As most of you know, Old St. Patrick’s Church kicked-off an in-depth strategic planning process earlier this year. The effort was initiated and lead by OSP’s Board of Advisors, with members and staff engaged throughout the process to ensure that the plan truly reflects a collective vision. With gratitude to everyone who participated on any level, I am proud to share what I believe is a great roadmap for the next phase of our journey together.
While Old St. Pat’s has been guided by numerous strategic plans over the past 30 plus years, as one member commented when reflecting on where OSP is today, “This isn’t a phoenix rising story anymore.” This is a vibrant and spirit-filled faith community that is actively living out a shared call to be Disciples of Christ, joining together in building the Kingdom. But, if that is true, why do we need a new plan, can’t we just keep doing what we’re doing?
Of course, we all know that would never work. Our challenge then is to ensure that OSP moves purposefully forward by finding creative ways to make the Catholic experience relevant and exemplary, inside our walls, in the midst of our community and, most importantly, out into the world around us.
While I couldn’t possibly list all of the inspiring and insightful comments that were shared during the planning process, there was one in particular that I think captures – not just the essence of Old St. Pat’s today – but also why we can never lose sight of our call to keep after the work of growing the faithful so that others may experience the rich promise of God’s love for our world.
“The experience at Old St. Pat’s reflects my feelings about Catholic worship, e.g., welcoming, modern, inclusive, joyous and uplifting. The St. Pat’s philosophy seems to be one of always searching to improve, whether that is in programs, music or ways to respond to social and spiritual needs.”
And that is precisely what this plan is designed to help us do–improve how we as a community of faith Encounter, Engage and Serve with and for one another. As you will discover on the following pages, there are four main areas of focus in the plan:
- Campus Master Plan
- Leadership Planning
- Mission and Ministry
- Resource Development
In each of those focus areas, action-oriented goals have been developed that will allow OSP to build on our success while reimagining and, in some cases, re-igniting our commitment to full member engagement, faith formation throughout every life stage, empowered lay leadership and to social justice. It is my belief that, inspired by the Spirit, we can and must work together to make sure Old St. Pat’s is the best expression of the Church that we can be.
Given all that is happening right now in our world, throughout the country and certainly right here in our city, a vibrant and engaged Old St. Pat’s may be more crucial than at almost any point in our lifetimes. We, as members of this community of faith, have an opportunity to be a catalyst to other churches, to the larger Catholic community and to all of our brothers and sisters. Old St. Pat’s has a vital role to play in modeling how we can live together and thrive together (especially in Chicago with our political, economic, and social struggles and battles). And, while I recognize that yes, we are one church and this is one plan, I know that together with the Spirit we can create life-changing ripple effects for one another, the larger city of Chicago, and beyond.
So first, I invite you to read through the plan to learn more about the goals and strategies. They are a culmination of your collective vision and desires. While the final plan was indeed drafted and vetted by members of the Board and OSP staff, every element of OSP’s plan for “what’s next” has been inspired by you, the members.
Next, and even more importantly, I am explicitly asking you to accept my invitation to engage in the process of bringing this plan to life. Talk to someone on staff or feel free to reach out to our Board members via email to let them know what you are interested in. (BOA@oldstpats.org)
In closing, I want to especially thank the Board of Advisors for their continued leadership, vision and tireless commitment to the Old St. Pat’s community. I want to recognize and thank the folks on the Strategic Planning Committee who stepped up to help shepherd us through the past several months of work, and I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in the planning process by lending your voice and opinions.
Blessings to you all,
Fr. Tom Hurley, Pastor