We search for the ultimate church that meets all our preferences…and lo and behold, sometimes we think we’ve discovered it. Then, disappointment inevitably comes in and dashes our high hope and leaves us with a choice: forsake that assembly in search of another, or stick around to see what kind of mosaic Jesus could build with a cooperative bunch of misfit pieces. (Beth Moore)
When the wind of the Spirit was blowing through the early church, a mosaic was being built though no one knew it at the time. It was a mosaic of living stones.
For the last several months a mighty wind has been blowing through Mission Santa Barbara, and pieces once scattered are connecting. In many ways, the Spirit has strengthened partnerships and built new ones. We’ve witnessed outreach to Mount Carmel parish after the fires and floods; new visioning with every entity of the Mission campus, including collaboration with the Mission staff on the design of the website and bulletin; work with Cottage Hospital on a February “healing event” in the wake of the disasters mentioned above. Importantly, with Father John as Guardian, our local friars, including the novitiate team, are uniting around new initiatives, as is the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara as a whole.
Remarkably, in the swirl of all this Spirit-filled activity – and more could be added to the above – the pastoral council has completed the first phase of work on a three year strategic plan, a “mosaic” design, that’s coming together with the guidance of prayer, conversation, and consultation with parish members – including over 100 responses to our formation questionnaire. In the words of one pastoral council member: “We are making history!”
The preliminary outline presented here (see other side) is the foundation for a plan to be presented to the parish community in mid-September. It groups major pastoral concerns into four areas: faith formation, liturgy, stewardship, and community building, and communication.
At their last meeting the pastoral council placed special emphasis on liturgy and has asked for special attention to engagement with young families formerly identified with the family mass community. This would be carried out by: first, a change in the parish Mass schedule to include a liturgy in the Mission church directed in specific ways toward children and families; second, the recruitment and training of liturgical ministers to reflect the changing face of the parish, including young families. The summer schedule will include social gatherings for parish-wide, inter-generational community building and sustained reflection on the role of liturgy and prayer aligned with the vision statement above.
The wind of the Spirit is blowing! Can you feel it?!
Our vision statement is our “north star”. It was crafted in consultation with every community of the Mission campus, with each expressing the vision in a unique way.
In the humble spirit of St. Francis, we foster reverence, care, and joy for all creation (peoples, creatures, environments) through ministry, service, and study by offering a gathering place where pilgrims, visitors, scholars, and communities can grow and thrive in God’s goodness.
These words identify who we are as a parish and how we move toward the shared vision stated above.
In the Franciscan tradition, we strive to live the gospel life in prayer, evangelization, outreach, and stewardship.
Foster a culture to warmly welcome the unique miracle of every person, strengthening all the bonds that bring us together.
For Adult Faith Formation: Offer opportunities for continuing education, prayer, and scripture study in order to form a community of disciples of Jesus Christ that helps to create a dynamic center of Franciscan Evangelization. For Religious Education: Provide the children, teens, and young adults of our parish the foundations of our Catholic doctrine in order to create a Catholic identity in the spirit of Saint Francis that will carry them throughout their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Create a plan to bring our worship and the pastoral sacramental care to life for the whole community through vibrant liturgical celebrations, pastoral care of the sick, and bereavement ministry that engage and nourish all as foundational dimensions of a community of Franciscan evangelization.
Foster a culture of Stewardship that values, recognizes and demonstrates appreciation for the abundant blessings at St. Barbara Parish
Advance the parish mission and its ministries through communications by informing, inspiring and engaging parishioners, visitors, the Old Mission, and the greater Santa Barbara community to all thrive in God’s goodness.