The diocesan-wide pastoral planning process is moving forward with Area Catholic Communities. These communities are made up of three or more parishes in a given geographical area. This notion is based on the idea that each parish, no matter the size, has gifts to offer a larger community.
There is an assumption that to strengthen and enliven Catholics to be of service to each other and the community we need to share each other’s gifts and talents. As it says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14: “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also is Christ. For in one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many.”
In the human body we have many parts that serve different functions and each of those functions plays an important role in the overall well-being of the body. And so it is with the body of Christ.
If we apply this image to the Area Catholic Communities concept we see that each parish community plays an important role in the holistic purpose of a given area.
The overall mission of the Catholic Church is evangelization, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Each parish accomplishes this mission differently. By sharing our resources, talents and stories with neighboring parishes we can strengthen each other’s faith and enliven the ministries in all parishes.
Right now we are trying to create areas of neighboring parishes that have established relationships in some way. We are finding there is more than one right answer. Feedback on the proposed parish placements will be taken until Thanksgiving. Please send your feedback to the Planning Office.
We are excited to see how the Spirit will unfold these Area Catholic Communities. Continue to pray for the Spirit’s guidance in our discernment and discussions. The opportunity to broaden our parish resource base allows for new opportunities to carry out not only our call as Catholics but also our diocesan mission to be “His heart of mercy, voice of hope and hands of justice.”
Brenda Kresky is director of pastoral planning for the Diocese of St. Cloud. Contact her at BKresky@gw.stcdio.org or 320-529-4611.