Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bishop Smith's Vision of a Vibrant Parish

In a talk given to the priests of the Trenton Diocese in 1999, Bishop John M. Smith outlined criteria for a vibrant parish. This vision is helpful to keep before us as we proceed to study the needs of the Church in this area of Monmouth County.

1. The parish will have a strong sense of itself as a community of faith, called by God, united in Christ and led by the Holy Spirit.

2. Members will see themselves as called and willing to participate actively in the leadership and growth of the parish.

3. A pastor who knows the people of the parish, they know him and they are comfortable in communicating with him. The pastor is so important to the life of a good vibrant parish. He presides over the liturgy and empowers others to take part in the ministry of the church.

4. The parish must have an adequate number of well-trained staff to take care of the needs of the parish. They must have a sense of purpose in achieving the goals of the parish.

5. Parishioners will actively participate in the life of the parish, both in the liturgical life and in other functions connected with the parish.

6. The liturgy will be the point to which all else leads and flows. The people will come to experience the presence of the living God.

7. The parish must be fully committed to the religious education of children and adults.

8. Experiences the call of Christ to spread the Word of God with evangelization programs, welcoming others through faith-sharing experiences.

9. Parish must be a certain size and have enough people in their active years to keep the parish healthy. There will be a mix of people of different age, sex, and race.

10. The financial condition of the parish should be such that it is able to carry out its work without undue stress on ministry and laity. Must not be preoccupied with financial matters.

11. The facilities must be maintained in acceptable condition. Must not be too small or too big.

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