Festival of Forgiveness, planning among priests’ council topics

The priests of the Diocese of St. Cloud support having another diocesan-wide Festival of Forgiveness next year, although they may consider making changes to the format, according to members of the Presbyteral Council who met March 20 in St. Cloud.

This year’s event on March 2 was the third consecutive year it was held during the Lenten season. On that day, designated parishes around the diocese offered the sacrament of reconciliation for 12-hour periods.

This year, attendance was down in some locations and up in others, council members said. In past years, thousands of people in the 16-county diocese have received the sacrament of reconciliation on the festival day.

Some council members suggested more advertising next year, including publicity directed at young adults. Others suggested possibilities included changing the date, hours and/or locations.

Bishop Donald Kettler said it was important to have the festival day during Lent. Father Virgil Helmin of the Foley/Princeton Deanery said that, whatever changes might be considered, parishes should agree on a single, shared date for the festival.

Benedictine Father Matthew Luft, representing the Cold Spring Deanery, said the diocese might also want to consider adding a second festival day at another time of year.

Plans for next year’s Festival of Forgiveness will be discussed again by council members at a future meeting.

The Presbyteral Council also:

  • heard a report by Brenda Kresky, the diocese’s new director of pastoral planning. Kresky, who has visited 16 parishes since her appointment Feb. 19, distributed a time line for the diocese’s process to create a new pastoral plan for parishes. Parishes and deaneries have been asked to compile recommendations and submit them to the diocesan
    Planning Council by May; the goal is to implement the plan in summer 2019.

    A few council members said priests and parishioners in their deaneries are seeking more concreteness and clarity about the scope and specifics of the recommendations they are being asked to make.

    Benedictine Father Edward Vebelun, who represents religious order priests on the Presbyteral Council and serves as pastor of parishes in Albany, St. Anthony and St. Martin, said having Kresky speak to his parishes helped to increase awareness about the challenges the diocese faces as well as what might be possible on the planning front.

    Ongoing coverage of the pastoral planning process can be found on a designated page of The Visitor’s website: http://stcloudvisitor.org/category/pastoral-planning.

  • elected Father Matthew Kuhn, pastor of St. Henry Parish in Perham and Holy Cross Parish in Butler who represents the Fergus Falls/Wadena Deanery, as the Presbyteral Council’s liaison to the Diocesan Pastoral Council.

The next Presbyteral Council meeting is June 26.

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

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