Pastoral Planning

Pastoral Planning is a process that engages members of the faith community, invites them to take and express their baptismal responsibility to build up the Church through prayer, discernment, and actions that address the needs of the faith community and those served by it.

The Office of Pastoral Planning strives to assist parishes by providing a variety of toolkits and support to form active Parish Pastoral Councils capable of discerning the parish’s pastoral priorities and furthering those priorities using a Plan-Do-Check method of pastoral planning.


Larry Farmer, Director of Mergers, 856.583.2840,
Lisa Watson, Assistant Director of Pastoral Planning, 856.583.2843,


The Pastoral Council and Its Role

(1) How Can Spirituality Animate Our Pastoral Planning?

(4) How to Form the Pastoral Council to do Pastoral Planning (an information night)

(9) Why is Spirituality Essential for Parish Pastoral Councils?

NEW  (21) A Model for Discerning New Parish Pastoral Council Members

Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines
Click on the icons to download the Parish Pastoral Council Guidelines. The guidelines can be printed on letter size paper and
folded in half to make a booklet. If pastors need a number of booklets, please call Pastoral Planning at 856.583.2843.
We still have a supply left from our original print run. Additionally, in January 2011, the Chancery issued a directive
on the maintainence of minute books for parish pastoral and finance councils.
Click here for Minute Books for the Parish Pastoral Council and Parish Finance Council.

               November 2010
November 2010 Spanish


Building Parish Leadership

(2) What Skills Can Help Me Lead Teams/ Committees?

(7) How is Collaboration a Key to Leadership in Parishes and Beyond?

(12) Leadership Skills that Work 

Ground Rules and Good Meetings
Larry Farmer has put together two very simple documents that anyone can use for any meeting, whether in your parish or elsewhere.Characteristics of Good Meetings will provide you with tips on conducting productive meetings. Ground Rules are just that- simple ground rules we can remind ourselves of to contribute positively to a meeting.

Making Pastoral Planning Happen

(3) How Will We Choose Our Parish’s Pastoral Priority?

(5) Creating the Pastoral Plan

(11) How can the Pastoral Council Assess the Effectiveness of Its Pastoral Plan for the Six Pastoral Priorities?

(13) Seven Rules for Pastoral Planning by Parish Pastoral Councils

(19) How does our Parish’s Pastoral Plan for implementing the Pastoral Priorities correlate to the Barna Study?

Download the  Barna Community Study- Diocese of Camden 2012


Developing a Vibrant Parish Life

(8) What are Some Vital (and some not so vital) Signs of the Catholic Parish Today?

(14) How is Vibrant Parish Life Similar to a Successful Entrepreneurship?

(15) Hallmarks of a Vibrant Parish

What is a Vibrant Parish??
How does a parish know how life giving it has become? How can it see where and how the community can continue to grow into a more holy and dynamic People of God? Take a look at these Facets of A Vibrant Parish which provide some guidance both for assessment and planning for further growth.



Related Topics in Pastoral Planning

(6) How can we Forgive the Church and be Reconciled with One Another?

(10) What is the Vision for the Future of the Church of South Jersey?

(16) Parish Staff Ministry Report

(17) Ever Ancient, Ever New: the Art and Practice of Lectio Divina

(18) What Should I have on my Parish Website?


Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord!
“Our Christian faith extends an invitation to each of us to become agents of God’s compassion and healing in a wounded world. The tradition of compassion for the poor is quintessentially Catholic – the vision of God’s justice and Jesus’ way of compassion are integral to our mission.” –Jack Jerzeel, JustFaith Ministries
He observes that “Gathering is critical to the human hunger for God, to be formed in the way of Christ. But ‘gathering’ disconnected from ‘sending’ is something less than the gospel. Parishes that are not challenging folks to put their faith in action are losing people. In other words, if we don’t do ‘sending’ our ‘gathering’ loses its purpose…” Is your parish and gathering – sending parish?
Gathered and Sent