The development of a pastoral plan is done through listening to the people of the parish, prayerful reflection, consideration of church teachings, and discerning the situation together. Through the process of pastoral planning, answers are found to the following questions:

  • What are we called to do?
  • How can we best go about it?

When the plan is completed, it is the task of the PPC to call others to leadership, and empower other parishioners to become involved in bringing the plan to life.

Pastoral Planning Process

  1. Investigate – what is the present reality?
  2. Reflect – what are the possibilities?
  3. Recommend – identify priorities?
  4. Outline actions to achieve these
  5. Name who will be responsible for the action
  6. Name who will be responsible for the action
  7. Agree a timeframe

Approaches to surveying a parish

There are a variety of ways of surveying parishioners the following are two possible approaches:

  1. Questionnaire approach
  2. Conversations approach

Questionnaire approach

This involves devising a questionnaire, distributing it, collecting in and analysing the data.

For this approach there are four main tasks to be carried out:

  1. Finalise the wording on the questionnaire, format it and produce the appropriate number of copies;
  2. Decide on the distribution process, dates for sending it out and having it returned, and the collection process;
  3. Promote the survey within the parish and tell people why it is taking place;
  4. Decide on how to do the data analysis and create a summary for the parishioners.

Conversations approach

This approach works with the same questions, but it involves setting up a number of meetings. You invite about ten parishioners to each meeting, ask the questions verbally and take note of the responses.

For this approach attention needs to be paid to the following:

  1. How many conversations
  2. With whom will you have them? (It may be in each area of the parish or with different age groups, etc.)
  3. What would be a good venue for each conversation?Each conversation needs a co-ordinator to ensure that invitations have been received and that the venue has been organised.
  4. Each conversation needs a co-ordinator to ensure that invitations have been received and that the venue has been organised.
  5. Who will be invited and how will they be invited?
  6. How will you collate the data and communicate it to the parishioners?

The next step after gathering the information is to analyse it, identify the key priorities and then draw up a plan of action.

Areas for consideration

  1. Building a vibrant faith community
    • How can we improve the sense of welcome and promote involvement in our church community
  2. Parish Worship
    • What could we do to enhance the celebration of the sacraments and the life of prayer and worship in our parish?
  3. Faith development
    • What are some of the things that we could do to help people to develop their faith?
  4. Reaching out to other
    • What do you think the parish could do to reach out to people who are in need, both locally and globally?
  5. Parish resources
    • How best can we manage the resources of the parish?