“Planning for the future prompts us to do two things: One, to listen through prayer to the Holy Spirit; and two, to use our gifts in responding and moving in the direction to which we are called,” said Bishop Ricken. “Being open to God’s will and living according to his plan is the heart of our Catholic Christian calling. This is God’s church, and our duty is to be good stewards of this church and its mission. We can do this by praying for guidance, reflecting on our teachings and creating a plan of action.”
The visioning process will begin in May, when parish leaders are convened.
“Pastors, parish directors and parish leaders are being invited to learn about process so they can prepare for their parish’s involvement beginning in fall 2010,” said Mark Mogilka, diocesan director of Stewardship and Pastoral Services. “Every parish leader is strongly encouraged to attend one of the sessions.”
The free workshop will offer an afternoon session (1:30 to 3:30 p.m.) for pastors, parish directors and parish staff, and an evening session (7 to 8:30 p.m.) for lay leaders. To register, contact Deb Wegner-Hohensee, diocesan parish planning director, at (920) 272-8286 or [email protected] Dates and locations are:
• May 4 in Lakewood: St. Mary of the Lake Church, 15232 County Road F;
• May 5 in Allouez: Chancery (St. Francis Xavier Conference Room), 1825 Riverside Drive;
• May 6 in Two Rivers: St. Peter the Fisherman Church, 3218 Tannery Road;
• May 11 in Menasha: St. Patrick Church, 324 Nicolet Blvd.
During the May sessions, attendees will learn about the “Four Voices,” or methods, through which insights from Catholics will be garnered. The Four Voices will be:
• Parish Communities: Each parish will be asked to engage in a “Discovery and Visioning Process” late summer to early fall. To assist with the process, several models will be available to parishes such as the Pastoral Council and Staff model, the Parishioner Engagement model and the Parish Summit model.
• Typical Catholics: From July to October, an independent facilitator will meet with a cross-section of Catholics through focus groups.
• Wisdom Committee: Appointed by Bishop Ricken, the members will study theology, ecclesiology, pastoral statements and priorities expressed by the diocese, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Vatican. Members include: Fr. Dave Beaudry; Fr. Al McBride; Fr. John Girotti; Bishop Morneau; Sr. Ann Rehrauer; Mary Ann Bayer; Fr. Willie Vandeloo; Paul Waddell; Mark Mogilka, chair; and Deb Hohensee-Wegner, assisting.
• Diocesan Leaders: Along the way, various consultative bodies will be convened for input. Examples include the Presbyteral Council, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, pastoral ministers, permanent deacons, religious women and diocesan staff.
Each of the four groups will be responsible for assembling a report by Jan. 1, 2011. The reports will be reviewed and discussed at the Diocesan Summit from Feb. 18 to 20, 2011.
The three-day event will include about 50 people representing the Four Voices. It will be their duty to reflect on the reports and weave them into final recommendations for Bishop Ricken to consider. It is anticipated that Bishop Ricken will promulgate, or officially approve, the plan in March or April, and implementation at the parish and diocesan levels will begin in late spring.
“The Diocesan Visioning Process is unlike a synod, where specific aspects of church life are examined. And this is unlike our previous pastoral plans through which we addressed how to serve and provide ministries with fewer priests,” said Mogilka. “The goal is to help set priorities that will assist in growing the church while building on our strengths. This is a chance to see where the Holy Spirit is moving us, to dream new dreams, to build on our strengths, and to discover again what God wants us to be.”