Shepherds, Guardians, and Family Circles
What turns an ordinary parish into a parish of Dynamic Disciples? Sherry Weddell (Forming Intentional Disciples) states that only 7% of parishioners are actively involved in the parish and that number could be even less in larger parishes. Why? It's all about relationships. People getting to know each other, becoming one family of caring and praying members. In many parishes, the Pastor may not have the time, resources or access to every parishioner and family. The Good Shepherd ministry assists the Pastor in everyday relationship building in the parish family.
The purpose of a Good Shepherd culture in your parish is to develop an involved, dynamic, and extended Catholic community that goes beyond the Pastor and the church door on Sundays. Pastors and priest come and go but parishioners remain; they form the extended family of the domestic church that makes the parish warm and caring and inviting – an important part of relationship building so vital to forming Dynamic Disciples.
Every parishioner belongs to a Family Circle. Each Circle has a Shepherd and an assistant to stay in touch and maintain a personal bond with those members. Such groups already exist in the parish in the form of ministries such as Knights of Columbus, Society of St Vincent de Paul, the choir, school organizations, RCIA, rosary guild, and youth groups. While these are all good ministries, they have the potential to become great ministries by focusing on more on mission and prayer.
For those who choose not to be active in an established Family Circle, the Shepherd may only be involved to the extent of sending a personalized Christmas card, birthday or anniversary card or to check on them during difficult times such as extreme heat, cold, hurricanes or even during quarantine. The Shepherd’s responsibility for these families is to stay in contact and to be available if there is a need or sometimes only to share a cup of coffee and most important, pray for them.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
(To be continued...)