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 included thoughts on change. This week’s question is about opportunities for growth.
Q: Where is the good news in the planning process?There is plenty of good news! Even though there may be fewer priests in the immediate future, the Holy Spirit continues to call all parishioners to become more actively involved in their parish. It is a time for believers to better appreciate and share their giftedness with others. It is a time for parishes to reach out to each other and the wider community. Some excellent examples of such collaborative ministry have been part of recent articles in The Catholic Messenger. The planning process is an opportunity for all parishioners to rediscover their call to continue the mission of Jesus in their own unique ways.
It is also through such interaction that vocations to priesthood and church ministry are fostered. The more that young people are actively involved in meaningful ways in their parish, the more opportunities they have to discover if God is calling to a vocation to ministry.
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 following 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.