Your Input Needed: A Vision For Our Church

A lady shares her ideas at the St. Elizabeth parish listening session on July 19. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

Megan Marley

“One of my primary responsibilities as a shepherd is to provide a vision for our church as we move down the path of salvation in this life, to carry out the mission of Jesus,” said Bishop Johnston in his welcoming remarks the evening of July 18 at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in St. Joseph.

“But in order to craft a vision that’s going to be effective and impactful in the lives not only of our own people but all the people out there whom the Lord is calling into his family the Church, I need to take some time to hear the voices of the Lord’s family—and that’s all of you.”

Over 250 people attended the first of 10 hour-and-a-half long listening sessions for the “One Heart & Mind: A Vision For Our Future” Mutually Shared Vision Development Process. Similar sessions at St. Elizabeth and Holy Cross parishes in Kansas City, and St. Therese, North parish, Parkville were also well attended. (Another session at St. Sabina parish, Belton, occurs at 7-8:30 pm July 25, the evening of this publication’s printing.) Bishop Johnston and several members of the Listening Team were there to listen and take in the ideas, hopes and opinions of the laity on a vision for the local Church.

The evening began with a prayer to the Holy Trinity for the visioning process.

“This won’t make any difference unless the Lord is the builder, right? The Lord’s gotta be with us and involved in all that we do. So we need to begin with prayer,” the Bishop said.

“You’re not going to hear any more words from me tonight except for when we pray and I give a blessing at the end, so I’m all ears!”

Participants in prayer at the July 18 listening session at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in St. Joseph, MO. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

After prayer, attendees had a couple minutes of silence to reflect on a handout with these questions, thinking about them in the context of the entire diocese:

What three things do you appreciate about the Diocese?

What is your vision for the Diocese in the coming years? What are three areas of emphasis for that vision?

In those three areas, what would you like to see accomplished across the diocese? If people, parishes and pastors focused efforts, what bold outcomes could be achieved?

The crowd then took about 10-15 minutes to discuss in small groups, to help clarify their thoughts before coming up to address the Bishop with their responses.

Each group of questions was allotted several minutes for people to come up and respond, each person limited to one minute so more could share their views. Spoken responses were recorded to keep an accurate record of their words for the Visioning Team to return to while crafting the Mutually Shared Vision plan this Fall, and all attendees were asked to share their ideas on the handout for the same purpose.

At 8:30, the evening wrapped up with a Hail Mary and a blessing from the Bishop.

“I really want to thank you all—that was a great gift for me, and I know that in a room like this full of people it’s probably a little nerve wracking to get up and talk and to share things,” he said, “and I sure want to take home whatever you’ve written down.”

Attendees at the St. Elizabeth gathering take a quiet moment to reflect on the questions posed by the listening session. Those who cannot attend a listening session in person are invited to share their thoughts via an online form: (Megan Marley/Key photo)

“Catholic Leadership Institute is helping facilitate this whole process, and is taking all the information, the data we collect at the listening sessions and compiling it for us so that we have in a sense the bigger picture at the end of this.”

“[The Visioning Team is] going to help me articulate a vision and the priorities we want to set together as a Church. I’m a firm believer that I can’t do 10 things at once, but I can do one or two or three top things pretty well…I want to identify the top things that are really at the forefront of our life, in the history of this Diocese right now. What are the top things we need to put our energy and our focus around, that help us to carry out our call as the baptized to be disciples of Jesus in the world today.”

There are still a few more listening sessions to come; visit for times, locations and updates on the process.


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November 25, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph