is included in the Bishop’s Appeal.
2.3 The Office will develop new initiatives to assist the parents of pre-kindergarten through First Sacraments families to help them share the faith with their children. Parishes will be encouraged to provide a “Children’s Liturgy of the Word” at one of the Sunday Masses.
2.4 Encouragement and assistance will be given to the Confirmed to participate in the Youth Ministry program.
2.5 All catechists will be required to complete the Diocesan basic catechetical certification process and encouraged to continue their theological formation in the ministry of catechesis. A flexible catechesis training program will be provided.
2.6 The Office of religious Education will promote the “New Evangelization” by organizing adult faith formation events and opportunities to be offered in the parishes or on the Diocesan level with special out reach to the young adults of the Church.
3. Sisters of Charity Ministries
The Diocese supports and promotes the Sisters of Charity ministries and the Caritas House of Prayer. The Church in Bermuda values the witness of the consecrated life provided by the Sisters of Charity for over 120 years.
3.1 The Diocese looks to the Sisters of Charity to guide and promote prayer and pastoral efforts to awaken vocations to the religious life, diaconate and priesthood as well as Associate Membership in the Sisters of Charity in our local Church.
3.2 The Church will continue to rely on the Sisters to promote spiritual development in the Diocese by way of the programs offered at Caritas House of Prayer: Quiet Wednesdays, Bible Study, Retreats, and special prayer services.
3.3 The Church will continue to be enriched by the ministry of the Sisters in visiting the sick in the hospital and nursing homes as well as those confined to their own homes.
3.4 The presence of the Sisters will continue at MSA for substitute teaching and other forms of assistance and is deeply appreciated as it reinforces the Catholic identity of the school.
3.5 The Diocese will look to attract new Sisters and Associates and investigate the means to continue their work in the future. The Sisters will facilitate this in the Diocese by inviting others to join them in these ministries.
4. Diocesan Youth Ministry Office
The Diocesan Youth Ministry Office will continue to implement and sustain a Parish-based, comprehensive youth ministry based on the Church’s guiding document “Continuing the Vision,” produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
4.1 A Diocesan Youth Ministry Council made up of all the Parish Youth Ministry Coordinators will guide and promote the ministry.
4.2 The position of Facilitator of the Council will rotate among the Parish Youth Ministry Coordinators. It will be an unsalaried, volunteer position. However, a budget for the ministry will be provided by the Diocese.
4.3 The Rector of the Cathedral will accompany and assist the Diocesan Youth Ministry Council. It is expected that the Parish Youth Ministry will work in close collaboration with the Pastors of each parish.
5. Restructuring the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC)
5.1 In the interest of greater efficiency and a more precise focus, the Diocesan Pastoral Council will be restructured to serve as an advisory council to the Bishop for the purpose of Diocesan Pastoral Planning.
The Council will have four major areas of responsibility:
1) To advise the Bishop on matters that he brings to the Council.
2) To bring matters of pastoral concern to the Bishop for review and resolution.
3) To review and assess the implementation of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan
and make recommendations to the Bishop.
4) To serve as the steering committee for future Diocesan Synods and Synod
5.2 The membership will consist of the Chairpersons of the Parish Pastoral Councils and the Portuguese Pastoral Council or their elected deputies and the Vicar General of the Diocese or his elected deputy.
5.3 The Chairperson of the DPC will be elected by the members of the DPC and will serve for one year. The chairperson may be re-elected for one additional term.
5.4 The secretary of the DPC will be elected from among the members to serve for one year and may be re-elected for one additional term.
5.5 Meetings will be held four times a year on the second Saturday of October, January, March and June. In case of necessity, a meeting may be called by the Bishop.
6. Diocesan Office of Stewardship
The Diocesan Office of Stewardship has been established with a volunteer, unsalaried Director and Assistant Director appointed by the Bishop.
6.1 The purpose of the Stewardship Office is to promote stewardship of time, talent and treasure as a way of life and ministry in all the parishes of the Diocese.
6.2 The Office will establish stewardship teams in every parish of the Diocese, assisted by their parish councils.
6.3 The Office will also sponsor a “Stewardship Day” for the entire Diocese each year.
6.4 The Office will develop programs and initiatives to motivate and strengthen the faithful to engage in liturgical ministries, and to promote social activities that celebrate diversity in order to enhance the community life of the parish.
6.5 The Diocesan Office of Stewardship will work with a Committee composed of representatives from the Parish Stewardship Teams.
7. Peace and Social Justice
7.1 A Diocesan Office of Peace and Social Justice will be established in the Diocese to continue the work of the Peace and Social Justice Committee of the Diocesan Pastoral Council in promoting the Social Justice teachings of the Catholic Church.
7.2 Unsalaried volunteers appointed by the Bishop will serve as the Director and Assistant Director of the Office.
7.3 The Office of Peace and Social Justice will devote special attention to peace and social justice issues in Bermuda.
8. Life and Family Office
8.1 The Diocese will establish a Life and Family Office whose main purpose will be to provide opportunities for the faithful to learn of the teachings of the Church on the full range of Life and Family issues based upon the wisdom and experience of the faith.
8.2 The Office will organize a yearly conference with qualified speakers to address medical and moral issues of life, from conception to natural death since the human person is created in the image and likeness of God. Of all the basic human rights, the first and most foundational is the right to life, but there are many other life issues that will be addressed through this office on a regular basis.
8.3 The Office will be responsible to organize and direct the Marriage Preparation Program of the Diocese which will include accurate information on natural family planning. Because the family is the foundation and pillar of any society, the office will provide assistance to families in various ways including the development of parenting skills.
8.4 The Director of the Office will be appointed from among the priests of the Diocese by the Bishop with a mandate to work in close collaboration with the Parishes, Diocesan Offices and Mount Saint Agnes Academy.
9. Portuguese Community
9.1 The Diocese will continue to provide spiritual assistance to the Portuguese speaking members of the Church through the ministry of a bi-lingual priest who will serve both the Portuguese and English speaking communities.
10. Cultural and Ethnic Diversity
10.1 The Catholic Church in Bermuda will strive to develop greater sensitivity and outreach to groups in the parish communities marked by characteristics such as race, nationality and ethnic origin.