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Fr Josh’s Front Page Reflection Mar 24, 2023

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Fr Joshua Whitehead
Fr Joshua Whitehead

Update on Strategic Planning Process

Friends, this week has seen a major milestone in our parish’s strategic planning process with the submission of the third and final draft. I would like to use this forum to give you an update on what has happened over the past six/seven months of this process. It’s important that everyone has at least some idea of what has happened and, perhaps, more importantly, why we are engaged in this process.

First, the Why. The laity have been invited into a more active position within the Church since the publication of the Second Vatican Council document, Lumen Gentium (Light of the World) in 1964. This key breakthrough vision pointed out that all Catholics are called to be saints, and reinforced Pope Pius XII’s 1943 statement that ‘there is no dichotomy between the clerical and lay elements of the Church’ (Mystici Corporis Christi). This document also highlighted that ‘all members are called to work on the perfection of the Body of Christ’, His Church in the world. As St Paul asserted and Pope Francis has emphasised, the Holy Spirit enriches the Church and its members with different charisms. The People of God are blessed with different gifts and entrusted with different missions. ‘To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good’ (1 Cor 12:4-7). By virtue of your baptism YOU are called to become a saint and to go and make disciples (Mt 28:19).

Our Parish desires ALL of you to join our Mission in an active way.

The best research into ecclesial (church) renewal highlights three key elements: good community, good teaching and preaching, and good music – in other words, Love, Truth and Beauty. As we walk forward in Christ, our vision for our Parish is that every member feels a part of our family of God, and contributes according to their gifts. This is the Why of the Strategic Planning process. Our success moving forward as the Light of Christ in the world is reliant on the empowerment of the laity – and to your saying ‘yes’.

Secondly, the What. Our strategic planning process began in September last year with a series of Dreaming Videos shown at the end of each Sunday homily. These videos discussed the main areas of ministry in Catholic parishes: Children & Families, Youth & Young Adults, Worship, Faith & Formation, Community Life, and Service & Outreach.

You were invited to respond to each of these videos by sharing your dreams and vision about what these ministry areas could look like in our parish. We then held a Parish Summit Day in November at the Unity College auditorium. At this half-day event, 130 parishioners gathered together to share vision and ideas about what our parish could look like over the next five years. It was from your responses to these two consultation processes that the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) invited specific people into leadership positions within the six Ministry Leadership Teams (MLTs).

Once these teams were chosen, we held a Strategic Planning Day in December with the six MLTs present. At this event, Evangelisation Brisbane (EB) staff assisted us in putting pen-to-paper – aided by all the responses we received from you – for a draft five-year strategic plan. This plan contains between three-five outcomes for each ministry area, along with measurable strategies to achieve each outcome. This first draft was worked on by each of the MLTs over the summer and submitted at the end of January. Since then, each of the MLTs have refined their outcomes and strategies with a second and third draft – submitted just this week to the EB Parish Leadership Team who are supporting our parish and multiple other parishes in the diocese with this process. From now, until the release and celebration of the printed document – we’re aiming at a Pentecost launch on Sunday 28 May – EB and the SLT will ratify a series of revisions for the printed document itself.

When we launch the Strategic Plan itself at Pentecost, each of the leaders will be commissioned by one of our bishops. These leaders will include the yet-to-be identified leaders of each worshiping community who form the Faith Communities Council (FCC) – something which will take place between now and Pentecost. The FCC leaders will be commissioned to lead each worshiping community. This necessary structure of leadership will replace the traditional Pastoral Council. It will form a vital link between decisions made at SLT-level which affect the entire parish, what each of the MLTs offer by way of evangelical and pastoral initiatives, and how and when these decisions and initiatives are implemented in each worshiping community.

I hope that this update clarifies some of your questions. Stay tuned for more information on our strategic planning process in the weeks ahead.

Peace be with you

Fr Josh Whitehead.



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