Pastoral planning is an ongoing process at the diocesan and parish levels that involves clergy, religious, and lay leaders. The process helps us to focus on the Mission of Jesus Christ for which we are co-responsible. In order to plan wisely, we must recognize the changing environment and be honest about the challenges before us. We must diligently seek out the opportunities that exist to proclaim the Gospel in our time. Together, we embrace the Church's vision of a community of disciples, fully alive in Christ and witnessing His saving love by their words and by the witness of their lives. Through prayer and listening, study and dialogue, we are able to discern the steps that are necessary at this time to move toward this vision and allocate resources accordingly.
In the Diocese of Trenton, the Department of Pastoral Planning provides a variety of services designed to help the members of the Church to learn the skills and practices of planning, gather data, develop objectives and strategies, and implement them.
The Department of Pastoral Planning is committed to expanding the availability of reliable institutional data for planning purposes. We aggregate the information supplied annually by parishes and analyze the data to identify trends in diocesan life. Partnerships, like the recent arrangement with mapping and context analysis provider Mission Insite, will increase our ability to access and use additional public sources of information in our planning.
The Diocesan Expansion/Restructuring Commission, acting in concert with the diocesan offices of Pastoral Planning and of Property and Construction, advises the Bishop by making recommendations regarding the growth of the Diocese and the best alternatives to meet the pastoral mission of the local church. Its members are appointed by the Bishop.
Matters for its consideration include the evaluation of current parish needs, restructuring or closing of parishes, adjustment of parish boundaries, projection of future property needs, acquisition of new property, and the establishment of new parishes.