Courageously Living the Gospel, Saint Joseph Parish Pastoral Priorities

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The Pastoral Plan for The Parish of St Joseph St Petersburg

My Dear Sisters and Brothers in The Divine Word,

The Parish of St Joseph in St Petersburg is fundamentally a family of Faith that seeks to Courageously Live the Gospel. As in any family, it is important periodically to gather around the table and just talk. What’s working and what’s not? The time to have those conversations came during the transition during the change of pastors. I felt the first step in embarking on a journey with you was to listen to the parish as we began to reflect on who we are and what we together identify that truly matters to us and share our thoughts and feelings. When I arrived in the Parish nearly two years ago, one of the first things we did was to have just such a conversation, we sat down as family around the table in town Hall meetings, breakfasts with the pastor, parish meals and Lord’s Day Dinners. During those gatherings we reflected on three questions: 1. What do you like about St Joseph and keeps you coming? 2. What don’t we do so we’ll at St Joseph and 3. What could we do to improve or do new at St Joseph?

Many ideas surfaced such as the strong sense of family, the desire to form small communities, and an emphasis on strengthening and growing our youth and young adult ministry. These conversations along with those of the Parish Council resulted in a thorough review of our then mission statement and the development of a new one. A year ago a group of five Parish Council Members formed a committee to receive input from parishioners to clearly state our Vision. This visioning statement process clearly came from the parish and is thus owned by each and every member of the parish family.

Over a 9 month period we began to look at a plan that focused on the structure of the Parish, the facilities, our areas of ministry, our business practices, and generally the best ways to support at every level our mission to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Last spring we restructured the Parish Council to a Pastoral Council that now has representation of each parish ministry. We now have a clearly defined center for Pastoral Care for South St Petersburg and the Casler Heights neighborhood. The renovated Parish Pastoral Center now houses our Administrative and Business Center, Center for Religious Education and Faith formation, Conference space for small gatherings and a small computer lab.

Such strategic planning was a necessity and, I think most would agree, a very fruitful undertaking. With a new visioning statement we developed a strategic plan for our facilities and with this plan we have been restoring, revitalizing and reviving our parish facilities. I believe that the plan developed in that process has served us well in implementing a structure of support for capital improvements, and a restructuring of our parish. Since this review was done it became more and more apparent that together we needed to understand more clearly and address the very real challenges and, equally, the incredible opportunities before our community. The timing of this process was fortuitous. Just as we were setting out on our journey, the Diocese of St Petersburg was embarking on a new Pastoral Plan. St Joseph was one of the first parishes in the Diocese to embrace the Diocesan Plan to “Courageously live The Gospel.” A team of five Pastoral Council members have now participated in two Diocesan leadership training programs for this new Diocesan Pastoral Plan. Together we have identified three key Pastoral Priorities for St Joseph.

The foundation of any Parish Pastoral Priorities is the continued need to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, which is that God knows us intimately, loves us dearly, and challenges us to know Him intimately. With the confidence of Jesus’ unconditional love, hope prevails. A deep joy is possible even in the midst of trials and tragedy. In Jesus is found happiness and a peace that the world cannot give. Jesus’ love is for you … and for everyone. Knowing, Living and Sharing our Catholic Faith is the call of the baptized. Inside and outside the Church, everyone seeks purpose and meaning in this life. Jesus—God made man—came to reveal the depth of God’s love for humankind. The Good News of Christ is to be lived and shared!

The Pastoral Priorities for St Joseph Parish is a striking demonstration of your desire to participate actively in the life of our Parish family, many responded to the survey from the Diocese and our plan reflects the needs and concerns of parishioners.

Three Priorities

Family Evangelization/Forming the Faith

Missionary Disciples/ Proclaiming to Good News of Jesus Christ

Young adult and youth Evangelization/ Forming the Future of our Churchst joseph Church

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