Renewing the Church:
A Pastoral Plan for The Diocese of San José

The Catholic Community of Santa Clara County

 Dear Friends,

 We, the Catholic Church in Santa Clara County, are blessed with great opportunities and challenges as we seek to carry out the work that Christ has given to us.  Blessed with the gift of faith and the vision it affords, we must take an honest look at our past and present circumstances and realistically plan for the future.

We are filled with great hope for the future of our Church.  As members of the Body of Christ, our hopes and dreams are rooted in Our Lordˇ¦s life, message, death, and resurrection.  This is the rock upon which our plans are based.

How can we, Christˇ¦s Church in Santa Clara County, be a sign of unity and an instrument of Godˇ¦s peace?  How can we fulfill the work that God has given to us?

As your bishop, I have been entrusted with the shepherding of our local Church.  An essential part of my ministry is to discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit as to how we might be both a sign and an instrument of Christˇ¦s Kingdom.

I engaged in a broad consultative process over the course of more than a year. I am grateful to all who have taken part in the consultation process.  Much, however, remains to be done.  I rely upon you ˇV and I thank you in advance ˇV for the work you will do in the months and years ahead.

In these pages, you will find a brief description of the three pastoral issues and the organizational issue, including recommendations for strategies to be adopted.  I pray that, in following this new Pastoral Plan, we will fulfill the mission Christ has given us to build the Kingdom promised by His resurrection.  May we truly be a sign of unity and an instrument of the peace of Godˇ¦s Kingdom. 

I entrust our plan to the care of Mary, mother of the Church, and to Joseph, that just and faithful servant of God.  With their intercession and example, may we truly be one holy people, Together in Christ.

With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San José

Mission of the Diocese of San José

As the Catholic Community of Santa Clara County, we seek to be a local Church that will inspire the people of this Valley to live the values taught by Jesus Christ, inspiring them to integrity and action.

A Vision for the Diocese of San José

A Church unafraid to dream

A Church that is in tune with the world around us

A Church the matters, making a real difference in peopleˇ¦s lives

A Church in which no one feels unwelcome or unwanted

An evangelizing Church, reaching out to the young and to the old

A witnessing Church: witnessing the poverty of Christ in a consumer society, witnessing the charity of Christ, witnessing the hope of Christ

A Church that shows forth the face of Christ by being known for compassion, forgiveness and love

A Church in which all are servants

A confident Church, a Church that is not gloomy and without joy. We should be able to laugh.

A community of disciples who seek to know the Lord and follow Him ever more closely, that perseveres in the teaching of the apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer.

A Church in which there is a priority of persons over things and of truth over expediency, and a Church where there is a priority of love over all else.

Pastoral Issues

After months of study and consultation, the Planning Process identified three critical pastoral issues for the future. These are not the only things we will do together; they represent areas of ministry in which we may have the greatest impact by devoting attention and resources to them.

Lay Leadership

The Catholic Church in Santa Clara County must recruit, develop and support lay leaders to meet the changing needs of our Church. We will:

o        Provide models, develop skills and systems to foster and support collaboration among laity, religious and clergy.

o        Create and sustain well-formed lay leaders, both paid and volunteer, in a systematic and intentional way. Develop a planned and organized system for ongoing formation.

o        Recruit both paid and volunteer lay leaders in a systematic and intentional way.  Develop a planned and organized system that attracts and places the most qualified people.

Youth and Young Adults

The Catholic Church of Santa Clara County must attract and engage youth and young adults in the life and leadership of the Church in significant ways. We will:

o        Demonstrate commitment to youth and young adults by allocating needed financial, staffing, facilities, training and spiritual resources.

o        Ensure that there are meaningful and highly visible roles for youth and young adults in the Church.

o        Involve youth and young adults in dialogue and partnership to develop new forms of ministry.  Incorporate the language and culture of youth and young adults into the worship and daily life of the Church.

The Social Justice Teaching of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church of Santa Clara County must help all Catholics to live Catholic Social Justice Teaching in areas such as the dignity of human life, housing, immigration, and labor. We will:

o        Develop a knowledge and an understanding of Catholic Social Justice Teaching through worship, catechesis, direct action and advocacy.  Provide opportunities for every Catholic to participate in living out the social justice teaching of the Church.

o        Promote participation in leadership and decision making for all cultural groups.

o        Model, advocate and lead efforts in developing solutions to the critical economic issues of Santa Clara County, which at this time include housing, just compensation and immigration. 

Organizational and Structural Issues

The Catholic Church in Santa Clara County must conduct its business affairs in a way that fully supports its participation in the mission of Christ as priest, prophet and shepherd.

It is essential to the health and welfare of our local Church and its participation in the mission of Christ that we undertake aggressive action in the following six areas:

1.  We will organize our parishes in new ways.
2.  We will share existing resources.
3. We will generate more funds to carry out the mission of the Diocese.
4. We will increase our ministerial leadership capacity.
5. We will provide the tools needed to do the job.
6. We will enhance our ability to communicate effectively.


Our future work will challenge us to new forms of partnership in planning and evaluation. The implementation efforts that begin now will determine how successful we will be.  

Bishop McGrath will lead the implementation, together with his Implementation Program Team, the Office for Parish and Planning and other Project Teams and appropriate advisory bodies.

Based on this Pastoral Plan, the Implementation Program Team will prepare an integrated work-plan for implementation.  This will include both pastoral and organizational changes.  Some of these initiatives, by their nature, will need to be implemented on the diocesan level, while other initiatives are more appropriately implemented at the deanery or parish level.

Involvement of each parish in the implementation will be critical to the programˇ¦s success. Each parish will form teams to work on the program initiatives. Diocesan level projects will also call on volunteers from parishes to work on those projects.

In order to assist the process of implementation of the strategies of this Plan, a diocesan ˇ§Implementation Fundˇ¨ has been established.  This fund will be available in the form of grants to help parishes and groupings of parishes to have sufficient resources to address the strategies linked to the critical issues of the pastoral and organizational elements of the Plan.

How Can I Get Involved?

There will be many opportunities for individuals to become involved in the plans and activities that will bring the diocesan Pastoral Plan into reality. Committed and faithful workers are needed in individual parishes, in inter-parish cooperative efforts, and in diocese-wide programs.

Check with your own parish office to see what action your parish is taking in relation to the Pastoral Plan.

For more information about diocesan initiatives, or a copy of the entire Pastoral Plan, contact:

Office for Parish and Planning
Diocese of San José
900 Lafayette St., Suite 301
Santa Clara, CA 95050

(408) 983-0144
e-mail: [email protected]