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.

Council Notes from Green Bay (April 2017)

The April meeting of the Green Bay Council began with Bishop Ricken informing members of a consulting firm helping with strategic plan for schools. He spoke about Phase II of the Mission Map focusing on Formation in Discipleship. The connection of worship, mission, discipleship and service is critical. Administration is for service of the mission.

–  Two Council members and the director of New Evangelization circulated a worksheet about the Discipleship Phases I & II. Discipleship will be discussed at the Clergy Congress. The Clergy Congress will also look at parish culture and ways that pastors can assist parish leadership in forming a discipleship path with them. The culture we live in is critical to the conversation.

– Discussion took place on:

– What does it look like to be a community of disciples?

– What is a healthy discipleship culture?

– How would the diocesan newspaper, The Compass, look if it were presented from the discipleship culture?

            –  Alpha groups, a new evangelization tool for parishioners, were also discussed.

–  Finally, the parish survey was handed out. An important feature of the survey is how the diocesan curia can help parishes.

Council Notes from Louisville (April 2017)

The April meeting of the Louisville began with the introduction of the new director of Catholic Charities.

– A presentation was given by the Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer for the Archdiocese. He spoke about the positive experiences of encounter citing the examples of Pope Francis’ visits to Egypt, Sweden, etc. He quoted from the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification with Lutherans and spoke of the common ground among religious denominations.

– Archbishop Kurtz spoke about the upcoming Presbyteral Assembly as an opportunity to welcome priests who are new to the Archdiocese. He also encouraged members to think about possible topics for the August Overnight meeting.

– The Chancellor spoke to members about the:

– Parish Discernment Process

– Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual

– Informed members about the positive meeting he had with Catholic High School Principals

– Drew attention to the Dominican priest who will serve as full-time Campus Ministry Chaplain at the University of Louisville

– Informed members that the Archdiocesan attorney will be at the Presbyteral Assembly to discuss legal matters impacting priests.

– The Vicar for Priests met recently with priest ordained five years or less. He spoke of their desire to be effective priests and asked members to offer them encouragement and support

– In Minutes from Region 3, examples were given of how ecumenism and interreligious dialogue plays out at the parish level, i.e., amount of preaching about Christian unity; worship in mixed marriages, etc.

– Minutes from Region 9 note a discussion regarding whether International Priests are being fairly compensated for the extra costs of being in the US, i.e., auto insurance, immigration costs, paperwork. Also, whether there is a plan for a House of Discernment that might be used by International priests to have a space for their day off.

– Finally, there was a brief discussion about how a permanent deacon at a parish can provide continuity at a parish when a pastor is changed or is overseeing more than one parish.

Council Notes from Monterey (May 30, 2017)

Bishop Garcia announced that two Scalabrini priests will arrive in summer to minister in the diocese.

– Bishop requested that pastors give notice of their vacation schedule to parishioners by posting a notice in the parish bulletin

– Bishop headed a group from the diocese to the July 1-4 Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando.

– Three ordinations to the priesthood took place on June 9.

–  The Chief Financial Officer announced he is resigning to take a new position. He will not leave until the new CFO is hired.

– Solar energy implementation projects were listed.

– Plans were discussed for the diocese’s Golden Jubilee to take place in December.

– Plans for the May 2018 Priests’ Summit were discussed. Minutes note Filipino priests requested representation on the Priests’ Summit Committee. The next meeting to take place prior to the Priests’ Retreat in October.

– Minutes note a discussion will be scheduled with the Clergy Personnel Board concerning possibility of inviting a priest from the Institute of the Good Shepherd.

– Council meetings for the next fiscal year were listed.

Council Notes from Jefferson City (February 2017)

The February meeting of the Jefferson City Council began with a discussion led by the Superintendent of Catholic Schools and the Coordinator of Youth Ministry relating to a pastoral process of accompaniment and dialogue addressing children and youth in relation to gender concerns and non-traditional families. All priests were invited to a meeting on May 9, where the process would be explained more fully.

– Members together with the Superintendent of Catholic Schools discussed the importance of having families with school children attend weekend worship. Suggestions and points to share were made including recognizing and welcoming school children and their families, offering babysitting services. Handouts were distributed.

– Pastoral Center staff now has job descriptions. Performance reviews and goal setting was completed by the end of June.  There are now three bi-lingual staff members at the chancery. Minutes note that periodically Spanish translation service is needed in the Tribunal office.

– Part 4 of the 2010 Pastoral Plan was discussed. It includes assessing the viability and vitality of parishes. A religious sister who facilitates strategic planning for church groups is collecting information supplied by parishes. A letter was sent to parishes explaining the process.

– Results of the October 2016 Count was distributed and attached to minutes.

–  Discussion took place concerning instituting a common payroll system for each parish. An outline was distributed along with a recommendation of a company. Minutes note this would simplify the payroll process and save parishes money. Input from members was requested.

–  The following members were elected as officers:

Chair – Father Francis W. Doyle
Vice Chair – Father Augustine A. Okoli
Treasurer – Father David A. Means
Secretary – Father Matthew j. Flatley

– Bishop Gaydos asked members to keep in mind the tremendous fear that is affecting the Hispanic Community. Minutes note that some individuals are shoeing up at residences asking to check residence cards. The Hispanic Ministry Office held a workshop for those affected with immigration lawyers in attendance. The workshop was recorded in order to reach the wider Hispanic community.
– Finally, Bishop read a letter from Charleston Bishop Robert Guglielmone, who heads the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, concerning the Boy Scouts of America and transgender youth in the organization. Excerpts of Bishop Guglielmone’s letter together with an excerpt of a letter from the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America were attached.

Council Notes from Monterey (May 1, 2017)

The first item on the agenda for the May 1 of the Monterey Council meeting was the announcement of the new director of St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista.

– A lengthy discussion took place on the topic of sanctuary parishes. The consensus was that naming a sanctuary parish is mostly a symbolic act. Catholic Charities has been organizing forums where immigrants can receive information, talk to attorneys and receive practical assistance.

–  Members suggested that a study group be formed to make recommendations on where formation for the sacrament of Confirmation for young people should take place, either at a parish or in a Catholic high school.

–  Members discussed issues surrounding attendance at the National Association of Filipino Priests meeting later this year

– An extensive discussion took place on immigration issues. Minutes note Bishop Garcia sent the document titled “Preparing Your Family for Immigration Enforcement” in Spanish and English to all priests and deacons.  In addition, minutes note the resources of COPA (Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action) and Catholic Charities to assist refugees.

–  Four men will be ordained to the priesthood and four to the transitional diaconate.

–  The Pastoral Resource Day is being planned for August/September. It will likely be at five locations. Minutes note the goal is to develop a school of lay ministry.

– Bishop will join the newly formed Monterey County Sheriff’s Advisory Group.

– Bishop and the Chief Financial Officer will meet with the Latin Mass Community Minister.

– The hope is that the new youth minister can begin her new position in July or August.

–  Finally, minutes note planning taking place regarding the May 2018 Priests Summit. A number of suggestions were made on how to finance the summit including finding sponsors to cover some costs. Also mentioned were a combination of financing from parishes, the council, and priests themselves. The goal is to have as many priests as possible attend the summit and stay throughout the week.