Visioning: Looking far ahead at future of parish

Visioning. There are so many ways to imagine what visioning is.

I think of the Seat of Seeing in the “Lord of the Rings,” where Frodo was able to see far beyond normal human sight with images much more vivid then normal imagination.

I also think of “Star Wars” when Luke Skywalker was flying the Tie-Fighter in the cavern on the Death Star waiting to shoot down the tiny hole to start a chain-reaction explosion. You may remember one of the voices saying what is written on the cover of this Vernacular, “Wait for it … Wait for it …”

Luke used the Force, a source of knowing beyond normal capacity, to see the hole and hit it.

Or I think of the recent Disney film “Finding Dory,” in which Bailey the beluga whale used echo-location to see far beyond the normal range of sight to guide Dory.

Whatever image works best for you, the point of visioning is this: to see far beyond the normal range sight for a community in order to find the best course of action to take for the future. For example, if one is lost in the wilderness, it is best to get to the top of a hill to see as far as possible to plot a route. Or, if one is driving to California, it is important to pick up a map and formulate directions before starting the road trip.

When it comes to a community, visioning is concerned with the next best steps of action to achieve a goal. When it comes to parish visioning, this goal is the mission of the Gospel: to proclaim God’s love for the Redemption of sin through the Advent of Christ so that by Confessing his name all people might receive Eternal life – G.R.A.C.E.

Where Frodo used a chair, Skywalker used the Force, a beluga whale uses echo-location, a lost person uses a hill, and a traveler uses a map, parish visioning uses dialogue to see where it needs to go. And this is exactly what I am asking of every parishioner during this parish visioning process: Will you please dialogue with me so that I can know the hopes, dreams and needs of our parish family so that we can make a plan for the future of our parish?

One of my greatest pastoral joys is to receive input and implement a vision. It is only through dialogue and conversation that I will be able to see Visioning: Looking far ahead at future of parish the needs of the parish. Visioning is an essential part of our prophetic faith.

As the prophet Habakkuk states, “For the vision is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late” (Hb 2:3). Advent is a season of hopeful anticipation; a time of waiting. Let us anticipate our future. Let us discern the needs of our appointed time.

Please begin thinking now about what you hope and dream for St. Francis. We will be sending out surveys and leading group discussions in January and February to foster dialogue and receive your input. Let us plan a future full of success for the promotion of the Gospel as the St. Francis parish family.