Meeting Framework with Parish Leaders
1. The CDP administrator meets with the pastor and other parish leaders to set a time and place for a meeting with pastoral staff members and possibly the parish pastoral council depending on how leaders want to approach discussing the report data.
2. The CDP administrator makes copies of the parish report to distribute at the meeting and/or emails this report to the invitees.
3. Parish leaders can bring their personal CDP profile reports to compare their individual report with the parish report. Make sure everyone knows that this personal data is not to be shared with others at the meeting. That is private information unless a person chooses to share it.
Suggested Meeting Agenda
1. Open with a prayer. (You can use this discipleship prayer or one of your own.)
Lord, God, through baptism you have made us disciples, followers of Jesus who attend to his Word, pray and worship in his Spirit, experience love in his community of the Church, and are sent to serve by helping others as he did. Lead us, Father, more fully into your Kingdom, which Jesus came to begin and fulfill. Help us, through his Spirit, to adhere to him and bring his Good News to all we encounter. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
2. Have each parish leader “check in” by briefly describing one memorable event or idea that impressed them in the past week.
3. Pass out copies of the parish report (you may already have distributed them via email).
4. As you guide your leaders through the parish report, some things should initially be made clear to everyone:
- The CDP is designed to help Catholics get a snapshot of the ways they actualize discipleship in their own lives.
- The CDP is not a test and should not be treated as such for any reason.
- Just as there is not one way to be a disciple, there is no one way a parish expresses discipleship. Discipleship lived by a priest, for example, is different from that lived by a laborer, a teacher, a married person, or a lawyer. Similarly, a parish in a new suburb will exercise discipleship differently than a parish in the central city. The history of the parish, the personalities that shaped the parish over the years, the spirituality of any religious congregations serving the parish, and the immediate needs of the neighborhood can all be factors in how a parish exercises discipleship. The parish profile, however, gives a picture of present activity with the possibility of parish leaders reviewing that picture, discerning in prayer, and planning for the future.
- All tendencies to be judgmental should be carefully guarded. The purpose of the CDP is to allow people to see how they actually behave as disciples and to get insight into what this might be saying in their lives. As a parish leader, you can appreciate the individuality that each participant in your parish will show.
- The CDP will indicate in general how members of your parish express discipleship, those actions that are most frequent and those that are less frequent. This will allow the parish to come to some insight about itself and possibly set out directions for advancing one or another practice for growth among the parishioners or groups. As a result, the parish may decide to work through a particular resource or bring in someone with skills in a particular area for the benefit of the parish.
5. Review the results of each of the five expressions of Catholic discipleship from the parish report. Each parish will absorb the report differently. Some parishes may want parish leaders to review the entire report in one session; others may want to go expression by expression to absorb the richness of the experience. The Resources for Your Continuing Growth as a Disciple section at the end of the parish report contains opportunities for scripture sharing and prayer for each of the five expressions that you may want to include in your meeting with parish leaders. See item 3. SCRIPTURE REFLECTIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS here.
6. As parish leaders go through the report, they can use these suggested questions for each of the five expressions:
What in these results affirms our parish’s experience of discipleship? What surprises us?
What conclusions can we draw about our parish’s general practice of discipleship in this expression?
When we look at the highest and lowest ranked statements in this expression, what does this say to us as a parish?
What are some aspects of this expression that our parish would like to grow in the next year?
Remember that these are suggested questions; parish leaders may have other ways to discuss and digest the material.
7. After the five expressions have been explored, help the parish leaders summarize their discussion of the various expressions with these questions:
What conclusions would parish leadership come to about the parish in terms of the responses given in this report?
What follow-up discussions might seem appropriate in view of this report? With what committees or ministries?
What directions might parish leadership pursue in view of this report?
8. Have parish leaders review the section at the end of their individual profile report titled Resources for Your Continuing Growth as a Disciple that has several options for exploring Catholic discipleship more deeply.
9. As the discussion ends, talk about how the results of the parish report can best be communicated to the parish as a whole.
10. End the meeting by inviting the group to pray the Our Father and then share an appropriate greeting of peace.