Council Notes from New Orleans (December 2016)

The first item on the agenda of the December meeting of the New Orleans Council was Social Media Policy for archdiocesan offices. Minutes note that policy focuses on general language and behavior with a proviso that church employees do not mix personal and institutional social media outreach. In addition, minutes note that archdiocesan social media policy can also be adapted for parishes. A member asked about appropriate supervisory oversight noting that the consequences of inappropriate social media behavior could result in termination.

– The Communication director and Pastoral Planning and Ministries director gave a presentation regarding revising the archdiocesan newsletter, Oracle. Minutes note the goal is to reduce the size, format, and frequency of the newsletter thus reducing the number of e-mails pastors need to receive. A new name will be created upon revision

– Members heard an update by the director of Pastoral Planning and Ministries on the implementation of archdiocesan synod. Members were requested to identify parish contact persons in the following areas: evangelization, vocations, marriage and family, and social justice. Archbishop Aymond encouraged all parishes to participate. Members were encouraged to discuss the synod at Deanery meetings.

– Greater awareness of lay ministry formation opportunities was discussed. Minutes noted the importance of extending a personal invitation to participate in lay ministry. The distinction between ministry and other forms of service was mentioned.

– Members were updated on the new curriculum for high school religion. In a related matter, the Office of Religious Education is developing a instrument to measure the effectiveness of Catholic religious education and formation programs.

– Due to distribution concerns, the matter of assigning deacons to specific terms was considered. This was a follow up to a previous council discussion. One membered opined that terms could break the culture of permanent assignments as well as creating a discernment process that could be helpful.

– The Continuing Formation Committee will send out dates for upcoming Continuing Formation Programs.

– Attached to minutes was a draft proposal on Parish Pastoral Councils

– Finally, Archbishop Aymond mentioned the possibility of forming a committee to review the various observances such as Catechetical Sunday and Family Sunday with an eye to determine if any overlapping exists.