In September 2013, The Archdiocese of New York began the next phase of Making All Things New with members of the Parish Core Teams. The members of each core team consisted of four parishioners chosen by the pastor and the pastor himself. Core teams from parishes from different regions assembled on September 24-25 to receive training from members of The Reid Group, the company hired by the archdiocese to take them through the strategic process of parish planning. The Reid Group states on their website that "...there is less resistance to change if people are involved in the change process." The September meetings, consisting of approximately 2000 pastors and parishioners, took place in 11 regions throughout the archdiocese.
As reported in Catholic New York on 4 September 2013, key members of the Archdiocese of New York and The Reid Group were interviewed by the editor of the magazine in the summer of 2013.
John Reid said, "We don’t want any surprises, people saying that they didn’t know how they are being evaluated."
Father John O'Hara, leading the parish planning program for the archdiocese said, "We’re ahead of the curve because the parishes have already gathered significant information concerning the demographics, their sacramental life and also their financial situation. In the initial stages, we are not asking them to do that all over again, but rather to take it out and review it, freshen it up…so that it’s current."
The Reid Group has honed their process for 20 years. "We have learned a lot about how to both have the cardinal, in this case, set the tone by the goals and the criteria for parishes," John Reid said. " But also empower the pastors and laity in each parish to offer their be st thinking so that by the time it gets to the decision-making step, the cardinal can feel confident that he has the best thinking of the people from the parishes and clusters but also from the advisory group, people like the working group here and from the Presbyteral Council."
John Reid also discussed the responsibilites of the core group. "One is to lead the parish through the process. Second, to be responsible for the parish’s self-evaluation," he stated in the second segment of the interview published on 18 September 2013. "Then, they participate in the cluster planning in December, with five or six parishes…Ultimately, by next March, they will be preparing their suggestions about the future. Those will then be responded to by the Archdiocesan Planning Advisory Group at a preliminary recommendation."
Parish core teams of the East Manhattan Vicariate, which includes Our Lady of Peace, met at Cathedral High School on 25 September 2013. The immediate task of the team members, according to John Reid, would be to bring information back to the parishioners, answer questions and work together to figure out the best answers. The parish core teams were scheduled to reconvene in December 2013 in cluster groups to continue the process.
The role of the parish core groups is further explained in the PDF guidelines. Other key planning guides, distributed to aid in the parish planning process, can be found on the website of the Archdiocese of New York.
To be continued