The diocese wants you!

CHARLESTON — Bishop Robert J. Baker asked the diocesan pastoral council, the curia, and the presbyteral council to review the document “Much Awaits Us,” and he is now seeking the input of the faithful in South Carolina.

The document was written in the Diocese of Charleston as a result of Pope John Paul II’s pastoral letter, “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” from 2001. The pope’s letter calls for pastoral planning at all levels of the church. Pastoral planning is a way of identifying priorities in church ministries or parish life, as did the Synod of Charleston in 1990-95.

In his letter, the pope stated: “I therefore earnestly exhort the pastors of the particular churches, with the help of all sectors of God’s people, confidently to plan the stages of the journey ahead, harmonizing the choices of each diocesan community with those of neighboring churches and of the universal church.

“This rich legacy of reflection must not be allowed to disappear, but must be implemented in practical ways,” the pope wrote. “What awaits us therefore is an exciting work of pastoral revitalization — a work involving all of us.”

The South Carolina synod defined key pastoral areas for the diocese and parishes. The work of the synod continues today. According to Lisa Rawlins, director of the Office of Planning and Synod Implementation, church ministry initiatives include starting RCIA programs as a way to evangelize people interested in becoming Catholic, or creating a program for adult education to enhance our formation and understanding of the faith.

“Much Awaits Us” will help Bishop Baker review goals and objectives and develop the diocesan pastoral plan, which incorporates the priority areas, goals and objectives, Rawlins said.

Catholics interested in participating in the identification process of pastoral planning priorities can go to the Web site at under “Diocesan Pastoral Council” and download the form. Write in your responses and return by mail to “Much Awaits Us” at P.O. Box 818, Charleston, SC 29402, or fax to (843) 965-4990.