Advent Pastoral Letter from Bishop Hundt

The Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador

Pastoral Planning Process

“…the hope to which we are called…”

Pastoral Letter to the People of the Diocese


Dear People of the Diocese,

On the first Sunday of Advent in 2014, I wrote to you about the beginning of a diocesan-wide pastoral planning process; and, I asked you to pray for its success at your Sunday Masses.  A great deal has happened since then.

In 2015, an initial comprehensive survey was sent to each of the 52 Catholic Communities of our diocese seeking basic statistical information and an overview of each community’s sense of vibrancy and health.  In 2016 and 2017, follow-up questionnaires were sent to each community seeking ratification of the initial survey results and updates on each community’s situation and development.

Generally, the survey and questionnaires sent to the parishes and missions have led to good discussions at the local level and to the development of positive new initiatives.  As much as they have made communities more aware of some of the challenges they are facing, the survey and questionnaires have also been a catalyst leading communities to take positive steps in meeting these challenges.

To date the Diocesan Pastoral Planning Advisory Committee has travelled to 9 parishes in the diocese for 11 meetings with representatives of 15 Catholic Communities.  At these meetings, a review of the origins and goals of this process is presented and the parish representatives are invited to share their thoughts on how this process has been unfolding in their community.  These meetings of the Advisory Committee with faith community representatives have been very positive.  At some of these meetings Community Representatives have expressed surprise to learn that it is NOT the goal of this process to close churches.  The Advisory Committee has been glad to be able to lay this fear of church closures to rest; and, to hear from the Community Representatives of the good things happening in their Church Communities.  Regarding these meetings, the Advisory Committee’s biggest regret has been that time and distances have kept them from having yet been able to meet with every Parish and Mission in the diocese.  However, the Committee is continuing to work towards this goal of meeting with each Community.

I have a growing sense that this pastoral planning process should be an ongoing process in our diocese.  As our parishes and missions are continually changing and evolving, it is important for us to have a means by which to recognize and respond to these changes and challenges in a healthy and vibrant way.  As this process is about discerning how best to be healthy and vibrant Catholic Faith Communities, prayer must be an important and integral part of the process.  Only by opening ourselves to God’s guidance and grace can we effectively discern His will and actively pursue it.  With this in mind, I ask all of our parishes and missions to continue to include our Diocesan Pastoral Planning intercession in the Sunday General Intercessions and to conclude by praying together our special Diocesan Pastoral Planning Concluding Invocation.

The season of Advent is a special time of hope for we Catholic people.  Please join with me in praying that through our ongoing Pastoral Planning Process we may continue to grow in “…the hope to which we are called…”.

Yours in Christ,

+Peter Hundt

Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador