Bishop Martin Amos established a special Parish Planning Commission in January 2009 to create and oversee a process to help parishes plan for the future with fewer priests. The commission’s project continues the “Living the Faith” taskforce study of 2005. Seven area meetings, beginning September 19, will be held throughout the diocese to present the planning process to pastors, parish life administrators and parish leaders. All parish leaders are asked to attend one of them.
This is the first of five articles to help answer questions you may have about the planning process.
Q: Why do we need another planning process?
A: The “Living the Faith” recommendations are five years old. Many of them have already been implemented. We need to look more closely at the next five to 10 years as the number of projected ordinations will not keep pace with the number of priests who are expected to retire. The other major factor is that “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest” (SCAP) may not substitute for the celebration of Sunday Eucharist. The service may only be used in an unplanned emergency.
Seven area meetings, about two hours long, will be held throughout the diocese to present the planning process to pastors, parish life administrators, and parish leaders. All parish leaders are asked to attend one of the meetings:
Sunday, Sept. 19, St. Mary, Solon – 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 19, Holy Trinity, Richmond – 7 p.m.; Monday, Sept. 20, St. Mary, Albia – 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 21, St. Alphonsus, Mount Pleasant – 7 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 26, St. Mary, Pella – 5 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 3, St. Paul the Apostle, Davenport – 3 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 3, St. Joseph, DeWitt – 5 p.m.
Next week’s questions and answers: What kind of changes might parishes expect? Is there a plan to close more parishes?