Between now and November 7, CCCR and Council of the Baptized are making the action plan for 2017-2018. What do we want to see happen in our local church? Of the many, many recommendations you all came up with in the Pastoral Recommendations Project (PRP), we have to focus on some starting points.
The PRP steering committee is preparing to discuss starting points with Archbishop Hebda. No appointment date is set as yet.
We want to ask where the Archbishop wants lay people to focus their energy to build a vibrant local church. If the Archdiocese is reduced in staff because of the bankruptcy, how can lay volunteers step in to help?
Our suggestion to him is that a structure of two-way communication like an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council is a necessary starting point. Right now there is no institutionalized channel for the lay people to voice their concerns for the Church to the decision-makers. There is no requirement for the decision-makers to consult with the laity. An Archdiocesan Pastoral Council is one step in the right direction.
OK, so let's say an APC is established. How, we are asking, will lay representatives be selected to be on the Council? In the time of Archbishop Roach we had an APC in this archdiocese with strong lay representation at first. It subsequently fizzled out for various reasons, one of which is reportedly that the lay representatives were selected by pastors and tended to rubber stamp. Another reason is that the agenda items were top-down, not addressing the concerns of the laity. This history is included in the Council of the Baptized position paper you can find here.
So here is an idea: What do you think of lay representatives to the APC rising up from Deanery Councils of lay people? Parish Deaneries are geographical designations of about 12 parishes each. They now serve to organize priests to send representatives to the Presbyteral Council, a two-way structure of communication between the Archbishop and priests. Why couldn't we also have lay deanery organizations that feed into the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council?
Let's say each Parish Council selects two representatives to a Deanery Council. We could bring our concerns to our fellow Catholics in our geographical deaneries, share among parishes, and select representatives to the APC. What do you think? It would take an active and committed laity to organize this. Do we have what it takes?
To get an active and committed laity, we might need an invitation from the Archbishop to get involved. What about regular listening sessions within quadrants (four deaneries each) so Catholics can grow out of the culture of the oppressed to a culture of active, free baptized Christians?
Tell us what you think of these ideas. Reply to this email or go to