Fr. Timothy Gapinski
As we transition into Area Catholic Communities and look at developing a collaborative relationship with the churches of St. Paul and St. Peter, I do want to make sure that we are clearly communicating what is being discussed so that all our parishioners have the opportunity to reflect on the issues and agenda items and have opportunities to provide thoughts and feedback.
Each appointed member of the ACC planning council has now gone through a diocesan formation day to get some background and information on ACCs and what the job of the planning council is, as well as some training in decision making and resolving conflicts. The planning council itself does not have the power or authority to make sweeping changes for the parishes in the ACC.
The task of the planning council is to construct and propose a plan which will detail the short- and long-term goals of the ACC and strategies and action steps for achieving those goals. That plan will first be submitted to the parish boards for review and any necessary alterations, then it is submitted to the diocese for approval. This does not mean that nothing will change until the diocese approves the plan. Changes can still be implemented in the parishes by the normal means through parish leadership, but those bigger things which parishes cannot decide on their own will have to come through the diocese.
In order to draft that plan, there will need to be much discussion and information gathering among the people of the parishes. We will be discussing ways to do this as effectively and efficiently as possible. One of the ways is to incorporate into our bulletin a section on Area Catholic Communities. This section will detail what actions have taken place in the last couple weeks (since the bulletin must be submitted to the printer early in the week, it will not be possible to be completely up to date). We will try to note what items are being discussed and some possibilities for addressing those items in the final plan. This should give everyone an opportunity to reach out to the ACC planning council members and offer thoughts and ideas of their own.
The first meeting of our local planning council will be (was) June 6th. After some introductions and opening work, the primary task of the meeting is to create a list of issues which will need to be discussed and to prioritize that list so that we can begin to tackle the project one piece at a time and eventually create a cohesive whole. If you have thoughts on particular areas that need to be addressed, feel free to reach out to us.
ACC planning council members from our cluster are: Shane Vasek, Barb Brixius, Fr. Timothy, Lisa Conway, Steve Gilloley, Dcn. David Hernandez.