Members of the diocesan Presbyteral Council heard a report about Safe Haven Sunday, an initiative that will be observed in parishes March 2-3, 2019, to raise awareness about the negative impacts of pornography and how families can make their homes a safe haven for all.
Addressing the priests during their Dec. 11 meeting at the Chancery in St. Cloud, Chris Codden, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family, said the effort flows from a 2015 statement by the U.S. bishops titled “Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography.”
The issue is a serious and pervasive problem, particularly because pornography is easily accessible on smartphones and the internet, Codden said. Research indicates that the age of first exposure to pornography for boys is 8 years old.
Safe Haven Sunday gives pastors an opportunity to address the issue of pornography from the pulpit and provide parishioners with information and resources.
“I want to encourage this effort as much as we can,” Bishop Donald Kettler told council members.
Diocesan family life directors from around the state also are hoping to organize presentations on the topic for high school and older middle school students and their parents, Codden said.
The Presbyteral Council also:
- heard an update on the diocesan pastoral planning process from Brenda Kresky, director of the diocesan Planning Office. Council members offered feedback from priests and parishioners in their deaneries about the proposal to establish Area Catholic Communities around the diocese and how these ACCs might operate. All priests of the diocese will meet Jan. 30 at St. Mary Help of Christians Church in St. Augusta to offer more feedback and discuss ideas for moving forward.
- received an update from Bishop Kettler about the status of the diocese’s intention to file for bankruptcy reorganization to resolve claims of past sexual abuse of minors by clergy. The diocese still plans to file, but a date has not yet been determined. Discussions continue with insurance companies and attorneys for abuse survivors with the hope of reaching a consensual agreement on a plan before filing.
- listened to a report about the first Regional Ministry Gathering that took place Oct. 25 at Our Lady of Victory Church in Fergus Falls. The inaugural effort gathered lay leaders from the western region of the diocese for an evening of prayer, networking and presentations by diocesan staff. Eleven more RMGs will be held in various regions of the diocese between now and Diocesan Ministry Day next September. Presentation topics will be determined based on the feedback that was obtained from a diocesan-wide survey of parish needs.