Well, here we are post-election. Still adjusting, but focused more than ever on discerning the path of Jesus in all of this. The U.S. Catholic bishops are now meeting and, we hope, are soul-searching like we are, for the way to be contributing citizens from a wisdom tradition. We are praying.
Thanks to all of you who responded to the October Lay Network Update with your views on Lay Deanery Councils. We are thinking of them as a way to promote cross-parish communication in our polarized community and as feeders for lay representation on an Archdiocesan Council. Archbishop Hebda has not set a date for meeting with us yet, but he has publicly spoken of establishing an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and having an Archdiocesan Synod to include parishioners in a collaborative local church. Have a listen to his inspiring address at the October 27 Fall Formation Day for parish leaders:
Next we have to sit down with Fr. Charles Lachowitzer, Moderator of the Curia, who is the staff person Archbishop Hebda refers to in talking about APC planning. The Archbishop did not mention organizing from the bottom up to feed into an APC, but we are still hopeful that we can be heard on that need.
We sat down with Mert Lassonde, who worked for the Archdiocese from 1972 to 1998, and facilitated the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council with feed in Deanery Councils during those years. Looking back, he says it worked. Archbishops Binz, Byrne, and Roach were trying to follow through on the Vatican II mandate to communicate, connect in the Spirit. Agenda items could come from the members and meetings were open to observers. The parish delegates from all the Deanery Councils had an annual assembly.
We have heard from two people who served on Deanery Councils who agree that the two-way communication was good for the community.
Please continue to talk this idea up with your friends and your pastor, and encourage your pastor to talk to his dean. Would the pastors welcome Lay Deanery Councils? How useful would they be in inter-parish collaboration in addition to providing representatives to an APC?
Question from Pat Whalen: About the Eucharistic presider facing the East (Ad Orientem), with his back to the people: Is this happening in parishes across the Archdiocese? Does it matter to you?
Our comment: We have a team working on the re-establishment of a Liturgy Commission in the Archdiocese and beginning serious conversation about the Eucharistic liturgy. We are asking: What does the official Church say God is doing in the Mass? What does the official Church say the people are doing? What do the people of any specific parish think they are doing at Mass? Do the community meaning and the official meaning match up? This "ad orientem" question would be a good question for a thorough study of what is happening theoretically and actually at Mass. Tell us what you think and if you want to help on the team.
Despite conflict, in joyful hope,
CCCR Board and Council of the Baptized