Bishop's Letters

March 24, 2003

To: All Clergy and Pastoral Teams of the Diocese of London

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Tuesday, March 25 th, and Wednesday, March 26th, the Council of Priests will be meeting to discern the initial stages of developing a Pastoral Plan for the diocese. Reverend Gordon Judd, C.S.B., will be the facilitator.

The idea of a Diocesan Pastoral Plan emerged at my first meeting with the Council of Priests. At that meeting, we recognized the need to identify the priorities which will inspire us and focus our energies as our diocese looks to the future.

The Pastoral Plan needs to be grounded in the present and near-future realities of the diocese. It needs to reflect the changes we are experiencing—in the world, the Church, the life of our parishes, the roles of ordained and lay ministers—and the ways we can best fulfill our mission to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. It needs to embrace our entire diocese—the parishes, diocesan offices and ministries, religious communities, and all the institutions sponsored by the diocese.

I am grateful for the leadership taken by the Council of Priests. At our meetings on March 25 th and 26th, we will begin the initial steps to develop a Diocesan Pastoral Plan. Our deliberations will include an agenda outlining how the various groups in the diocese will have input into this process. Clearly, the development of a Pastoral Plan needs to engage all of us—clergy, religious and lay faithful.

I think it is worth repeating that the Council of Priests is not envisioning that this process will be yet another onerous programme added to our already busy schedules. It is our hope that the Pastoral Plan will be shaped by what can be done, what of our past we can let go, and what we envision for the future. It will be flexible and able to be adopted and adapted by the whole diocese.

The Council of Priests pointed out that my appointment as bishop offers us a historical opening to think about the life and future of the diocese in new ways. I look forward to the process of developing a Pastoral Plan. It will be a prayerful experience for all of us, which, I am certain, will bring us to thank God for our graced history. We have a firm and solid foundation on which to build for the future, and we can be grateful for the exceptional leadership and the dedication of those who have gone before us and brought us to this unique moment in the history of our diocese.

I invite you to pray that the members of the Council of Priests and Father Judd, our facilitator, will be open to the action of the Holy Spirit during our meetings this week.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B.
Bishop of London

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