A pastoral priority is an aspect of Jesus’ mission identified in the Gospel that requires we take action in order to more fully live out the Gospel. Through the process that began with the Speak Ups, the Church of South Jersey has identified 6 pastoral priorities through which the effectiveness of the way we hear the Gospel of Jesus and the way we live the Gospel needs to be revitalized. These areas of concern will be the focus of pastoral priority implementation efforts in each parish of the diocese.
What are the Pastoral Priorities in our Diocese?
The Pastoral Priorities of the Diocese of Camden are:
- Priestly Vocations
- Lifelong Faith Formation
- Youth and Young Adults
- Lay Ministry
- Compassionate Outreach
Who chose these Pastoral Priorities?
Bishop Joseph Galante has often reminded the people of South Jersey of their baptismal dignity and equality, the importance of consultation, and the responsibility of all Catholics to further the mission of the Church. Saying he wanted to hear directly from the people of the diocese, Bishop Galante held a “Speak Up” session in every parish of the diocese in order to set pastoral priorities for the future. There were 138 Speak Up sessions with over 8,000 participants giving feedback to the question, “Looking to the future, what are the three most important areas about which the Church of South Jersey should be concerned?
Data from each of the sessions was gathered, reflected on and consolidated by guest listeners present at the sessions. Many concerns on a range of issues surfaced at the sessions, but six key pastoral priorities were cited most often by Speak Up participants. In the fall of 2006, parishioners from each parish facilitated parish meetings to obtain suggestions on how to best implement the six pastoral priorities. The suggestions submitted by all parishes were consolidated into a format of goals and strategies to be proposed, discussed and recommended for Bishop’s approval at a diocesan-wide Assembly attended by pastors and parishioners which was held December 9, 2006. As a result, 14 goals and numerous strategies have been identified as components of the six Pastoral Priorities.