Looking Forward is the pastoral planning process of the Diocese of Ballarat. The management concept of ‘continuous improvement’ that underpins the Looking Forward process.
The new Looking Forward pastoral planning booklet 2021-2025 is now available to parishes. It is can be downloaded here
Looking Forward Prayer is available here
Brief history of Looking Forward:
Looking Forward commenced in 2014 with a ‘parish snapshot’ Self-Appraisal Survey that each parish completed. The Looking Forward pastoral planning resource booklet 2014 was also circulated widely amongst parishioners and others in the diocese. The information in this booklet was a catalyst for discussions at Looking Forward Gatherings held round the Diocese in 2014 and 2015. Parish focus Looking Forward meetings were held in 2016 and 2017.
2018: Until recently Ballarat Diocese had 51 parishes. Many of these parishes had become quite small in terms of people involved with parish life. Many priests were caring for more than one parish. This brought an increasing administrative workload on the priests, taking them away from their pastoral role. Each parish is legally required to undertake and complete all the financial, compliance, insurance and licencing obligations of being a parish. Amalgamating two or more parishes into one parish is an effective way to lessen the administrative workload and to save money by minimising duplication.
Three new parishes: Following a substantial consultation process, three new parishes have been formed in Ballarat Diocese, amalgamating thirteen former parishes in these three new parishes. The new parishes are:
St Mary MacKillop Parish, Western Border
(amalgamating the former parishes of Casterton, Coleraine, Edenhope, Hamilton and Harrow):
Holy Family Parish, Northeast Mallee
(amalgamating the former parishes of Sea Lake, Swan Hill and the northern part of Quambatook)
Parish of East Wimmera
(amalgamating the former parishes of Birchip, Charlton, Donald, St Arnaud, Wycheproof and the southern part of Quambatook).
A further key component of Looking Forward is the continuing development of Ministry Districts in the Diocese.
Ministry District is a term that applies to two or more parishes within a particular geographical area where the priests and parishioners have established a sharing of resources and who work in collaboration to further the mission of the Church. Some or all of the parishes in the Ministry District may already share a priest. The parishes in the Ministry District might also share (or aim to share) an employee (eg. Parish Manager, Finance Officer, Parish Coordinator, Sacramental Coordinator, Youth Ministry Worker) or they can plan and share gatherings, eg Faith Formation, discussions re Plenary Council, social gatherings, etc.