Congratulations to Sister Phyllis Schleicher on a job well done

Two and a half years ago Sister Phyllis Schleicher accepted the invitation to chair the Bishop’s Faith Formation Task Force for the Erie Diocese which, according to Bishop Persico, is at the heart of the diocesan effort to develop and implement a strategic plan to transmit faith into the future through pastoral planning. Sister Phyllis and the nine member of the task force have worked tirelessly to prepare recommendations that would encompass a broader understanding of faith formation. “The mission of this particular task force was to determine how to improve our faith formation delivery system,” explained Sister Phyllis. “When you start to consider that faith formation needs to embrace people of all ages and not only children in religious education programs, you begin to realize that a major shift is needed.”

The task force got busy and began to think “outside the box” in order to address all faith formation efforts beyond Catholic Schools, including religious education. “Our concern is for the evangelization of all the baptized,” Sister Phyllis further explained. “To that end we knew that life-long, family-centered and inter-generational approaches needed to be offered to all of the faithful.”

In order to meet the faith formation needs of youth and young adults the task force realized that energy and effort needed to be devoted to the spiritual renewal and evangelization of adults. “I firmly believe that if we direct our attention to the six recommendations (Lifelong formation, Vision, Parish leadership, Diocesan leadership, Role of the family and Lay ministry) we will be responding to the very real challenges posed to faith formation today, that is, a spiritually poor and spiritually hungry culture,” concluded Sister Phyllis. “It is my hope that priests and parishioners (people of all ages) will work together to ‘discover new ways and structures to spread the Gospel... and to be unafraid of what is new’(quoted from the Diocesan Pastoral planning Prayer).”

The work of Sister Phyllis and the task force was brought to completion with mid-June presentations to the three diocesan vicariates. The recommendations will now be taken up by an implementation team.

Click here to read the recommendations as well as the comments made by Sister Phyllis, Bishop Persico, Greg Baker (faith formation task force member) and Deacon Marty Eisert (chairperson of the pastoral planning process). A feedback form is also available if you are interested in sharing any response to the recommendations.