Bishop Martin Amos established a special Diocesan 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 Task Force study of 2005.
Last week’s brief addressed the reason for another planning process in the Davenport Diocese. This week’s questions are about change.
Q: What kind of changes might parishes expect?A: The planning process depends and builds upon the wisdom of the leadership of the local parishes. The process is a grassroots approach to discern how parishes can better share ministries in a collaborative way. Priests will most likely be serving multiple parishes. Future parish staffing will most likely include qualified laity (e.g., parish life administrators, catechists, liturgists, business managers, etc.) as well as deacons and religious to serve the needs of multiple parishes. The Diocese of Davenport has had the foresight to offer a Ministry Formation Program for many years to help prepare people for such parish staffing.
Q: Is there an existing plan to close more parishes?
A: This is a question that concerns many people. The current planning process calls for better collaboration between parishes. It enables parishes to examine their strengths and opportunities for growth. Fewer priests in the future may mean that not every parish will be able to celebrate Eucharist every Sunday. The plans that will be created in each area of the diocese might include additional steps such as clustering or consolidating. These plans will be created by local parish leaders.
Next week’s question is: Where is the good news?
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, Mt. 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.