Minutes of the December 2017 meeting were approved with no changes.
- Treasurer’s Report
– NFPC dues were paid for the year and the report indicated individual priests paid these dues to the diocese
– Council budgeted funds for a member to attend NFPC Convocation in April
- Ministry 2025/Pastoral Planning
– As a part of futuristic planning, several parishes are currently under review
– The Priests’ Personnel Board has completed the coming year’s assignments and they will be published in the upcoming edition of the diocesan newspaper.
– Some parish closures are expected, as foreseen by the plan, and there was discussion about specific parishes
– Communication from the Vatican was positive toward the pastoral planning and Ministry 2025 efforts, with some minor terminology suggestions
– It was clarified that the Priests’ Council and the Consultors should both be consulted about the closure of a parish corporation and/or for the cessation of use of a church building, whether these two steps take place at the same time or sequentially.
- Parishioner Survey
– The committee offered statistics on parishes closed or those made secondary churches under Ministry 2025
- Of the parishes that were closed, 53% of the registered households have officially re-registered in new parishes
- This was noted as encouraging
– A survey for affected parishes is nearly ready and should be sent out in the next month
- Results will be reported to the Priests’ Council and possibly included in the diocesan newspaper
- Suggestions for clarity and precision were made to the draft surveys, and details were reviewed and confirmed; it was suggested relevant pastors be notified when surveys are about to be sent
- Stressed to do something constructive with information for the sake of transparency and morale
- Draft Policies for review and approval
Four new or significantly updated policies were presented in draft form for review; formal action on these policies was deferred to a future meeting:
– Policy on Mass Intentions and Stipends
- Considering raising Mass intention donation from $5 to $10, noting Canon law obligates priests to accept intentions without donation from those unable to pay
- Collective Mass intentions details were clarified
– Policy on Weekday Communion Services
- No change in existing practices but extends and codifies diocesan practices
- Emergency situations and very limited exceptions were explained
– Policy on Proper Manner for Eucharist and sources for acquiring same
- Key point is pastors must examine ingredient lists for non-wheat or non-grape additives which would invalidate for sacramental use
- Specifics were discussed
– Policy for Priests in Special Circumstances
- To clarify and codify procedures for foreseeable (and hopefully rare) temporary or long-term priest circumstances for leave of absence
- Examples were given and defined, and responsibilities listed, meant to improve consistency of diocesan handling of such situations
- Resolutions for Consultors’ Meetings
The deadline for submitting resolutions for Consultors’ meetings was changed from two days before the meeting to the last day of the month before the next month’s meeting to allow at least one week for processing and review.
- Personnel Board Process
– Because of Ministry 2025, no list of parish openings was shared with the presbyterate and may not be in the future
– Suggestions were offered to help deal with the process, but no formal action was taken
- Safety Issues
– Deacon Mark Prosser offered to go anywhere in the diocese to present to any parish or group on church safety issues – also he will be presenting to the clergy on the April 19th Presbyterate Day
– Churches cannot be locked when people are present unless there are ‘crashbars’ for easy exit
– Catholic Mutual is preparing a program for ushers (no firearms) that the diocese hopes to begin offering soon
- Active Priest Compensation
2018-19 will be the third year of an agreed upon three-year plan. Recommendation to Bishop Nickless that the details be shared and promulgated was moved and passed
- Deanery Reports and other representatives
– Office of Worship
Chrism Mass, training of EMHC’s, and all-diocesan Confirmation Mass were discussed
- Concern about diocese’s falling seminarian numbers noted
- Comment about concern for lonely, self-isolating, ‘lone ranger’ priests and about priests needing bishop’s attention
- Question whether an update to Benjamin’s Bible is being planned
- Rome seminarian from diocese on track with one more year to complete
- Speakers for the April Presbyterate Day will include talks on assisted suicide and on parish safety
- Speaker for September Presbyterate Day will feature a talk on health and psychology issues, particularly as pertains to ‘loner’ priests
- Planned October priest retreat still searching for a retreat leader – if none found may need to postpone until 2019
- Upcoming Events
Currently scheduled events from March 2018 to May 2018 were listed.
- Bishop’s Comments
Bishop Nickless gave comments and information on the reasons for the lack of seminarians, the new Diocesan Superintendent and search for an Assistant Superintendent, applications for the opening in Marriage and Family Life, and a possible Hispanic Minister.
The next meeting is scheduled for April 12, 2018.