First of all, pastors, thank you. We know that your vocation calls you to give your life to Christ and the Church, and we are grateful that you have answered this call. We know that parish life is complex and demanding, and parish leadership can be at once joy-filled, sorrowful, and challenging. Meeting the spiritual needs of parishioners while managing the temporal demands of the parish can seem daunting at times. Still, there is nothing like a parish community that is living the call of Christ to discipleship, bearing Christ's light in the world as stewards of God's grace, mercy, justice and compassion!

Why Bridges?

A bridge leads people out, and in!

In the past, we have often said that people will come when they are ready, neglecting to realize that people need to feel welcome, see the impact of faith in the lives of believers, and know that the community will be with them throughout their lives, to support, form, challenge, and console them.

With Bridges, we propose a dynamic way to shape parish life, and to form parishioners as bridge builders -- people who, through the way they live their lives, naturally and intentionally draw others toward the community of faith and to the heart of discipleship as followers of Jesus Christ.

We can no longer just take the way church has been but need to become more intentional about who we are as a community. We need to consciously develop our gifts for service to the kingdom by welcoming others and growing in friendship. From there we need to continue to share our gifts, talents and treasure. It is then that others will come to know Christ. As St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us ‘Grace builds on nature.’ We need to be reminded that we don’t start with the religious question. We need to start with the human question. Jesus first did not demand conversion in the people he encountered. Rather he meets them at their level and says ‘Let’s have dinner.’ Whatever religious experience or conversion that happens builds on that human encounter. For me, the greatest thing anyone could ever say to me is that we have a faith community that really cares!
— Fr. Ron Schmit, pastor, St. Anne Catholic Community, Byron, CA

Download a one-page overview of the Bridges Series here, comprised of five roadmaps for effective parish practice. Discern which roadmap will take you where you most need to go; find deeper parish community life as a result.