The month of April was dedicated to the ongoing work of the Cohorts, as they continue to analyze the different realities in place among their parishes and discuss what organizational models might be suggested. As the schedule for Step 2 requires, the Cohorts will have met a total of six times between March and May and will be ready to submit their suggestions to the Diocesan Planning Commission by the beginning of June.
During this time, Cohort team members are encouraged by Faith in Our Future leaders to keep their parishes apprised of their work via parish bulletin announcements or other means. At the same time, all are reminded that the suggestions that are developed in this phase of the process are just that – only suggestions. There are several levels of review and discussion that will have taken place before recommendations are made to Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and only the Bishop makes the final determination as to what recommendations will be put in place.
Preparatory work has also been underway by the members of the DPC, who will formally come together from June 14-16 to review all Cohort evaluations and suggestions, as well as parish evaluations and data verification forms before making their Preliminary Recommendations. Cohort team members will receive the Preliminary Recommendations from the Planning Commission with rationales the week of June 27, at which time they will devote several more weeks to further study and discussion. The DPC will meet again in October to review the Cohort responses and bring together a set of final recommendations for Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., to consider.
The 21 men and women who make up the Diocesan Planning Commission are priests, deacons, women religious, and lay men and women from all four counties of the Diocese who have been identified because of their experience in the parish, school and ministry setting, or their professional expertise.
Terry Ginther, executive director of the Diocese’s Office of Pastoral Life and Mission, explains, “We have tried to place a finance person, pastor, educator or faith formation person, Hispanic or multicultural minister, and pastoral care or social service person in each group. Most, but not all, live or minister in the county to which we have assigned them.”