This is a continuation of the information published in the bulletin on February 26. We are invited to hear it alongside the clergy who initially received this message.
SUPPORTING HEALTHY PRIESTS
The leadership of you, our priests, is crucial for success of our mission to unleash the Gospel. For our mission to be successful, you must be healthy. Brothers, I hear you when you share your particular struggles, including those associated with our transition to Families of Parishes. It is by design that both Families of Parishes and your health are listed first among our priorities and strategies. I firmly believe that if we prioritize your spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being, foster an increased brotherhood, seek more effective collaboration and teamwork, and care for your overall quality of life, the rest of our good work will follow.
BUILDING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
In our Archdiocese, we have a team of dedicated co-workers, the Curia, supporting our parishes and schools with their time, expertise, and accompaniment. For this system to work effectively, we need clarity about how exactly the Curia serves our Families of Parishes and schools—how we interact and make decisions critical for advancing any of our priorities. This includes eliminating any confusion about where and by whom decisions are made, as well as what services are available and how they are offered. When the Curia and parishes/schools enjoy increased communication and collaboration, all our efforts will be more closely united and successful. I know our Curia leadership is committed to improving the ways in which they accompany and serve you in our parishes and schools.
INVESTING IN FAMILIES OF PARISHES
Much of what I have shared here has involved in some way our Families of Parishes, because they are the structures that I discerned would allow us to go on mission with increased collaboration. To ensure our Families are well-equipped for ministry, we will invest significant resources in training, collaboration, and communication for FOP Moderators and Directors (Mission Direct and Mission Support). The work of the Curia will be oriented to assist all Families in developing and implementing their Missionary Strategic Plans, through which they will become centers of evangelization where individuals and families can encounter Jesus and be invited to follow him. We have completed our transition to Families of Parishes; now is the time to use these new structures to go forward on mission.
A CONFERENCE TO RELAUNCH UNLEASH THE GOSPEL
This spring, I look forward to inviting leaders from the Archdiocese, including all of you so deeply involved in our Families of Parishes, to gather for a conference in a similar fashion to the Amazing Parish in 2015. This time together will provide us an opportunity to pray and re-launch our mission, focusing our attention on what we hope to accomplish over the next years. I see such a conference as a way to re-appropriate some of the graces of our experience of the Synod. More information about all of this – our priorities, strategies, and our gathering in the spring – will be shared with you early next year.
As I have said previously, I consider leading the Archdiocese of Detroit in Synod 16—and the work we have done since to steward these graces—to be the most important accomplishment of my episcopate, and I am very grateful for the honor and the experience. Please know, this discussion of priorities and strategies is not my obituary. Rather, we are simply writing the preface to the next chapter of the Archdiocese, a chapter that will be written by all of us in unity with our next Archbishop. I give God thanks ahead of time for what we will accomplish in the next year or two as we prepare for this next chapter, and I greatly look forward to reading it when the time comes. Thank you, once again, for your partnership in these important efforts.
Submitted for publication here by Fr. Godfrey Mgonja, C.S.Sp.