The Catholic Faithful, priests, deacons, religious, parish administrators and school leaders of the Diocese of Buffalo have embarked on a journey to reinvigorate Catholic faith, more fully optimize parish and diocesan resources, and increase the impact of our varied ministries throughout WNY. According to Father Brian Zielenieski, leader of the Road to Renewal effort in the Diocese, “The Road to Renewal is not just about dealing with reduced clergy numbers, but it’s about really how do we revitalize — reinvigorate — make sure their responsibilities are shared in our parishes between the laity between the clergy and making sure we are working together.”
All of the parishes in the Diocese have been organized into smaller groupings of parishes called Families. These Families of Parishes will join together as a team to work together in the renewal. We are part of Family 7. Family 7 is made up of Fourteen Holy Helpers, Queen of Heaven, St. Gabriel, St. John XXIII, and St. John Vianney. The planning for our family will be starting this Fall 2023. Planning can take up to 6 months, although implementation of individual components of the plan need not wait until the entire plan is completed.
The work of the Renewal will be accomplished in stages.
- Activation Stage
The purpose of the Activation Stage is to allow the parishes of the Family to work on the six Pillars that make up being Church. These Pillars are Liturgy, Spiritual Life, Forming Disciples, OutReach/InReach, Stewardship and Administration. Pillar Groups are formed to identify how the Family will organize and perform the work within these Pillars.
- Family Action Plan
The goal of the six month Activation Stage for each Family is to collaborate on the creation of a Family Action Plan, which will define goals, strategies, expected outcomes, and creative solutions for reaching a vibrant future characterized by spiritual vitality and fiscal responsibility to attract new members of the Family. This Family Action Plan will guide each Family over the course of the next 3-5 years.
There are 6 Church Pillars: Liturgy, Spiritual Life, Forming Disciples, OutReach / InReach, Stewardship & Administration. These are the 6 key areas of the Church that require constant planning, monitoring and evaluation within each Family of Parishes and for which a Family Action Plan will be created.
As the Pillar teams have begun the work of the Road to Renewal process, 6 to 12 people have stepped forward to represent the parish on the pillar teams. These people demonstrate embody a strong sense of mission to help rebuild the church in our area:
“To be a person of prayer and have a strong desire seek what God wants for the West Seneca and Elma area. As Jesus said, “… the wise scribe is the one who can take both the old and the new out of his storeroom.” Seeking God’s design for our area will mean that everything is evaluated according to how it will rebuild the Church. One must believe that the Church in our area can be reinvigorated. Have an open mind to allow ideas to be reshaped and willing to seek answers. One who can reason things out and not be afraid to challenge with charity what is being presented. Have a strong dedication to Fourteen Holy Helpers Parish and the area parishes.”
The focus of the Pillar groups will be …
- Mass Schedules for each parish within the Family
- Sacrament schedule
- Liturgy Committee
- Spiritual Life
- Sacramental preparation
- Life in the Eucharist
- Forming Disciples
- Religious Education (Kindergarten through grade 12)
- Catholic schools
- Youth Ministry (Grades 6-8)
- Youth Ministry (Grades 9-12)
- Young Adult Faith Formation
- Adult Faith Formation
- Adult Leadership Training
- Inclusive Catechesis
- Family Formation
- Out Reach / In Reach
- Out Reach
- Any ministry or activity aimed at bringing relief for those who are suffering, while maintaining inclusivity
- Evangelization efforts geared at people who are unchurched and seeking Christ
- Promotion of missionary discipleship to attract new Catholics
- In Reach
- Ministry to those who are in physical or spiritual need
- Empower parishioners
- Develop a culture of welcome
- Out Reach
- Donate time, treasure and / or talent
- Family / Parish hospitality
- Any activities that have to do with the above
- Human Resources
- Compensation, benefits & policies
- Safe Environment
- Governing / Family leadership
- Central office
- Processes / On-site Hours
- Budgeting / Finances
- Data / Reporting
- Security / Compliance
Documents developed during the work of the teams are available at … Pillar Documents LINK.
As we continue down the Road to Renewal, please don’t forget to visit the Diocesan website at www.RoadToRenewal.org and pray the Prayer for Renewal regularly. See you on the Road to Renewal!