“The goal of the whole process is to engage the entire Church of Green Bay in reflection on strengths and dreams,” said Mark Mogilka, diocesan director of Stewardship and Pastoral Services. “Beyond that (the aim will be) to translate to pastoral goals and commitments that the diocese can work on together for next five to seven years.”
Mogilka and his staff are overseeing the Diocesan Visioning Process. Planning for the initiative began in late 2009.
“We are inviting people to think bold new thoughts, to be prophetic in the best sense of the word and to challenge the parishes to new dreams and new possibilities,” Mogilka told The Compass.
The visioning process encompasses four steps, referred to as the “4-D Cycle of Appreciative Inquiry.” It includes:
• Discovery Phase: Prayerful reflection on where the church has been its best;
•Dream Phase: Discerning or imagining what God might be asking the church to become;
•Design Phase: Reviewing the first two steps and determining what should be incorporated in the pastoral plan;
•Destiny: Creating what will be a pastoral vision for the Church of Green Bay.
Parishes will take an active role in the first two cycles of the Appreciative Inquiry; the design and destiny phases will involve diocesan staff and leadership, highlighted by a Diocesan Summit planned for February 2011. During the summit, diocesan representatives will review the information proposed in the first two phases.
According to Mogilka, there are four key “voices” active in the visioning process:
•Focus groups of “typical” Catholics from throughout the diocese. “Five parishes have volunteered to serve as focus groups,” said Mogilka. These include St. John the Baptist Parish in Howard; St. Raphael the Archangel in Oshkosh; St. Margaret Mary in Neenah; Ss. Peter and Paul in Kiel; and a grouping of smaller parishes in the northeast corner of the diocese. They will meet at St. Margaret Parish in Pembine Sept. 10 and 11.
Between the five parishes there will be 30 focus groups representing six specific age groups, said Mogilka. “We’ve hired Matousek and Associates (a Green Bay market research firm), so there is objectivity to run these groups.” The focus groups began meeting in August. “When these groups conclude their meetings, Matousek and Associates will take all their responses and put them together into a report that will feed into the process.”
•Parishes: Each diocesan parish is expected to participate in the discovery and dream phases. Mogilka said they will reflect on two general questions: What are two things they most value and appreciate about their parish which reflect vitality and life? If they could transform their parish in the next five to seven years, what five things would they do?
“Some parishes have already begun their discovery and dreaming processes,” said Mogilka. “Every parish is expected to fill out a report by Nov. 15.”
•Diocesan leadership: This includes ministry groups such as priests, deacons, sisters, educators, pastoral ministers and lay movements. A total of 22 leadership groups have been identified and they began meeting in August. These groups will also be asked to reflect on the hopes and dreams of their respective ministries. All of their reports will be pared down to one report.
•Wisdom Committee: “Their mission is to look at the history and tradition of the church of Green Bay and try to articulate a vision for parish life today,” said Mogilka. This committee consists of 11 people, including Bishop Robert Morneau.
“Each of the four voices will come up with a 10-page paper no later than the first of the year,” said Mogilka.
Those reports will be the basis of a three-day leadership summit slated for Feb. 18-20 at Monte Alverno Retreat Center in Appleton. “Fifty people will gather at Monte Alverno with Bishop Ricken,” said Mogilka. “They will have copies of each of the four papers and will come together with open hearts and souls to action of the Spirit.”
Rick Krivanka, director of the Pastoral Planning Office in the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, and an expert on the Appreciative Inquiry process, will facilitate the weekend’s discussion.
“He will help the 50 people to reflect on all of that wisdom gathered and move (from) discovery to dream and to design,” added Mogilka. “Following the summit, Bishop Ricken will take all (the information) under advisement and articulate it into a pastoral plan for the diocese.”
The Diocesan Visioning Process then moves into an implementation process.
“The diocesan staff will be meeting in April or May to look at that plan and talk about how we as a staff will support those priorities on the diocesan level and in the parishes,” said Mogilka.
A Diocesan Convocation in November 2011 will offer workshops to help parish leaders implement a pastoral plan that will emerge from process, added Mogilka.
A steering committee consisting of 11 parish and diocesan leaders is overseeing the overall Diocesan Visioning Process. “They meet on a monthly basis to review how things are unfolding with each of the four voices and are planning for the Leadership Summit in February,” said Mogilka, who chairs the steering committee.