“I want it to be ‘our plan’ as one people of God.”
“The real work is ahead of us!” said Bishop Ryan once months ago to the clergy, as the diocese was in the middle of the preparation for his ordination and installation as the next bishop of Chalan Kanoa. he was referring of course to a Pastoral Plan which will serve as a roadmap and guide for his episcopal ministry and the entire diocese. In an interview with the North Star, Bishop Ryan said that having been appointed bishop of Chalan Kanoa, to have a pastoral plan for the next five years, is a priority.
On February 23, 2017 Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez, initiated the first step on this five-year journey by establishing a Bishop’s Committee on Diocesan Pastoral Planning. The Committee is composed of 8 individuals that will assist the bishop in processing the pastoral plan framework, but equally important is the membership of the clergy from the various parishes and their parish councils. The members of the Pastoral Planning Committee: Bishop Ryan Jimenez, Fr. Ken Hezel, Fr. James Balajadia, Sr. Nina Caccam, Sonia Camacho, Jackie A. Quitugua, James DLG Sablan and Dr. Rita A. Sablan as it’s Chairwoman. “The purpose of this committee is to assist the bishop in the preparation, development, and implementation of the pastoral plan for the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa”, Dr. Sablan explained to the North Star.
The group is currently meeting every Monday preparing the groundwork for the coming months while looking at the different areas of ministry and life of the Church in Chalan Kanoa. “As we progress with our work in the committee, we will be formulating sub-committees that will assist us in carrying out the various tasks needed to ensure that there is much awareness and understanding of the pastoral plan”, says Dr. Sablan. “As a matter of fact, we have also recently formed the Communications and Media Sub-Committee composed of Fr. Jason Granado, Rommel Buenaflor and Sonia Camacho. Their role is to publish information as a source of reference and an outreach to our community on the pastoral plan.”
A ‘guide’ or a ‘gameplan’
This is the third Pastoral Plan initiative ever done by the diocese since its establishment in 1984. Bishop Ryan explained that the last Pastoral Plan we had on record was up in 2006. “When I was appointed Apostolic Administrator in 2010, initiating a pastoral plan was one of the limitations in my role. It was a transitional role so I could not do this. Having been appointed bishop of Chalan Kanoa, to have a pastoral plan for the next five years is a priority. This will guide all of us in the diocese to respond to the pastoral needs of the people based on our current context/situation in the diocese. Through this plan, we will identify areas of ministry that we consider as our priorities. Through this plan, we will have a mission and a vision as a diocese and will guide us in our work. Through this plan, we will have a “guide” or a “game plan” if you may for our local Church.”
Asked about how he envisioned the diocese in the next 5 years, Bishop Ryan responded that he will have a clearer idea after he had completed the “assessment” that he initiated through the listening sessions in all the parishes which he started since January. “It is like building a house. We need to have a plan. We need to look at many factors. We are setting the foundation right now for what
I expect to see in five years. This needs a prayerful discernment. We are starting the process now. By the time when we are able to identify our priorities then we can have a clearer “picture” of what we hope to accomplish in five years”, Bishop Ryan explained.
He emphasized that he wanted the process to be as consultative as much as possible and collaborative as much as possible. “I have my own ideas but I want these ideas, thoughts, and reflections to be on the same page with what the people, clergy, religious “see” as needs and priorities. I don’t want it to be “just my plan” but I want it to be “our plan” as one people of God.”
Looking beyond Pastoral Plan even as Bishop Ryan and the diocese is at the threshold of the five-year Pastoral Plan, the young and zealous bishop is already looking beyond the horizon. On his first clergy meeting and recollection as Bishop of Chalan Kanoa last December, he already presented and laid out his desire to the priests to have the very first Diocesan Synod. “This Pastoral Plan is a preparation for the Synod”, said Bishop Ryan. “A Diocesan Synod is more extensive in terms of scope and work. This pastoral plan will pave the way for a future “synod”. If we plan for the next five years, then I think a synod would be the next step after five years.”
Looking beyond the Committee
The establishment of Bishop’s Committee on Pastoral Plan is also the first step towards a larger collaboration among the clergy and the faithful as the diocese embark on this momentous yet sacred task. The names of the committee members should simply be the first of hopefully a long list of many names of vibrant Catholics and parish groups who will join and support the bishop in this journey.
Asked about her reaction on being asked by Bishop Ryan to chair the committee, Dr. Rita Sablan’s initial reaction was “this is going to be a lot of work and time!” “I am humbled by the bishop’s request to assist in the planning committee for the pastoral plan of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa”, Dr. Sablan expressed. “However, having discerned this with Bishop Ryan, I felt that I can respond to his request to lead the pastoral planning committee. As a lead facilitator for the planning committee and an alumna of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, I am grateful that I can give back to the diocese in this capacity.”