Our 50th Jubilee of the Diocese of San Jose in 2031 happily coincides with the 500th anniversary of Mary’s appearance and message to St. Juan Diego, which set in motion an unimaginable, unforeseen, dynamic evangelization of the Americas where previously response to the Gospel message had been rather limited. Through her presence, message, and intercession, the Gospel message spread deeply and broadly. Bishop Cantú decided to convene a diocesan synod in January 2023 to listen and discern with the faithful how we can renew our Diocese.
Our historic Synod is over, and now the Pastoral Planning Commission takes the “sacred work” of the General Assembly to continue the “sacred work” of Pastoral Planning. A high bar has been set for the next phase, and the Diocese will continue to lean into the Holy Spirit and trust that God is guiding us at every step along the way.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, let us ask the Lord to guide us and to accompany us, to give us renewed strength and determination in facing the challenges ahead as we proclaim and live the Gospel.
Refining the Action Steps: The Diocese of San José’s six planning action teams of approximately 50 people, mostly lay with some clergy, have been diligently adjusting action steps and adding critical measures to track the progress of each objective. These teams have been hard at work incorporating constructive feedback from our stakeholders during the consultation sessions in mid-September. At the end of October, the Planning Commission will approve the final work of the planning action teams, and then the plan will go to the Bishop in November for his final review and affirmation.
Consulting Stakeholders for a Second Time: In mid-September, the Diocese of San José held 11 consultation sessions with representatives from our parishes, schools, and Catholic organizations. With overwhelming support from 300 stakeholders, including 88 priests, who provided feedback on the 2nd draft plan, the Planning Commission is confident that the Diocese of San José is on the right track toward fulfilling our goal to spiritually renew our diocese.
Refining the Pastoral Focus: Building on valuable feedback and the dedicated efforts of our commission and planning action teams, we have sharpened six strategic priorities that will lead to the Spiritual Renewal of our diocese. Notably, Retreats have integrated with Lifelong Faith Formation, and Families now stand as a distinct priority. Therefore, our six strategic priorities are: Youth & Young Adults, Worship, Outreach, Lifelong Faith Formation, Family Ministry, and Structural Renewal. This September, representatives from our parishes and schools will come together once more review and discern the second draft of our pastoral plan. Together, we forge a path of spiritual growth and renewal.
Path of Shared Vision: Throughout May and early June, we held 11 consultation sessions with nearly 300 participants to review the first draft of the pastoral plan. We also conducted a dedicated session with 100 priests during their study week. Participants, representing diverse facets of our diocese, included priests during their study week, deacons and wives, principals of our elementary and high schools, parish business managers, parish catechetical leaders, youth and young adult ministers, campus ministers from our Catholic high schools, university campus ministers, synod delegates, and representatives from the religious orders, Catholic movements, and Catholic organizations in our diocese.
Pastoral Vision Taking Shape: The Pastoral Planning Commission and Coordinating Team have prayed over the Synod Assembly input and diligently crafted an initial draft of the pastoral plan. Representatives from our parishes and schools have been invited to contribute their insights and discernment to shape the diocese’s future priorities in consultation sessions to be held over the coming month.
Planning for Impact: Six Planning Action teams have been assembled to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals for the initiatives identified by the Commission within planning priority. These initiatives came from the General Assembly outcomes. These teams, armed with the professional and ministerial expertise and knowledge in their specific priority, will pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and develop action steps which will detail how we will realize the major initiatives in the plan. We are engaging our delegates, commission members, clergy, and staff, among others, to prayerfully participate in these Planning Action teams.
Structural Renewal to Support Spiritual Renewal: A key insight from the Synod Assembly was that truly impact lives and spiritual renewal our diocese, we must focus on a foundational strategic priority: the renewal of our structure. The supportive structure will ensure the success of the other five strategic priorities that will lead to spiritual renewal: Youth, Young Adults, and Families; Worship, Retreats, Formation; and Outreach (charity, Catholic social teaching, and evangelization).
Extended Planning Progress: Building on the momentum from the Diocesan Synod, Bishop Cantú, the steering committee, and the commission have thoughtfully reviewed and discerned the feedback from January’s Diocesan Synod Assembly. As a result, to ensure thorough consultation and engagement with key stakeholders during the planning process, it has been decided it would be prudent to postpone the announcement of the Pastoral Plan from June to December. This extension allows for broader discernment and dialogue as envisioned by Bishop Cantú.
Synod Assembly Success: The Diocesan Synod General Assembly in January was a great success. Nearly 200 delegates, guided by the Holy Spirit, worked tirelessly throughout the weekend. The delegates’ energy, dedication, and preparation far exceeded our expectations and created a sacred experience for all who walked on this journey together. Inspiring conversations and deep respect filled the entire weekend. The feeling of belonging to something greater was unmistakable. Explore a summary of this remarkable weekend, complete with photos, at https://www.dsj.org/diocesan-synod-general-assembly-weekend/.