SEATTLE – Thirteen lay Catholics and two clergy from around the Archdiocese of Seattle have been appointed to a new pastoral council that will immediately begin creating a new pastoral plan for the church in Western Washington.
Focused on elevating the voice of the laity, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne intends to make the pastoral council a permanent body. In addition, the archdiocese recently launched the Catholic Survey to gather insights from current and former Catholics as part of the planning process.
“The church is all of the people of God, not just the hierarchy, which is why I need to hear from the people to keep in touch with their lived realities and work with them to achieve the mission entrusted to us all by Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Etienne said.
“Our goal is to become a more mission-oriented church that continually draws people closer to Christ, regardless of where they are in their faith journey,” Archbishop Etienne wrote in a letter to the people of the archdiocese in February. “It’s really about understanding what God is calling us to do right now.”
The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council is the first such panel appointed here since 2001. Nominations were fielded for five months, and more than 90 lay candidates were vetted. The council members will help inform long-term ministry planning, lay the foundation for greater mission effectiveness, and create a more united church, Archbishop Etienne said. The original members will serve two-year terms. (See box for those appointed to the pastoral council.)
The council will review data gathered from the Catholic Survey to inform its work and provide an initial report of its findings in the fall.
The survey, which takes about 30 minutes to complete, asks questions about a person’s faith history and beliefs, the archdiocese’s strengths and weaknesses and potential priorities for the new pastoral plan, closing with open-ended responses, according to Tim Hunt, the archdiocese’s executive director for planning and mission effectiveness, who will be managing the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
“We’ve received over 6,400 completed surveys, which is encouraging because it shows a high level of engagement and interest in the future of our church,” Hunt said.
“If Catholics have already taken the survey, I’d ask that they share the survey with others who may not be aware of it,” Hunt said. “We especially hope for even greater feedback from middle-aged to younger adult Catholics and those who were once Catholic but no longer consider themselves to be so.”
Archdiocesan Pastoral Council members
These are the newly appointed members of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
Kim Brennan, St. Rose, Longview
Patricia Davis, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Seattle
Jesus Gomez-Sanchez, St. Joseph, Vancouver
Ian Heisser, Immaculate Conception, Seattle
Jim Hochstein, St. Catherine, Seattle
Jaisy Joseph, St. Anne, Seattle
Ignacio Martinez, St. Alphonsus, Seattle
Lisa Matchette, St. James Cathedral, Seattle
Kerry McMahon, St. Frances Cabrini, Lakewood
Dana Questad, St. Luke, Shoreline
Gary Thebault, St. Mary, Anacortes
Claudia Vargas, St. Theresa, Federal Way
Thuy-Tien Vo, St. Anne, Tacoma
Deacon Scott Aikin, St. Joseph, Vancouver
Father Colin Parrish, St. Anne, Seattle