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Issue: #20 September 2015

The big news we have to share in this issue of our newsletter is that Interim-Archbishop Hebda and his staff have announced eight listening sessions throughout the archdiocese during October! These listening sessions will focus on the needs for leadership in the archdiocese and the qualities of leadership the people perceive to be necessary in their local church. This is exactly the kind of communication process we were hoping for, and we are grateful to the Archbishop and his staff. For more about this exciting development, see below.
Just a quick reminder: Now more than ever we want to keep growing to promote the upcoming listening sessions and be ready to work with our new leadership.One way to do this is to increase the number of people in our Lay Network. Currently, there are over 1550 Lay Network members, from all parishes and all deaneries, but that's no where near the number of folks who love their church and want it to thrive in this archdiocese.  Please encourage your friends and family to register with the Lay Network at or click here

Archbishop Hebda to Hold Listening Sessions on Leadership Needs

As mentioned above, Interim-Archbishop Hebda and his staff have announced a Fall listening  session series aimed at gathering lay feedback in helping shape the archdiocese's future.

Reporting on this development for The Catholic SpiritMaria Wiering writes:

Archbishop Bernard Hebda is asking for Catholics' input on the strengths and challenges of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the qualities hoped for in its next archbishop, through a series of listening sessions to be held in October and November.

The sessions are "taking a page from Pope Francis' playbook," he said.

"It's an opportunity for our local Church to be able to offer some input to Pope Francis and those with whom he'll be collaborating in making a decision about the next archbishop," he said. "I think it's important that we see how consultative Pope Francis has been from the beginning of his pontificate. Consider, for example, his use of a committee of cardinals to advise him and the emphasis that he has placed on the Synod process. We're hoping that we might be able to assist him - in all humility - along those lines by giving him some information from those who know the archdiocese best."

Archbishop Hebda, the archdiocese's apostolic administrator since the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt in June, acknowledged that the effort to obtain widespread feedback ahead of a new archbishop may be somewhat unusual, but suggested it could be something other dioceses adopt if it proves helpful.

The sessions will be hosted at parishes and Catholic institutions in several areas of the archdiocese in hopes that every Catholic who wishes to participate can. The locations were chosen for geographic diversity, their ability to accommodate large groups and as "parishes where different kinds of people would feel comfortable," Archbishop Hebda said.

"Some of the sessions will be in non-parish settings, so even those who feel some distance from the Church might feel comfortable in sharing their views with us," he said.

Friends, this is our opportunity to step up and let our voices be heard about the type of leadership we want to see in our local church! Please do all you can to attend one of the listening sessions and encourage family and friends to do likewise.

Following is the schedule of listening sessions published by The Catholic Spirit.

Schedule of Listening Sessions

The public sessions begin Monday, October 5 from  1-3 p.m. at St. Catherine's University and  7-9 p.m. at  St. Stephen, Anoka

The following sessions will be held from  7-9 p.m.

Tuesday, October 6 at  Pax Christi, Eden Prairie

Monday, November 2 at  St. Peter, Forest Lake

Tuesday, November 3 at  Divine Mercy, Faribault

Wednesday, November 4 at the  University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.

A session  1-3 p.m. Friday, October 6 at the  Carondelet Center in St. Paul will be held for consecrated men and women. The series will also include special sessions for priests and Spanish-speaking Catholics.

CCCR Representatives Meet with Archbishop Hebda

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement for CCCR's meeting with Archbishop Bernard Hebda. 

Art Stoeberl, Michael Bayly and Paula Ruddy, CCCR Board members, met with him on Thursday afternoon, September 3. It was a very cordial and productive meeting.

As the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese prepares for a new leader, the Vatican-appointed interim administrator has met with a Catholic reform group that the former archbishop had warned his flock against joining.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda, appointed apostolic administrator following the resignation of  Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piché in June, met Sept. 3 with members of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform ( CCCR) of Minnesota.

"I was pleased to meet with three members of the CCCR and was delighted to learn that they share my interest in engaging in a wide consultation of the faithful in assessing the needs of the archdiocese," Hebda said in a statement to NCR. "I was also happy to share with them some of the preliminary plans for that consultation, and appreciated their input and offer of collaboration."

Hebda met with Paula Ruddy, a member of the CCCR board, Michael Bayly and Art Stoeberl.

Ruddy told NCR, "We are interested in having a lay voice, a broad and open consultation for who the next archbishop will be. We are asking that [Hebda] would expand the process of choosing the archbishop to include all people in the archdiocese at an open meeting."

The coalition co-chair, Bob Beutel, wasn't at the meeting with Hebda, but he said he was pleased to hear that the archbishop was cordial and had heard of their organization. "It was nice to get that recognition."

Beutel said the organization was waiting to hear about the listening schedule the diocese has in the works which will be eight sessions at four different locations. [NOTE: See opening story for an update on the times and venues of these sessions.] He said the organization would "like to see people make known what kind of person the new bishop should be, the kind of vetting that should be done and suggestions of people who might be a good bishop might be."

To read  Elizabeth A. Elliott's NCR article in its entirety,   click here .
Update on the Report on the Listening Session Program for Marriage, Family and Sexuality

The cover letter and summary report on the Listening Session Program for sexuality, marriage and family have been mailed to Archbishop Hebda, all the US bishops and alternates attending the Synod in Rome, the papal nuncio, the pope, and Cardinal Baldisseri - head of the bishop's synod.  The cover letter and report were also sent to Cardinal Walter Kasper via email.
The letter to Archbishop Hebda, along with the summary, has been posted on both the CCCR and the CoB website. The full data transcription is also posted here on the CoB website. 
Many of you know people who participated in these Listening Sessions.  Please do forward this letter and summary to them or anyone else who is interested.  Let's get this word out to as many people as possible!
Thanks for all your support during this program!
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, October 24

A Day with Francis' Encyclical

You are invited to join other Archdiocesan Catholics to learn about Pope Francis' important new encyclical,  On Care for Our Common Home  ( Laudato Si' ).  We will gather at St. Frances Cabrini Parish  (1500  Franklin Av. S.E. , Mpls) on  Saturday, October 24 (9 :00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. ). Bernard Evans, Ph.D , assistant professor at St. John's School of Theology, will speak on "Our Common Home: Re-Imagining Our Place Within It."

The afternoon session, facilitated by  Angela Butel of the Office of Social Justice (Catholic Charities), will guide participants in developing action steps that respond to the challenges within  Laudato Si' .  

To register, send  $25 check (CTA-MN) to  CTA-MN, PO Box 68171, Minneapolis 55418-8171 with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address.  The $25 fee covers all food and drink, including noon luncheon. Scholarships available (call Sharon at 651-457-3249). Questions:
Flash Points

* The 2015-2016 strategic focus of CCCR and the Council of the Baptized is two-pronged: empowering the laity to claim a meaningful role in Church and evolving our relationship with the Archdiocese. The upcoming listening sessions outlined above, are a perfect way for all of us to get involved in the this two-pronged strategic focus!
* Catholic Church Reform International (CCCRI) has two initiatives that our local church can actively support. These are efforts to give voice to the concerns of lay people from all around the world. Your participation is encouraged!

The first is a powerful position paper that has been published and which summarizes the data gathered worldwide from the CCRI survey on sexuality, marriage and family. This position paper can be viewed here.
The second CCRI initiative is a website called The People Speak Out, which is gathering stories from Catholics around the world regarding issues of sexuality, marriage and family. Please visit this webpage and share your story. You can choose from a variety of categories. While there, take time to read the stories posted by others. You can visit this webpage by clicking here.

Recommended Reading

* Our Next Archbishop: What Would You Ask a Candidate If You Knew Your Voice Would Be Heard? - The Progressive Catholic Voice.

*   Pope Francis in the U.S. - The Wild Reed (September 23, 2015).
*   Pope Francis' Revolution Has Left Out Women  - Lisa Miller ( New York Magazine , September 23, 2015).

* Francis Falters in Addressing Sex Abuse  - Dennis Coday ( National Catholic Reporter , September 23, 2015).
Think, pray, speak and take action.