Council of the Baptized logo
in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis


Happy New Year!  2016 promises to be a big year for our local church.  Pope Francis has declared a Year of Mercy, a year of stepping up to a challenge.  How is CCCR/Council of the Baptized responding?  Two ways:

Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan Project

We are looking forward to the appointment of a permanent archbishop, hoping that the Papal Nuncio who is making recommendations to Pope Francis has heard our call, loud and clear, for a leader who listens to and collaborates with the faithful.  Now is the time to speak up and let the new leaders know what we need.  

Ken Pierre, retired priest of the archdiocese and psychologist, brought a concern for discussion to the December open forum of the Council of the Baptized. He began the discussion about what institutional support we need to develop a culture of mutual trust and joyful, loving service to the world in the spirit of Jesus.  His ideas were enthusiastically received by participants in the forum.  

A team has been formed to get input from a broad spectrum of Catholics and to construct a pastoral plan that can be presented to the new leadership for commitment and collaboration.  We will keep you informed of progress.  If you have ideas, send them to us at .

Women's Equality
The Archdiocese is on record as identifying our major problem as a "man-crisis."  That is, men are leaving the church because of its "feminization.  It may be true that most of the parish ministry positions are filled by women, but can this produce a "man-crisis" when all the decision-making roles are filled by men?   How can we change the culture to value the freedom of both men and women to choose their own ministries and their equal partnership in the life of the church?  

A group from a small faith community headed by Bob Wedl has brought their concern for women's equality in sacramental ministry to the Council of the Baptized for discussion. Please join us for our January  Open Forum. on women in the church.
Tuesday, January 12th,  7-8 PM
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave So, in St. Paul.
We will delve into questions around ordaining women to the priesthood. A short presentation will be offered followed by sharing of thoughts and ideas.  Everyone is welcome to join the discussion.

Why these two ways?

The challenge is to make mercy not just a year long project of individual practices but a consistent unified culture for all of us.  

If we stand back and look at our Catholic culture in this archdiocese, what do we see?  Is it predominantly a culture of joyful, prayerful working together to serve the world as Pope Francis urges or is it predominantly a mirror image of the U.S. political culture wars, two sides harshly judging each other's values and religious practices?   If we are a divided community, how do we get out of the rut?

That is where church institutional support comes in.   Lay people, listening to the Holy Spirit, have to take the lead in envisioning ways to build a healthy mission-driven community, and the official institutional leadership has to support the community with structures and policies that guide and empower them.  

That is why we are asking the Lay Network of CCCR/Council of the Baptized (that's you!) to focus on these two initiatives: one is about letting the official institutional leadership know what kind of supports we need, and the other is about identifying gender equality as central to developing the culture we want to grow into.  Developing an archdiocesan pastoral plan and recognizing the equality of women. Those are the two strategies we are committed to working on this year to develop a culture of mercy.  Will you join us?

Please take notice:
Click here to see Archdiocesan suggestions for practices during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  
The Catholic Spirit has weekly articles profiling someone who is doing corporal or spiritual works of mercy.  We urge you to read the links and write to the editor of the Catholic Spirit with your ideas about merciful activities.  Editor Maria Wiering, Catholic Spirit, 244 Dayton Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102. Her email is .

Thanks, Everyone.  

In Joyful Hope, the CCCR Board and Council of the Baptized