Council hears reports on pastoral planning, adult lay education

Members of the diocesan Presbyteral Council heard reports about the diocese’s pastoral planning process, adult lay education efforts and the diocese’s plan to file for bankruptcy reorganization at their meeting Sept. 18 at the Chancery in St. Cloud.

Brenda Kresky, director of diocesan pastoral planning, recently spoke to clergy at deanery meetings around the diocese and was seeking feedback about the visits.

At the deanery meetings, a number of priests had questions about how specific details of a draft plan would work in reality, including clergy and lay staffing arrangements, Mass frequency at parishes that would share one or more priests, and how diocesan reorganization might affect the situation.

Presbyteral Council members said strengths of the plan included the potential for more collaboration and the sharing of expertise among parishes and allowing flexibility for regions of the diocese to develop local solutions to challenges specific to their areas.

The pastoral planning process will be the main agenda item at the annual clergy conference in Alexandria Oct. 7-10.

Kristi Bivens, the diocese’s new associate director of lay leadership, spoke to the priests about plans for her office, which is part of Catholic Education Ministries.

Bivens and Linda Kaiser, the director of CEM, are still defining the scope of the position but envision Bivens helping to coordinate formation and lay education on various levels to assist parishes and parish ministers. Those levels would include basic formation focusing on the human, pastoral, spiritual and intellectual pillars as well as leadership formation, ongoing education and assisting those who are seeking advanced theological degrees.

Bivens said she will be consulting clergy and lay leaders throughout the diocese and hopes to have a plan in place for moving forward by next spring.

Bishop Donald Kettler updated council members on the diocese’s bankruptcy reorganization plans. There isn’t much new to report at this time, he said. The diocese continues its discussions with plaintiffs’ attorneys to reach a consensual agreement on a plan before filing with the court for reorganization. No date has yet been set for the filing.

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The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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