We have some very good news! After years of arduous labor, we now have completely updated and redefined parish boundaries.
Your pastors have just received thorough descriptions of the geographical parameters of your parish and this will be very helpful for the present and future, especially as we prepare to launch the “New Evangelization” in 2020.
Pope Francis calls on a renewal of “missionary discipleship” (Evangelii Gaudium). As Jesus sent his followers to spread the Gospel message, the Word of God challenges us as believers to “go forth” into our communities and be involved directly in spreading the love of Christ.
By doing this, we are able to ensure that as a diocese, we are considering all the people of God without gaps or areas of unaccountability. As Pope Francis continues to proclaim, we are called to be in a “permanent state of mission” and by the refining and affirming of geographic service areas, we can continue this call as noted in Canon 518, “Pastors assume responsibility for the care of all souls within a specified geographic area.”
In the past, boundaries were used as a means to direct people where they cannot worship or become a member. I do not want the boundaries to be used in this way. Rather, in the light of the “New Evangelization” and our mission to enhance discipleship in our households, schools and parishes, let us look to seize this opportunity by allowing our defined boundaries to become parameters of our “mission field.” It is here in our neighborhoods that we ought to be reaching out first to offer all the people within our mission field the joy and the mercy of the Gospel, just as Jesus did.
Along with the boundaries opportunity, we will begin using a software program called, “MissionInsite.” This program provides demographics and lifestyle and religious belief information for those who reside in your neighborhood. Together, the parish boundary information and the “MissionInsite” program will assist us greatly as we launch the “New Evangelization” in 2020.
Over time, all of us in pastoral leadership and all of you, our parishioners, can be very missionary by reaching out to our own neighborhood within the parish boundaries far more effectively than ever before. We will also, over the next period of time, be looking at ways to engage our virtual neighborhoods more vigorously, which are also very important.
What wonderful opportunities lie before us! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His mission continues through us today!