The Topeka Region of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is blessed with 17 parishes and six schools that have served Catholics of the region for many years. Changing demographics and economic conditions, as well as the number of priests available to serve in any particular area, require the Catholic Church to regularly assess projects and programs, budgets, staffing and future needs as they pertain to the Church’s ability to minister to the Faithful.
Clusters of parishes within the Topeka Region are being asked to consider models related to the best ways to serve the Catholics in the Topeka Region. An overall principle of this planning process is that parishes are more effective if they work together in ministry areas. It is envisioned that every parish community will collaborate with other parish communities where appropriate and feasible.
1. To enhance the vibrancy of parish and school life in the Topeka Region of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
2. To strengthen the presence and ministry of the Church in the urban and rural areas of the Topeka Region of the archdiocese.
3. To foster an appreciation for and participation in Sunday Eucharist.
4. To promote New Evangelization efforts throughout the Topeka Region of the archdiocese.
5. To continue parish planning within the Topeka Region of the archdiocese considering the needs of the people, the projected number of priests available to serve, financial resources, and changing demographics.
6. To ensure that all parishioners have opportunities for quality lifelong Christian education and formation in both parishes and schools.
7. To strengthen service to those who are most in need.
8. To promote vocations to priesthood, religious life, and to assist the laity in living their vocation in the world.
9. To support new initiatives for youth, young adults and seniors.
10. To strengthen marriage and family life throughout the archdiocese.
11. To build a culture of life, where life is respected from conception to natural death.
12. To buildagreater sense of unity among Catholics from all cultures within the Topeka Region of the local Church.
13. To increase collaboration among all entities in the archdiocesan, national, and universal Church.
14. To focus on areas of outreach, advocacy and social justice.
CRITERIA FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF PARISH AND CLUSTER MINISTRIES AND SERVICES
Conversion -- Sacramental Life of the Parish
1. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the life and mission of the parish.
2. Parishes should offer ample opportunities for the Sacrament of Penance, as well as retreats and parish missions.
3. Sacramental celebrations and devotional practices reflect the cultural heritage of the people assembled.
4. Parishioners are well trained for sacramental ministries.
5. Music is seen as an integral part of liturgy and all music ministers are well formed by trained musicians according to their ability and the liturgical norms of the Church.
Evangelization – Go and Make Disciples
6. Evangelization is recognized as essential to the life and mission of the Church and the Faith Community.
7. Evangelization is recognized as seeking to invite others to know Christ and the Gospel; a strong RCIA program and other opportunities to learn about the basic message of the Gospel and inquire about the Catholic Faith are integral to evangelization.
8. Evangelization is recognized as making sure parish communities are inviting and welcoming to strangers.Catholic Education in all its Forms
9. The parish provides excellent lifelong catechetical formation.
10. The parish actively supports Catholic schools - both elementary and secondary - in their operation and mission.
11. Quality youth ministry programs and meaningful, engaging programs for youth adults are present in parishes and the region.
12. Formation and education in vocation awareness is an integral part of all catechetical programs.
Serving Those in Need – Justice, Advocacy and Outreach
13. Justice, advocacy, pro-life and outreach programs are well integrated into parish life.
14. Being good stewards of all God’s gifts and contributing to and participating in activities of the larger Church are embodied in parish life.
15. Parishes partner with Catholic Charities and other ministerial alliances to serve those seeking emergency assistance, and also have internal programs prepared to reach out to parishioners who find themselves in difficult circumstances.
Stewardship -- Effective Administration
16. Parishioners are educated and formed in stewardship where all disciples share their time, talent, and treasure.
17. The pastor, staff, parish council and finance council exert effective leadership that embodies stewardship and points to the future.
18. The parish is financially stable and exercises good stewardship of its resources.
19. In its planning, the parish takes into account the projected number of priests available now and in the future.
20. The parish is taking into account its geographic proximity to other parishes and its Mass attendance in serving parishioners now and in the future.
21. The parish has adequate, well-trained, and compensated staff as well as well-formed lay volunteers and well maintained facilities to carry out its mission.
PASTORAL PLANNING TIMELINE (OCT 2013 – JUNE 2014)
1. Data is collected and materials are created for the Topeka Region Planning Guide. The data includes financial, sacramental, educational, and personnel information over a five-year period. The materials cover all the information and forms needed by the Parish & Cluster Core Teams.
2. Training sessions are held throughout the Topeka Region for Parish and School Core Teams November 13-14, 2013 to continue the Conversation step of the project.
3. Parish and school self-evaluations, parish and school summary reports and data verification forms will be completed by February 1, 2014.
4. Training sessions are held throughout the Topeka Region for Cluster Core Teams February 5-6, 2014 to prepare clusters for their work of Cluster Evaluation and Cluster Suggestions.
5. Cluster Suggestions are due to the Regional Planning Commission by April 11, 2014.
6. Regional Planning Commission’s Preliminary Recommendations are completed by May 1, 2014. (Planning Commission Retreat April 30-May 1)
7. The Conversation and Response Phase of the project is completed by June 1, 2014.
8. Regional Planning Commission’s Final Recommendations are completed and submitted to Archbishop Naumann by June 15, 2014. (Planning Commission Retreat June 11-12)
9. Archbishop Naumann announces his decisions after appropriate consultation in September 2014.
10. Implementation of Archbishop Naumann’s decisions begins in July 2015.