There are at least six levels of planning needed within the Church.
Planning at this level is almost always very informal and in constant flux. The individual most likely would not even be aware of his or her activities as needing to be planned or of constituting a plan. Nevertheless, all of us probably do plan our activities in some way or other, either for the day, week or other time frame. When it comes to our Catholicism, we probably do even less planning than for other aspects of our lives. (See template in Exhibit I)
Planning for the family would primarily involve the two spouses unless there is only one spouse. The planning might include the oldest dependent child or even all dependent children. (See template in Exhibit II)
9.3 Parish and other Catholic entities
This planning material is primarily designed to apply to Parishes. A separate plan for schools operated by the parish should be prepared. This methodology should also apply to Religious Orders, other schools, hospitals and other Catholic Organizations of all types. (See template in Exhibit III)
Planning at the level of a Diocese would be somewhat more complex and would involve deciding which plans are:
a. A plan for just those activities conducted at the Diocesan level or
b. For the entire Diocese including all the parishes and other Diocesan operations like hospitals, etc.
Nevertheless, the planning for the Diocese and its related organizations should follow the same methodology as that described in this document. (See template in Exhibit IV)
Although there does not seem to be any real formal organization of the Church at the national level it would benefit the Church greatly if organizations like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had a planning process along the same lines as that of Diocese and Parishes. The USCCB does have a strategic plan that is published on the internet, but there is not enough information on its web site to judge its viability.
There are such great differences in culture, language, etc. between countries that it seems to make sense that this planning be done on a national basis. Maybe in some cases it could be done on a regional multi-national basis because of the relatively small size of some neighboring countries.
Planning for the Vatican and thus the Universal Church would not be so complex because they would follow the same planning methodology as that followed in this document for dioceses and others. Any planning done at this level, would require deciding:
- What should apply to just those activities conducted at the Vatican level; and
- What should include all Catholic activities from around the world.
At a minimum, it seems wise to have a plan for just the Vatican because that should be a role model for the entire Church. A search of the Vatican’s web site did not disclose any such existing strategic plan.