Bishop Johnston institutes visioning process for future of the Diocese

By Jack Smith
Catholic Key Editor

Since arriving in Kansas City in November 2015, Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr. has travelled the diocese seeking to learn about the needs and aspirations of the people of God in Kansas City – St. Joseph. This month he has announced the appointment of a diverse group of people throughout the diocese to serve on a Visioning Leadership Team to assist him in the development of a mutually-shared vision for the diocese.

Achieving this mutually-shared vision will begin with twelve listening sessions throughout the diocese. “We will purposefully engage in conversation, including the thoughts and hopes of our brothers and sisters across the diocese who will participate in listening sessions,” Bishop Johnston wrote in his appointment of the Visioning Leadership Team.

There will be one listening session for priests, one for chancery staff and ten regional listening sessions open to all. And listening is what these sessions are all about according to Dino Durando, Director of the Office of the Domestic Church and Discipleship, who is helping facilitate the process. Bishop Johnston will attend all twelve listening sessions where people will be given the opportunity to express their thoughts on a vision for the diocese, openly and without argument. The sessions will take place in July and are listed along with this article.

“The pastoral priorities that are prayerfully discerned through this process will help the People of God in our diocese work more cohesively to accomplish God’s work in our time,” Durando said.

The purpose of the process is to help the bishop discern and define the components of a mutually-shared vision for the diocese which will include:

• A compelling Vision statement (unifying theme) for the diocese
• Three Priorities – major areas of focus – for the diocese for the next three years
• Six Goals (two within each priority) that will be outcomes in the next two-three years

“We will honestly assess our needs as a diocese and align them to the larger call of living as households of faith united in one Church as disciples of Jesus Christ,” Bishop Johnston said. “We will also be creative in approaching the goals to set and bold outcomes to achieve.”

Discipleship is very much a focus of the visioning process. As homework before the process begins, Bishop Johnston gave each member of the Visioning Leadership Team a copy of Forming Intentional Disciples by Sherry Weddell, Executive Director of the Catherine of Siena Institute.

The team will be reading the book “to become familiar with the language of discipleship, specifically the way that Sherry Weddell describes the concept of intentional discipleship as a process of consecutive decisions that require the Church to meet people where they really are and help them progress in their relationship with Christ,” Durando said. “The book also provides a wealth of statistics regarding general trends and the current state of discipleship in today’s Church in the U.S.”
Durando explained that he hoped the book would help the team begin with a “shared vocabulary for our discussions and discernment as we seek to understand what the Holy Spirit is saying through the voice of the People of God.”

Barbara Eckert from the Catholic Leadership Institute will be helping to assist the process. Bishop Johnston described the Catholic Leadership Institute as “a highly regarded leadership and consulting ministry that serves the Roman Catholic Church across the United States.”

“Catholic Leadership Institute has assisted many archdioceses and dioceses with this process with very good results,” Durando said.  “Bishop Johnston has personal experience with this process and the lead consultant from CLI, Barbara Eckert, who helped him with this same process in his previous diocese, Springfield – Cape Girardeau.”

Bishop Johnston hopes as many as possible will participate in their regional listening session in July. For now he asks all to join him in prayer “for the fruitfulness of this effort.”

Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph Mutually Shared Vision Development Process

Listening Sessions Locations

Wednesday, July 18, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – St. Joseph, Our Lady of Guadalupe

Thursday, July 19, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Kansas City, St. Elizabeth

Friday, July 20, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Kansas City, Holy Cross

Monday, July 23, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Parkville, St. Therese North

Wednesday, July 25, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Belton, St. Sabina

Thursday, July 26, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Lee’s Summit, Our Lady of the Presentation

Saturday, July 28, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM – Clinton, Holy Rosary

Saturday, July 28, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM – Warrensburg, Sacred Heart

Monday, July 30, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Maryville, St. Gregory Barbarigo

Tuesday, July 31, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Liberty, St. James

*Several of these locations will hold the listening session in English and Spanish. The locations are still to be determined. Future communications of this schedule will include this information once it is confirmed.



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October 30, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph