FALL RIVER, Mass. — While working from home is the new normal, this new normal can come with limitations.
But that hasn’t left, the diocesan Strategic and Pastoral Planning Office spinning its wheels. On the contrary, on April 7, the office announced the creation of a brand new website to keep diocesan faithful informed of the progress made in Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha’s mission of “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope.” The new site, fallriverplanning.org, also provides visitors with a “score card” designed to provide status updates on some of the recommendations put forth.
It’s important for folks across the diocese to know that everyone involved in this process recognizes the gravity of the pandemic crisis, but if things can still be accomplished during these trying times, every practical effort is being made, hopefully sharing some bright spots in the dark days we’re facing.
In announcing the new website, Laura Carrillo, director of the diocesan Strategic and Pastoral Planning Office, said, “We launched a planning website based on the strategic plan and recommendations presented by over 400 volunteer planners representing almost every parish in our diocese. They spent many months last spring and summer researching the current state as well as what best practices could look like for the future of our parishes and diocese.”
Explaining the purpose for the website and what visitors can expect, Carrillo added, “The site has a few purposes:
1. To introduce the planning process overall.
2. To provide everyone with a concise and visual way to stay updated on the status of many of the recommendations made. The Planning Scorecard page is designed specifically for that.
3. To offer another feedback mechanism for those with questions or comments.”
As of April 6, the website scorecard highlights the status of 16 of the 60-plus recommendations spawned by the more than 400 volunteer planners and diocesan representatives. Eight of the highlighted recommendations have been 100 percent competed.
The eight showcased include:
— The development and distribution of real estate policies and procedures.
— Securing a climate-controlled facility to inventory, store, sell/donate Sacramental goods belonging to the diocese, as well as establishing a partnership with organizations to help value and distribute the items.
— The creation of a Bishop’s Blog to enhance the voice of Bishop da Cunha to diocesan faithful. This was launched in October of 2019.
— Upgrading the Chancery’s general ledger and integrating billing and accounts receivable, which was completed in the winter of 2020.
— The creation of a central diocesan database.
— Streamlining the diocesan Fall River campus with regards to contracts and vendors.
— Hiring a director of strategic planning, done in July 2019.
— Enhancing employee morale and retention by creating an employee assistance program at Catholic Social Services, which was implemented at the end of 2019.
The other projects listed share some that are in progress and others that are tabled for the future. Many share a timetable based on priorities and the entire focus of Rebuilding in Faith and Hope.
The planning website also includes a menu choice that provides faithful with a “form to ask any questions, share feedback or just say hello!” Other menu options include providing information on the strategic and pastoral planning process; an explanation of the scorecard; an intercessory prayer for the diocese to Our Lady of Fall River; the Diocesan Pastoral Council; the Bishop’s Blog; and links to Catholic Social Services; and the diocesan Catholic Foundation.
“We anticipate adjusting and adding to the site as new milestones are reached and as new planning initiatives take shape” said Carrillo. “A special thank you to many members of our Diocesan Pastoral Council who helped develop and review content as well as test the site itself.”