Appendix VII – Suggested Homily regarding planning

(Open with loud drum roll concluding with symbols clanging joining in.)

(Loud) Have I got your attention (name of parish)? I hope so because this is going to be the most important announcement I have ever made or will make to any parishioners.

GOD has really blessed us here at (name of parish)! Our numbers are increasing, we are soon to have a much larger and fitting church, we have some 60 very active ministries with well over 300 parishioners participating, we have many, many very generous and charitable parishioners, we have a growing school that is leading edge in educational circles and more. Maybe 90% of parishes in the US would envy us.

You might say how could it be better? Well I say, we can and must do better! We cannot rest on our laurels. We either get better or we get worse. We must move ahead.

GOD loves us! He is the source of our bounty. We cannot squander it.

For these and more reasons we need to plan for the future.

We need to find more and even better ways to “Follow in the footsteps of Jesus”. That is and must be the mission for all Catholics. That is our mission in life and it must be the mission of this parish. Jesus died for us. Should we not at least strive to do the best we can to follow in his footsteps?

Believe me, this planning effort will involve everyone in the parish and it will be a lot of hard work. Let me repeat so that it sinks in. “It will be a lot of hard work.” Some wise soul said “There is no reward without hard work”.

We have discussed this with our Parish Council and our staff and they are 100% on board. The Parish Council and a few senior staff will function as the (name of parish) Planning Committee. I will chair the Parish Planning Committee.

To begin, this weekend we are distributing a comprehensive anonymous questionnaire that we want everyone (husbands, wives, children, single, married, registered or not, say just occasional mass attendees) to complete-not now, but within the next week or so-and return it here or at a future mass or to the office. We will compile and distribute results within the next few weeks.

Second, we want everyone possible (the same ones we want to complete a questionnaire) to join a planning group within the parish.

These groups will be limited in size to about 20 or so. Some of these groups may represent demographic groups or ministries within the parish, but most will be mixed on a random basis. Obviously, we cannot and should not try to force anyone to participate, but if you are a true Catholic you will.

I will not kid or mislead you, these planning groups are essential for a successful planning effort. As I said before, this will involve a lot of work-mostly mental effort. Each planning group will probably meet at least four and maybe more times over a period of maybe two or three months. They will review and offer suggestions for changes to the proposals from the Parish Planning Committee. No suggestion or comment will be ignored. There is no such thing as a “bad idea”. They will all get recorded and passed on to the Parish Planning Committee. All you need to do is “think-out-of-the box”.

To get started we are distributing signup sheets with clipboards right here and now. Also, these signup sheets will be available at each entrance today and next week or you can just call the office and signup over the phone or by email. (parish email address) You will be advised as to which planning group you have been assigned.

More details on this planning effort will be forthcoming at the initial planning group meetings and elsewhere.

God Bless all of you for your understanding and help in making this effort successful.

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Copies of this announcement should be reprinted in the weekly parish bulletin and videos of the announcement should be taken and posted on the parish website.