The US Bishops published Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us in 1999. By the time we get to paragraph 168, there is a plan and now, A Call to Implementation. This needs more than just words on a page or website. It presumes church leaders will have a buy-in (168). The bishops outline five actions. Here are the first three:
Study the plan, pray about it, and discuss it with others. (169)
Analyze the situation in which adults actually live in Church and society. (170)
Develop action steps for implementing the plan. (171)
In sum, what do these mean? First to read the words and mull over with others the insights in particular parish and diocesan situations. When there’s an emphasis on adults, do we feel children are being left behind? When we reach out to adults, what has been our feedback? Do we know the concerns of adults–parents, empty-nesters, single people? When do we see people at church? How open will people be to encountering Jesus at home?
New frontiers will require some genuine enthusiasm. When we are discussing with other catechetical leaders, do we muster this feeling and drive amongst ourselves? Whatever the local plan of action entails, the bishops recommend “realism, simplicity, conciseness, and clarity.” (Ibid.)
A final quote from the bishops on this implementation:
The plan will address the needs of the whole community, for “the true subject of catechesis is the Church.” (GDC 78) It will do this especially by attending to the various relational networks and populations in the parish. Ultimately, it will reach to the heart and mind of the individual adult and his or her need for primary proclamation, basic catechesis, or continuing education in the faith. When individuals and small communities seek out the formation they need—and when parishes have oriented their ministries to provide it—then adult faith formation will be a true priority. (172)