Council Notes from Owensboro (September 2017)

– Bishop Medley reported 16 men were ordained to the permanent diaconate. He thanked members for their role in recruiting and forming them.

–  Rainbow Mass celebrated on Sept. 28. Young people from Catholic schools  participated.

– Disciples Response Appeal underway.

– Members heard an update on Scripture Sunday- a tie-in with the New Evangelization and praying with Scripture, especially using lectio divina.

Other plans include a year of prayer for the Diocese, beginning with a Eucharistic Holy Hour at all parishes,

A day of reflection led by the bishop for priests, deacons, parish staffs, McRaith Catholic Center Staff, and Catholic school principals.

– A discussion took place on the re-wording of the Parish Assessment Policy concerning charitable contributions. Bishop will review the issue and make a final determination.

– Members reviewed drawings for the Bishop Cotton apartments planned refurbishing.

– Minutes contained notes from NFPC president Father Tony Cutcher’s Bishop and Priests in Council Workshop conducted on Sept. 18.

Council Notes from Green Bay (August 2017)

The Green Bay Council began its August meeting with a motion to nominate Father Joe Sember as Chairman and Father Dinh Van-Thiep as Vice-Chairman. The motion was unanimously approved.

  • Bishop Ricken discussed a draft of a letter recommending each parish celebrate a Votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary on Oct. 9, beginning in 2018.
  • A draft of Diocesan Policy Concerning the Rite for Distributing Holy Communion outside of Mass with the Celebration of the Word was discussed.
  • A discussion took place on the connection of the mission, vision, culture and culture values. Minutes note that the mission is driving everything. Missionary discipleship is hoped-for outcome.
  • An organizational consulting firm is rendering assistance.
  • An emphasis is to move form maintenance to mission. To move from a corporate to missionary discipleship model.
  • Another emphasis is to move from departments to teams.
  • Key words and actions to build missionary disciples are communicate, encourage, support, trust, accompany, and empower at all levels.
  • An extensive discussion of the Catholic Schools Study. A consulting group assisted with the process. There are four overarching features:
    • Schools of Discipleship
    • Governance and Leadership,
    • Academic excellence
    • Operational vitality.
  • All tie in with focus of diocesan mission and vision: missionary discipleship.
  • Near the end of the meeting members and diocesan leaders discussed ways to gather resources to fund the project.  A capital campaign was discussed.
  • The Catholic Foundation will be a partner in the project.
  • A motion was made and unanimously passed to proceed with a feasibility of the diocesan capital campaign. Finally, Leadership Formation, which is the critical part of Phase II of Disciples on the Way.

Council Notes from Birmingham (August 2017)

A proposal was made at the August meeting of the Birmingham Council to postpone the election of Council officers until February 2018 in light of the fact that officers can serve two consecutive terms. A motion was made and approved to retain the current slate of officers.

  • Members recommended that Catholic Charities be brought into the conversation concerning the request of the Fraternity of the Poor of Jesus Christ, a public association of the faithful to establish a ministry in the diocese. The Brazilian-based association has an outpost in Kansas City, KS
  • A discussion took place in reference to the diocesan evangelization program. Suggestions from the July Orlando Convocation of Catholic Leaders event were mentioned.  Discipleship training, outreach to youth small groups and high school students is key. Discipleship.com was listed as a resource.  Bishop Baker added that stewardship and mission needed to be emphasized as well.
  • Minutes referred to a discussion regarding a recent meeting focusing on financing/subsidizing Catholic schools. Funding is tenuous in some cases. A suggestion was made to have some parishes without schools to partner with struggling schools. Other models beside the parish model of schools are on the table. Transportation choice to a central school location is important, as is civic support.
  • Members then discussed health insurance for retired priests. A suggestion was made to consult retired priests. Various features of the different policies were noted. A motion was made and passed to move forward. Implementation effective Jan. 1, 2018.
  • A program called Telemedicine for diocesan employees was discussed.
  • Finally, a new way to calculate Paid Time Off was discussed. Vacation and sick time would be wrapped into the new formulation.  A motion was made and unanimously passed to recommend the new formulation.

Council Notes from Owensboro (August 2017)

Bishop Medley reported on the Convocation of Catholic Leaders held in Orlando, July 1-4. A list of links to the keynote addresses was posted.

  • There was a local Encuentro on Aug. 19 at the Cathedral.
  • Bishop reported on the success of the Disciples Response Fund workshops.
  • Permanent diaconate ordinations took place on Sept. 16.
  • The 4th annual VOCARE event to raise funds to support seminarians and religious like was held Sept. 22
  • Listening sessions with youth and young adults are being conducted throughout the diocese in preparation for the Synod of Bishops, which will be held in Fall 2018.
  • 225 women were registered to women’s August retreat.
  • Pastors were asked to encourage youth to consider attending the November biennial gathering of the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis Nov. 16-18.
  • Bishop reported on diocesan staff changes over the summer.
  • The chancellor gave a report on the Annual Appeal (attached to minutes).
  • The new Chief Financial Officer was introduced to members. A review of the parish assessment policy took place. The CFO will take the proposed wording and rework it in light of consensus of Council Members. He will bring back the updated policy for members’ review at a future Council meeting.
  • An extensive discussion took place about refurbishing/updating the Bishop Cotton Apartments priests retirement residence. A questionnaire will be developed and circulated at the deanery level to elicit input from the priests.
  • The Called by Name program was discussed. A suggestion was made to keep the program year-round. Pastors were asked to speak about the program at Mass twice a year. Suggestion: World Day of Prayer for Vocations and National Vocations Awareness Week.
  • NFPC president Fr. Tony Cutcher conducted a Priests and Bishops in Council Workshop on Sept. 18.
  • A question was raised about the purpose of the September Mass counts. The topic will be placed on the agenda of a future meeting.
  • Finally, a member asked if any priest would be interested in learning to say Mass in Spanish. Request topic be discussed at the deanery meetings.

Council Notes from Monterey (August 2017)

Bishop Garcia announced that two Scalabrini priests will begin ministry as pastoral administrators in the diocese.

– The Priests Retreat is scheduled for Oct. 2-6. Bishop Gordon Bennett will be the retreat director.

– Plans for celebrating the diocese’s Golden Jubilee were discussed. The Anniversary Mass will take place on Dec. 14. The diocese was established on Dec. 14, 1967.

– The new Director of Finance was introduced.

– Active plan with a committee was formed to establish a parish council in each parish.

– Nominees are being sought for the Pro-Ecclesia Award.

– An extensive discussion took place in regard to training for priests to conduct the Rite of Exorcism and Deliverance Prayer.

–  The Safe Environment Audit was positive. A suggestion was made to diocese’s charter.

– Minutes note the diocese has 27 seminarians in various phases of Formation. Suggestions were made citing ways to encourage more local vocations.

– Teams from the Faith Formation Dept. and Catholic Charities are listing resource fairs throughout the diocese to interact with parish staffs. Minutes note a focus on developing potential lay leadership and type of training/education needed.

– A follow up discussion took place about the July Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando. Minutes note ways of reaching out as missionary disciples to those on the margins. A concern was raised about V Encuentro and the Priests Summit happening at the same time. Possibility of combining events was suggested.

– A conversation took place concerning the spiritual needs of the Latino community. Minutes note as group Latinos seem especially hungry for more and varied experiences. Discussion on this will continue.

– Finally, minutes note an increase in those who kneel to receive Holy Communion. Consensus formed that clarification from Bishop Garcia is needed on this issue.

Council Notes from Jefferson City (June 2017)

The first item on the agenda of the June meeting of the Jefferson City Council was a consideration of a priests’ photo directory. After discussion members suggested that a group photo could be taken at the annual Chrism Mass or individual priests could submit a photo for posting on the appropriate diocesan web page.

  • A discussion took place about implementing an online version of the Catholic Missourian, the diocesan newspaper. Subscribers will have a choice of receiving a print copy, an online link or both.
  • Members expressed disappointment about the discontinuation of the hard copy of the diocesan directory. Minutes note financial reasons may have been the cause.
  • An extensive discussion took place about plans for the Christ the King Multicultural Celebration. Ways to encourage more involvement from the parishes was mentioned. Pastors inclusion in planning is critical insofar marketing, announcements, etc.
  • A discussion took place in regard to ministry with children of gay couples and children with gender identity issues. Minutes note there is no “one size fits all” approach. The coordinator of youth ministry referred to possible accommodations, but allowed that what “accommodations” mean could be confusing. One member noted the difference in dealing with grade school and high school students. Minutes note solutions must be in line with the Catholic faith.
  • The Ministry to Priests report noted that Fr. Ron Knott will be the speaker for the 2017 Priests Institute. Fr. Michael Joncas has been invited to facilitate the 2018 Institute. Benedictine Father Eugene Hensell has tentatively agreed to be the retreat master for 2018.
  • A report of the 2017 NFPC Priests Convocation held in Anaheim, CA in April was attached to minutes.
  • The Vocation Office report noted one ordination to the Priesthood on June 3.

There were 705 candidates at the March Vocation Reflection Days

The Sixth Grade Vocation days in May hosted 586 students with 116 adults registered to accompany them.

The director attended the Conference on Hispanic Vocations at the Southeast Pastoral Institute in May. Minutes note a very positive gathering.

Council Notes from Birmingham (June 2017)

The chief financial officer and human resource manager gave members an update on Human Resource Resolutions that were developed by the Human Resource Committee. A more detailed discussion will take place at the next meeting. Minutes note there are currently 15 retired priests in the diocese.

– A member suggested the Dispensation and Prenuptial Forms be revised and be available electronically. Also suggested eliminating the current processing fee. Suggestion also included providing guidelines to new priests and international priests.

– Brief discussion of having the art director for One Voice, diocesan newspaper, reformat the diocesan directory and aligning it with the newspaper’s website.

– The Marian Year observances were discussed including designations of shrines, churches, or chapels where plenary indulgence can be granted.

– Plans for the 2019 Eucharistic Congress continue. The Papal Nuncio has agreed to attend. Bishop Robert Barron has been invited. Missionary Discipleship will be a focus of events surrounding the Congress.  Resources are being developed.  Discussion of the FORMED program took place. Creating a website on discipleship and mission is being considered.

Finally, minutes note a list of parishes that participated in general survey in reference to the Oct. 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment was posted in One Voice.

Council Notes from New Orleans (June 2017)

The first item on the agenda of the June meeting of the New Orleans Council was vocations. The Vocation director reported there are 37 seminarians in various phases of formation. He expects 5 to 7 new men in formation in the fall.

– One member commented on reinstituting cultural liaisons to increase cultural diversity of new seminarians.

– A suggestion was made that parish vocation committee members be diverse in their representation

– An emphasis of the priests’ role in fostering vocations was noted.

–  A suggestion was made to encourage the Vocation Office to collaborate with religious communities.

– A motion to restore a mission to a parish affected by Hurricane Katrina was approved.

– The director of the Permanent Diaconate led a discussion about the process of assigning deacons to parishes.

– The director of Catholic Counseling Services provided an update on their ministry. Minutes note cost is not an impediment to providing service. Also, the goal is to offer services to other languages and to cultural backgrounds.

– A Nominating Committee was formed to select candidates for leadership for the next Council year.

– The proposed Priest Salary Schedule for the 2017-2018 fiscal year was discussed. There will be a comprehensive review of the compensation package. A moderate salary increase is being proposed. Members voted unanimously to approve the schedule.

– Auto insurance for priests was discussed.

– Finally, the Priestly Life and Ministry Committee suggested more publicity be given for the annual diocesan priests retirement fund collection.

Council Notes from Birmingham (February 2017)

The first agenda item for the February meeting of the Birmingham Council was a presentation by representatives for Gathering for Mission program. Brochures were handed out to attendees. Gathering for Mission is a project of the Catholic Committee of the South.

–  An extensive discussion took place regarding consolidating databases. This would include the entire diocese and involve significant upgrades in software. More conversation to take place on cost and exclusions.

–  In old business, the sale of several diocesan properties was discussed.

– Bishop Baker has several Listening Sessions scheduled

– A concern was raised about possible school closings

– A concern was raised about two religious communities that may leave the diocese within the next 5 years.

– The US Bishops’ letter on immigration was discussed.

– The Come and See Weekend drew 23 young men.

– A Eucharistic Congress in conjunction with the diocese’s 50th Anniversary is being discussed for 2019

Council Notes from Green Bay (June 2017)

The June meeting of the Green Bay Council began with an interim report on the consulting firm developing a strategic plans for Catholic schools. Minutes note plans will be released in September.

– Bishop Ricken expresses a desire that schools have an intentional role within parish life.

– The Curia realignment is geared to serve the diocesan mission and parishes.

– After a discussion that included the Facilities and Property director, members unanimously voted to reduce a parish in Oshkosh to secular use.

– A discussion took place in reference to hiring a Priest Nurse. The Priest Nurse would educate and help priests navigate the health care system and would collaborate with the Vicar for Clergy.

–  An extensive discussion took place about Discipleship Phases I & II. What it involves, how to engage parishes, schools, religious education programs, Encuentro, various components of the diocese, capital campaigns, and mission planning. All energy and focus is outward to the field in order to change the culture.

–  In response, members recommended a one-page summary of what needs to happen on the parish level. Minutes note the importance of communicating with priests and what information priests need for parish planning with Alpha groups evangelization tool.

–  Members received a handout on listing Community Council guidelines. Parish Community Councils could serve more than one parish. Bishop suggested listening sessions with priests, pastoral leaders and deacons to determine if parish should go this route.

– Plans were discussed for celebrating the diocese’s sesquicentennial in March 2018.

– Finally, the diocesan Safe Environment coordinator circulated the revised Social Communications Policy. A motion to recommend the revised policy as presented was unanimously approved.