“A pastoral plan serves as a roadmap for our journey as a Catholic Christian community, identifying key priorities and goals on the path ahead. It is rooted in prayerful reflection upon the Bible and our living tradition of faith. It also involves a thorough, accurate and honest assessment of our current pastoral situation, both the challenges and the opportunities before us…It is always wise to step back and consider what our key priorities as an archdiocese should be at this time, so that we can more effectively work together, and focus our efforts, and have a way of assessing how we are doing. That is what a pastoral plan allows us to do; it also helps us both to discover the tools we need to fulfill our mission, and to use our resources more wisely.” – Cardinal Collins
To learn more about the Pastoral Plan, visit
The Pastoral Plan of the Archdiocese of Toronto is the result of many years of consultation, dialogue, prayer and discernment. When he first arrived in the archdiocese in 2007, then Archbishop Thomas Collins asked every priest of the archdiocese to share their top priorities through confidential correspondence. This dialogue led to numerous committees sharing ideas and insights, with feedback coming from clergy, religious and lay representatives from across the archdiocese. From church basements to casual conversations at events, formal meetings to informal brainstorming, consultation was extensive. A steering committee made final recommendations to Cardinal Collins, who promulgated the pastoral plan the weekend of February 2/3, 2013. We will continue to use this resource as a spiritual roadmap for years to come. To learn more about the Pastoral Plan, visit www.archtoronto.org/pastoral
Our parishes are spiritual homes where we meet one another to encounter Christ. Our plan calls on us to make our 225 parishes places of welcome and hospitality, both for those who are with us each week and those who return home after many years. We will prepare ourselves with care each week to celebrate the sacraments and encourage attentive and active participation from everyone. We will support our priests and deacons as they lead the way, and when asked to assist, we will respond. It’s important that we celebrate the many parishes already engaged in outreach ministries and programs that support the family, the domestic church. Visit
www.archtoronto.org/pastoral to view the eight goals associated with “Parish Life”.
God is asking each of us to “cast our nets” and discover where He is leading us. We need priests to lead the parishes of the archdiocese, deacons to assist them, qualified lay people to support our diverse ministries and flourishing religious communities. Every Catholic can be a vocations advocate, through prayer, encouragement and invitation. We recognize the need to integrate our formal programs of formation for ministry, to ensure their effectiveness. We also can’t forget the priests who have faithfully served us over the years, ensuring they are cared for in their retirement. Together, we can foster a culture of vocations in our archdiocese. Visit
www.archtoronto.org/pastoral to view the six goals associated with “Vocations”.
Our pastoral plan challenges us to witness and serve in diverse ways and to be advocates where injustice occurs: through pastoral care to those who are poor and marginalized, to students on campus, to those who are imprisoned, seeking refuge or suffering physically or spiritually. We can do this by working with our parishes, lay movements, Catholic institutions, chaplaincies and various pastoral services. We are grateful for the good works accomplished through Catholic Charities and ShareLife, yet we need to do more. We hear the words at Mass, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”. How can we be the hands and face of Jesus in our community? Visit
www.archtoronto.org/pastoral to view the four goals associated with “Catholic Outreach in Justice and Love”.
The “New Evangelization,” simply put, is appreciating the joy that faith in Christ brings us and sharing it with others. We believe the world needs the gospel proclaimed now more than ever. Practically, we need to strengthen our public witness, and to provide informed Catholic voices by working with schools, universities and other institutions. We will utilize modern technology to participate in the dialogue, through religious and secular media, embracing social media and other tools that will lift up the gospel and provide powerful instruments of evangelization throughout our archdiocese. Visit
www.archtoronto.org/pastoral to view the five goals associated with “Evangelization of Society”.
St. Michael’s Cathedral, the mother church of the archdiocese, through the ministry of the archbishop, unites every local Catholic under the heavenly patronage of the great defender of the faithful, the archangel Michael. As the prototype of parish life, the cathedral will lead the way in pastoral care and public witness. The work already underway to maintain and repair the cathedral will continue. We also have exciting plans to develop the area near the cathedral - the “Cathedral Block” - into a place of gathering, worship and outreach, through St. Michael’s Choir School, space for outreach to the poor, and a centre to gather and teach, as well as to provide opportunities to engage the world through media and the arts. In a city of diverse cultures and a growing media presence, the Catholic Church must become a gateway of faith and evangelization. Visit
www.archtoronto.org/pastoral to view the four goals associated with “The Cathedral as Sign of our Mission”.
Reflecting on our Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan
The Christian family is the vessel through which we have the opportunity to evangelize to the world. We recognize the great challenges faced by families in an increasingly secular society. We will emphasize activities that support Marriage Preparation, Marriage Enrichment and outreach to single, widowed, separated and divorced Catholics. We must also look for opportunities to support the elderly in our midst through outreach initiatives and inviting them to take a leadership role and share their gifts and talents.
To support the publicly funded Catholic Education system, we require the leadership of parents as primary educators and Christian witnesses for our children. It is also a central priority to invite youth of all ages to participate fully in our faith as valued parishioners, involving them in roles of ministry and service. We encourage parishes to have a Youth Council, a youth minister and to work together with the Office of Catholic Youth. To learn more about the Pastoral Plan, visit
The Archdiocese of Toronto is one of the most culturally diverse dioceses in the world, with Mass celebrated in more than 30 languages each week. This diversity is one of our greatest gifts and will be nurtured lovingly and responsibly. Parishes with a cultural history serve as a spiritual home and a gathering of family members who share a common culture, language and tradition. We must draw on the richness of this diversity while challenging one another to consider how we can best connect with the body of Christ beyond our parish boundaries. We will work to maintain a deep connection to the local church, while encouraging our culturally diverse parishes to share their successful models of collaboration, worship and outreach with friends across the Archdiocese. To learn more about the Pastoral Plan, visit
We are conscious of the importance of subsidiarity – that is the responsibility for action should be set as close to the local situation as possible. This principle also recognizes that some responsibilities are better carried out regionally or centrally to increase their scale or draw on specialized expertise. In achieving the desired outcomes of our pastoral plan, we will continuously be asking if services are being provided at the right level in the archdiocese. Some of our fundamental directions will be best achieved through parish-level efforts while others will draw on specialized expertise provided centrally. In most cases we will require capabilities and resources from the parish level in concert with those that are provided centrally. To learn more about the Pastoral Plan, visit
At a parish level, we have to ensure ongoing excellence in the way our offices listen and respond to calls. Parish bulletins, websites and social media are at the front line of communicating with parishioners and the public. The archdiocese will support these parish efforts.
At the archdiocesan level, we will aim to provide excellent communication through our website including location and mass times of our parishes and a portal to Catholic writings on a full range of issues. We will become adept at using social media to hear from Catholics and those outside of the Church, and respond to their queries. Social media will be an important avenue for getting our message out. We will also serve as a hub for responding to inquiries from secular media, providing a competent Catholic voice to respond to a wide range of stories. To learn more about the Pastoral Plan, visit