The PASTORAL PROCESS— is so old a process it looks like new. It is an exercise the Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA) has used since 1975 to engage grassroots participation, and it starts with listening. The Pastoral Process is CCA’s direct contribution to the regional efforts of furthering peace and social, economic and environmental justice in Appalachia, and we wish to share it with others.
Steps of the Pastoral Process:
1) LISTEN – listen to stories told by individuals or groups who are experiencing some form of injustice (social, economic, environmental).
2) ANALYZE- apply social analysis, critical thinking
3) REFLECT – use theological reflection, prayer, mediation, roundtables
4) SUMMARIZE – summarize the stories heard and what was learned from them by any means of expression (writings, rituals, the Arts, conferences, song, educational programs, prayer, etc.).
5) RESPOND: use the summary to inform others, address problems, change systems (through direct service, intentional lifestyle changes, civil actions, etc.).
The use of the Pastoral Process throughout Appalachia has resulted in multiple and varying expressions of Catholic social teaching in action. Examples include but are not limited to: the two Appalachian Bishops’ Pastoral Letters, Mt. Tabor Benedictine Community, Bethlehem Farm, Bishop Bransfield’s Pastoral on Poverty, Cherokee Spirituality Retreat-Seminar, Appalachian Catholic Worker, the People’s Pastoral.