NFPC This Week, #709 – 5/7-5/13/2017

Of Note This Week –

Council Notes from Sioux City (January 2017)

The January meeting of the Sioux City Council began with an announcement of a triennial Convocation Oct. 16-19, 2017 and a triennial Retreat Oct. 15-18, 2018.

– The Committee for Continuing Formation of Priests is looking for active, engaged members and a new chair.

– In reference to Pastoral Planning, Deans are requested to recruit possible facilitators for parish/cluster planning. The job description was e-mailed. Motions were made, seconded and approved to recommend stipends and mileage rates for facilitator training and parish/cluster unit meetings.

–  There was an extensive report on the survey of retired priests in regard to availability and willingness to serve, including short term, long term and seasonal types of coverage needs. Minutes note most retired priests are willing to serve in some fashion when needed.

– The Special Collections schedule is still awaiting more deanery feedback.

– The issue of Nurse visits to retired priests was tabled pending more deanery feedback.

–  The head of the Priest Personnel Board expressed gratitude of the Board, Bishop Nickless to all priests for the willingness and flexibility encountered for this year’s personnel assignments. Due to preparations for implementing the Ministry 2025 pastoral plan there will not be the usual announcement of openings this year.

–  The Southwest Deanery reported they have no objection to reducing the Rite of Election to a single location in the future.

–  The October Convocation will have a presentation by a team from NOCERCC on Renewing Sunday Worship.

– Minutes note 9 people, including the Bishop will be attending the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, July 1-4.

– Teams have been trained in all four Iowa dioceses to present on end-of-life-issues

– “Education Savings Accounts” are being considered. Implementation would probably be incremental, according to minutes.

– Finally, Bishop reiterates the most fundamental reason for pastoral planning is to revitalize parish and ecclesial life. The number of priests and demographic changes are relevant as well.

3 Peoria priests cycle 340 miles for vocations

They called it Priests Pedaling for Prayers. It began on April 24 as Fathers Tom Otto, Michael Pica and Adam Cesarek dipped their tires into the Mississippi River, marking the border between Illinois and Iowa.

According to a Catholic News Service report in the National Catholic Reporter (May 6, 2017), the three young priests were sent forth with the blessing of students from Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy in East Moline, IL. As the priests began their adventure the students from the academy lined the street outside the school to cheer them on.

The report notes at most stops, they received pledge cards from children and adults with promises of prayer, sacrifice and good deeds to support them on the ride and ask God for an increase in vocations.

“What’s been really neat to see is the goodness of the people of our diocese. That’s been, for me, absolutely the most powerful part,” said Cesarek, who is parochial vicar at four faith communities in central Illinois.

“The overwhelming support we had from each and every place we went, the joy that each place had and the excitement that they maintained … really invigorated me and gave me an incredible hope for our diocese,” he said.

“There are so many priests out there who will do anything and everything and they don’t get recognition for it,” Fr. Pica said. In fact, these men prefer to remain behind the scenes.

For the entire NCR report, click here.

US bishops’ conference communications shifting to digital platform

The communications department of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is shifting its main operational format from a traditional print format to a digital model.

The notification was posted in a Catholic News Service article on the National Catholic Reporter (May 8, 2017) website.

The communications department was built when print and newspapers were the dominant force in media. The landscape has been dramatically transitioning in recent years to a digital platform, where information is frequently sought and shared in real time, USCCB chief communications officer James Rogers told Catholic News Service on May 8.

According to the report, planning for the restructuring began in 2014 with the commission of two different studies from independent communications consulting groups.

“A part of the review was to look at the position of Catholic News Service within, for the lack of a better word, the space of the dialogue that takes place,” Rogers said. “Catholic News Service is very well-respected. When we did the survey of clients and customers, we found its position of trust is on par with, or higher than that of any other Catholic news outlet that you could compare CNS to.

The challenge for CNS is that “people tie it to channels and since it was born as a print wire service,” they don’t necessarily associate it with the digital content it produces, such as video, its multimedia offerings, or its social media endeavors in breaking Catholic news, Rogers said.

For the entire report, click here.

Hartford archdiocese to downsize

Stating, “We cannot responsibly kick the can down the road,” Hartford Archbishop Leonard Blair, announced on May 7 that by June 29, the archdiocese’s 212 parishes will be trimmed to 127––about 40 percent.

A summary in the National Catholic Reporter (May 10, 2017) noted that 26 parishes will be closed while 59 parishes will be merged with neighboring parishes. The report goes on to note that in the city of Waterbury alone, six parishes will be merged into one.

The consolidation comes after a two-year process of meetings throughout the archdiocese involving pastors and parish leaders. Archbishop Blair, in the video, said that the archdiocese is willing to consider changes to its plan, but pleas based on “self-preservation” of parishes is “a nonstarter.”

As part of the plan, more than 40 pastors will be reassigned or retired. The newly formed parishes will be given new names.

For the entire report, click here.

Social Justice Resource Center

The Social Justice Resource Center is a website that offers a variety of information on topics of importance to the peace and social justice ministry of the Church. Topics include:

For more information and to signup for their monthly newsletter, go to:

Please Stop Laughing at Me… One Woman’s Inspirational Story

Please Stop Laughing at Me… One Woman’s Inspirational Story, by Jodee Blanco.

The topic of  “bullying” occupies much news space these days on various platforms. Jodee is a survivor, expert and activist on the subject of bullying.  In this memoir she chronicles how she was shunned and even physically abused by classmates from elementary through high school. Jodee was a plenary speaker at the recent NACPA (National Association of Church Personnel Administrators) Convocation held in Nashville, TN, April 30-May 2. What was learned is that bullying as an “equal opportunity” affliction that is not only specific to children and teens, but includes parents, bosses (supervisors), employees, and church personnel, etc. Available for $14.99 from Adams Media, a division of F+W Media, Inc. 57 Littlefield St., Avon, MA 02322. For quantity discounts call: (800) 289-0963. Website: Also available at:

The Source of all Love: Catholicity and the Trinity

In The Source of all Love: Catholicity and the Trinity, Heidi Russell suggests that Catholics need to move from an understanding of the Trinity as “two men and a bird” to a more contemporary and scientific expression of the Trinity as explicated in this book –– Source of Love, Word of Love, and Spirit of Love. The 192-page volume is divided into seven chapters:

  1. Enfolded Wholeness––Creation and Trinity
  2. From Being to Love
  3. The Trinity and Scripture
  4. Patristic Images of the Trinity
  5. The Trinitarian Theology of Karl Rahner
  6. From a Social Analogy to the Analogy of Love
  7. Conclusion: Catholicity = Wholeness of Love

The volume is based on evolutionary concepts developed by Ilia DiLeo, OSF, a theologian with doctoral degrees in science and theology. Readers will come to see the interconnectedness of human beings, God, and the universe. A rigorous, yet compelling read. Available for $27.00 from Orbis Books, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Tel: (800) 258-5838. Fax: (914) 941-7005. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

The Baby in Mommy’s Tummy

The Baby in Mommy’s Tummy, by Michelle Cole, illustrated by ISz is a 32-page hardcover designed to help older siblings learn about an unborn baby’s growth and bond with their new sibling before the birth and see God’s creating had in the process of gestation.  Scripture quotes are from The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition, by Eugene Peterson.  This volume fills a gap in that while there are a variety of resources for new parents that teach about the development that occurs before a baby is born, there is a lack of similar resources for younger family members. Available for $16.95 from ACTA Publications, 4848 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640. Tel: (800) 397-2282. E-mail: [email protected]. Website:

NFPC This Week, #708 – 4/30-5/6/2017

Of Note This Week –