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 on the planning process addressed the good news in parish planning. This week’s questions are about wisdom and prayer.
Q: What is the grassroots approach to parish planning all about?
A: No one better knows the situation of local communities than the people who live in them. The local knowledge and wisdom of parishioners is vital to work out various scenarios of inter-parish cooperation. It will be the responsibility of local leadership, guided by the planning process, to prayerfully construct the best possible plan to present to Bishop Amos in Advent 2011.
Q: How is prayer part of the planning process?
A: The Planning Commission begins each of its meetings with a long period of prayer. Many times it takes the form of prayerfully listening to the words of the Sunday Gospel and discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The wisdom given by the Holy Spirit is indeed amazing. Prayer is incorporated into each step of the planning process.
Q: How has “transparency” been part of the planning process?
A: The link to the ongoing work of the Planning Commission is on the diocesan website. You will find minutes of meetings and other information listed. There have also been numerous articles in The Catholic Messenger informing parishioners of its work.
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.