Students taught by world-class educators with access to modern faith-based curriculum and the latest learning technology. Church pews filled each Sunday with the young and old, inspired by the Gospel and their pastor’s message of resilience and hope. A new cathedral attracting visitors from across the globe, introducing many to the beauty of the Catholic faith.
This is a glimpse inside the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, where bishops, clergy and lay staff are collaborating on a historic partnership to strengthen and transform Catholic parishes and schools across Orange County to ensure they remain vibrant places of prayer, reflection and spiritual growth for generations to come.
Led by the Most Reverend Kevin Vann and his auxiliary bishops Timothy Freyer and Thanh Thai Nguyen, the Diocese of Orange Strategic Plan outlines the mission, vision and priorities of the Diocese of Orange. It’s the first plan of its kind in the Diocese. One of the many goals of the plan is to strengthen the faith in lifelong Catholics, while attracting new believers to Catholicism.
Since being launched in late 2018, the Strategic Plan includes several new programs that have been put in place to enhance evangelization, faith formation and fundraising programs across the Diocese.
“Great work continues to be accomplished as we continue to implement our Strategic Plan,” Bishop Freyer said. “This work has been done collaboratively through discussion, in-depth analysis, prayer and discernment. I’m proud of the successes we have achieved together and look forward to continuing our journey to ensure our Diocese remains vibrant and strong far into the future.”
Integral to the Strategic Plan is creating and implementing new policies and solid business practices uniformly across the Diocese, regardless of language and cultural differences at parishes serving Orange County’s diverse Catholic population.
Developed in a multi-year collaborative process with stakeholders across the Diocese, the Strategic Plan focuses on six key areas: Evangelization and faith formation, governance and leadership, clergy formation, stewardship and finance, Catholic schools and the Christ Cathedral Campus.
Bishop Vann has embarked on an effort to visit each parish to listen to pastors, assess evangelization efforts and learn how parishes can be further supported by the Bishop’s Office and Pastoral Center leaders. Best practices, successes and learning opportunities will be shared among parishes.
Recent progress under the Strategic Plan includes:
- Increasing the number of retreat days for teachers to two per year to enhance their work in the classroom and their own relationship with Christ.
- Almost a third of Diocese of Orange parishes sent teams to the Amazing Parish Conference to strengthen their organizational health, receive ongoing coaching to better serve their parishioners and focus on being mission-driven.
- Creating a formation program for new principals along with additional leadership training opportunities for school leaders, including marketing and enrollment workshops.
- Increasing overall school enrollment to more than 17,500 students across the Diocese through a new Retention, Enrollment, Marketing (REM) Program. The program will be rolled out to all 34 elementary schools by the end of 2021.
- Raising more than $400,000 for schools so far this fiscal year through new development and fundraising programs.
- Transitioning the Diocese of Orange banking partner to Farmers and Merchants Bank, leading to lower costs, increased transparency and enhanced customer service for diocesan schools and parishes.
- Recruiting and hiring experienced parish business managers with appropriate skill sets that will empower parish staff to achieve sustained success.
- Relaunching the Pastoral Services Appeal to strengthen fund development efforts by prioritizing efficiency and transparency, supporting both the diocesan pastoral ministries and increasing parish funding.
- Establishing a monthly Holy Hour in each parish so that priests, deacons, religious, staff and faithful will gather together for an hour of prayer.
Learn more about the Diocese of Orange Strategic Plan at rcbo.org/diocesan-strategic-plan/