People in the pews are called to take an active role in planning the future priorities for the Church in South Carolina as the Diocese of Charleston prepares to celebrate its bicentennial in 2020.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone encourages the state’s Catholics to take a survey about what they consider the most important aspects of the Church’s calling to go out into the world and spread the faith.
The Mission Advancement Planning survey was announced in parishes on June 3-4, the weekend of Pentecost Sunday. The deadline to complete it is June 25.
People can fill the survey out online, and some printed copies are available at parishes for those who do not have access to the internet.
In a letter to the faithful, Bishop Guglielmone said the approaching bicentennial offers a chance to reflect on the past and look forward to the role the Church will play in a challenging future.
“I know that we are already making a remarkable impact in many, many lives every day,” Bishop Guglielmone wrote. “Yet I also know that there are immense social pressures and cultural tensions at work in our world today. The Lord promised that the road for us would involve many challenges and that we would need to be courageous, bold and persevering for the sake of the kingdom.”
The initiative is being run by the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Mission Advancement, with the assistance of Greater Mission, a Baltimore-based organization that works with Catholic parishes, dioceses and ministries with faith-based capital campaign, stewardship and mission programs.
Tom Sonni, president of Greater Mission, said the survey process offers an important chance for people at all levels to share their ideas about what the Church is doing right and what should be improved or changed in the future. Clergy and diocesan employees will also take their own surveys.
“It is important to engage the priests and the leaders and the people in the pews to learn what is in their heart and go through a process of discerning what are the greatest priorities and strategies that can be used to move the Church forward,” Sonni said.
Already, response in South Carolina has been strong, with more than 1,300 surveys taken since the initiative was announced.
When they are all complete, a steering committee of leaders from around the diocese will study the responses. They will then work with pastors to form small teams at the parish level, review results from each parish and determine how to use them to improve ministry. Sonni said the parish meetings will likely be held in the fall.
Miscellany File Photo: A stained glass window at St. Mary, Our Lady of Ransom in Georgetown.