Making All Things New is currently used as the banner or title for the Archdiocese of New York's strategic pastoral planning or parish planning program. Where did the idea for this title come from? It comes directly from Revelation 21 in the New Testament:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.[a]2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; 3 and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them;[c]4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life. 7 He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. 8
That's scripture, but the revelation most parishioners are interested in learning is what the Archdiocese envisions for the parishes in its jurisdiction.
In 2010, Cardinal Dolan wrote a letter to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of New York about pastoral planning. "In practice, this means we must plan," he said. "We must consider building new parishes and schools, expanding and strengthening the ones we have, merging and consolidating others, and, as difficult as it might be, even closing some."
The Making All Things New initiative began in earnest in 2011. Seven meetings were held with priests and parish representatives. Core issues included a decrease in the numbers of priests, dwindling populations, and parish vitality and viability. Each parish was asked to form a committee of three representatives and each parishioner would receive a survey. The parish committees were tasked with distributing the surveys, tabulating the responses, and returning them to the archdiocese by February 25, 2011. In February, Bishop Dennis Sullivan, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, wrote in the periodical Catholic New York:
"Most diocesan pastoral planning programs last for two or three years before conclusions are agreed upon. The work to reach those decisions will take place with a wide and respectful consultation in order to represent each parish and to consider the bigger picture that our parishes form in the one church of the Archdiocese of New York. With God’s help and everyone’s cooperation, Making All Things New will make this happen."
To be continued