"Reform is not an end in itself, but a means to give a strong Christian witness; to promote a more effective evangelization; to promote a more fruitful ecumenical spirit; to encourage a more constructive dialogue with all."
~ Pope Francis, February 2015 Cardinal address
Archdiocesan Strategic Planning
Planning efforts have been ongoing over the past few decades, with most efforts taking place at the deanery level. The Archdiocese of Seattle consists of 10 deaneries, which act as neighborhoods of parishes, each led by an elected dean. The dean and pastoral leaders from each deanery come together regularly to discuss regional issues, share resources, plan, pray and provide support to each other. They also have an extensive process of consultation with parish leadership and parishioners. To better serve the faithful, deanery-led strategic planning work has resulted in opening and closing parishes over the past 25 years.
Realities We Face Today
Similar to many American dioceses, the Church in Western Washington faces an ever-changing landscape that has affected parish communities. The traditional neighborhood parish serving local Catholic families
has struggled to survive amid changing demographics, urbanization and other factors. While changing demographics have led to significant increases in Hispanic, Vietnamese and Korean Catholic participation,
total Catholic population in the Archdiocese of Seattle is down. Additionally, there has been a decrease in Mass attendance, celebration of sacraments and new Catholic converts, resulting in a surplus of parishes across the archdiocese without enough priests to serve them.
Current Strategic Planning Efforts
Strategic Planning is our response to the Pope’s call for us to ‘read the signs of the times,’ while adapting both to the needs of the faithful and to historical changes. Current efforts examine our resources and how we can best use them to support vibrant, sustainable parish communities across the entire Archdiocese of Seattle.
Due to a variety of factors, including a decrease of engaged parishioners, a lack of priests, dwindling finances, ministry needs and campus conditions, the strategic planning efforts have recently intensified with active work taking place in the Pierce and the South Seattle Deaneries.