Time to assess the year
How quickly time flies! Here we are, once again, at the end of a pastoral year. In a few weeks, the summer vacation will provide a welcome change from our regular activities. Despite the fatigue we currently feel, it is time to start planning for the next pastoral year. Agendas are quickly filling up. We do our best, of course, to co-ordinate everything so as to avoid scheduling conflicts.
As part of this planning exercise, we should review the year. Here are a few points of reference to consider.
* - Our missionary endeavour: How effectively did we reach out to people in need, to people looking for answers to their questions? In what ways did we respond to the needs present in our local community? How did we “build Church” together? How attentive were we to what was going on around us? What did we do locally to support worthy causes, to decry injustices, to help build a better world? In what ways did we discern the Holy Spirit leading us through all of this?
* - Our pastoral work: What events increased our sense of community within our parishes and groups? How do we evaluate the quality of our Eucharistic celebrations, the preaching, the symbolism and the general preparation? Are youth well represented in our organizations? What is the quality of interpersonal relations within our various groups?
* - Our material well-being: Where did we find the necessary resources to accomplish the mission confided to us? Were our administrative decisions inspired by the Holy Spirit?
* - Our catechetical work: How have people responded to the new approach? To what extent was concern for people at the heart of the initiatives undertaken? Whom did we serve best (which age groups, interest groups, types of spiritual processes)? Whom did we not effectively reach with our programs? What new initiatives did we undertake to accompany people more effectively in their spiritual growth? How did we integrate a social justice and vocational dimension within our catechetical process?
As we conclude the pastoral year, let’s not forget to be thankful! The life of our Church depends upon the involvement of thousands of dedicated people, who — each in his or her own way and according to his or her means — contribute to building a better world. Let’s remember to thank them!
I wish to express my gratitude for all the great and remarkable things that have been accomplished in every part of our diocese. Thank you for persevering in proclaiming Jesus Christ to people of all age groups, despite the difficult context in which we find ourselves at times. Thank you for being a Church at the service of the world, for being the heart and muscle of this Body that we form together. Thanks be to God!
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This Sunday, we will remember the invaluable role that “fathers” occupy in society. Let’s not miss this occasion to recognize their unique vocation, which is central to families, and to express our love for them!
† Jean-Claude Turcotte
Archbishop of Montréal