In the year-to-year, decade-to-decade life of an archdiocese, strategic pastoral planning is a necessity. It has been done throughout the history of the Archdiocese of Detroit. In recent decades, however, the Archdiocese of Detroit has evolved in regards to how such planning is done.
In 1994, the Council of Vicars and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, two groups who advise the Archbishop on various matters, identified vicariate pastoral planning as one of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s highest priorities. Accordingly, then-archbishop Cardinal Adam Maida worked with these bodies in efforts to ensure that such planning would happen from the parish-level on up, as opposed to decisions coming from “the top down.”
Nine years later, this groundwork resulted in the introduction of a detailed new process of pastoral planning. This process would involve people at the parish- and vicariate-levels, identifying priorities for strengthening the parishes and schools in their respective areas. In the fall of 2004, the process was put into action as the parishes in the archdiocese embarked on a program titled Together In Faith. Between the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2006, thousands of people across the Archdiocese took part in discussions regarding their own parishes, schools and vicariates. These Catholics developed plans focused on the future growth of the Church in southeastern Michigan, with particular focus on evangelization, leadership development and stewardship. The results of this plan were announced in March 2006 along with Cardinal Adam Maida’s pastoral letter, The Journey Before Us. Over the next five years, these plans would serve as guideposts for the pastoral planning at parishes within the Archdiocese of Detroit.
In 2011, as much had changed in southeast Michigan to impact the initial planning done in Together In Faith, a new effort was launched to involve the faithful at the parish level. Introduced in January 2011, the current phase, Together In Faith: Phase II, was begun.