by Bill Scholl
January begins a season of resolutions. This year, it’s for parishes as well as people.
The archdiocese is proposing that parishes enter into relationship with another parish through twinning.
Inspired by our pope and moved by the Holy Spirit, the archdiocese has set forth a bold invitation: to help our faith communities work together to better bear witness to the joy of the Gospel.
As you may recall, our archdiocese has three key initiatives — or super-priorities — for the next several years to help us grow as disciples of Jesus and make disciples for Jesus.
Each of these initiatives has goals. After the first go-round, some of the goals were completed and others needed to be renewed. And so, recently, the goals of our three key initiatives were updated.
The archbishop promulgated this update with a letter sent to pastors and church leadership in October 2017 and through The Leaven.
Notable among these updated goals is that the archbishop has asked parishes to enter into twinning relationships to collaborate on projects of mercy and support by 2020.
Twinning is a concept borrowed from sister-parish partnerships formed between congregations in the developed and developing world.
However, archdiocesan twinning offers one notable difference: The focus is not one of financial patronage but, rather, relationship. You don’t have to travel abroad to encounter Christ in the other; it can be as easy as going to another Kansas zip code.
So parish twinning in this new context consists of parishes entering into intentional relationships to encounter Christ in one another through doing works of mercy together. This commitment to partner does not have to be permanent.
Already some early adopters have had great success with twinning. St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood twinned with Our Lady of Unity in Kansas City, Kansas; Our Lady & St. Rose in Kansas City, Kansas, twinned with Holy Trinity in Lenexa; and St. Theresa of Perry twinned with St. Aloysius in Meriden, to name a few.
All report that the participants got more out of the experience than they gave and that teaming up through twinning to do works of mercy brought new vitality to both parishes.
Our Lord sent his disciples out, “two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go” (Lk 10:1).
Today, our local church of northeast Kansas is sending parishes out in similar fashion: two by two to prepare our communities to encounter Christ as we encounter him in each other.
If your parish is looking to learn more or would like some help in discernment, contact the archdiocesan office for social justice.
As a parish, resolve this year to encounter Christ in relationship with another parish. Try twinning.
Our Social Justice committee has raised the idea of seeking an intentional relationship between our suburban/rural parish with an urban parish – not primarily to be of financial assistance, but in order to build relationships, hear each other’s stories, and bond through our strengths and weaknesses.
We are in the Archdiocese of Hartford, CT, which includes some pretty large cities.
Any suggestions on how to proceed?