Shortly after Bishop Gregory Parkes was installed as fifth bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on January 4, 2017, people began to ask about his vision for the Diocese. Bishop Parkes set out to learn from the priests, religious, deacons, employees, and parishioners about their hopes and concerns.
Through listening sessions, gatherings and online surveys, Bishop Parkes heard common themes about the need to expand outreach efforts to the poor and vulnerable, youth and young adults and fallen away Catholics.
Now as the Diocese celebrates its 50th anniversary, Bishop Gregory Parkes has announced a new Mutually Shared Vision – “Courageously Living the Gospel” – that represents the many voices of the faithful who contributed with their input and prayers.
The Mutually Shared Vision provides clarity on what are the most pressing needs in the Church at this time and how the Diocese of St. Petersburg can address those needs.
The Mutually Shared Vision includes nine goals to achieve within the next three years in areas that have been identified by the Catholic community as having the highest need: Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Evangelization and Social Justice.
- Each deanery will launch a Catholic Impact Initiative that addresses one local community issue and mobilizes cross-parish creativity to establish desired outcomes. Initiate implementation by December 31, 2019.
- The Diocese will establish 8 – 10 new locations of affordable housing facilities for families and/or singles managed by Catholic Charities throughout the Diocese by the end of 2021
- One hundred percent of parishes will establish and/or enhance youth ministry opportunities by July 1, 2020.
- In support of this initiative, the Diocese will hire three diocesan regional Associate Directors of Youth and Young Adult Ministry by July 1, 2019.
- The diocese will establish a new Catholic elementary school (location to be determined) to open for the 2021-2022 school year.
- We will increase student participation by 1000% (4,000 individuals) at established campus ministry communities, and create new Catholic student communities for all local colleges and universities in the Diocese by Easter of 2021.
- The Diocese will partner with pastors and parishes for successful assessment, training and implementation of effective evangelization and family ministry strategies, including hospitality and intercultural competency by Pentecost 2019.
- Every parish will equip parishioners as Missionary Disciples who are inspired to invite and accompany others by Pentecost 2020.
- All parishes will enhance or establish family ministries to respond to the diverse needs of families by Pentecost 2020.
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