In March 2019, Bishop Kettler announced the formation of Area Catholic Communities in the Diocese of St. Cloud. These communities are designed to “collaborate to provide for the pastoral and spiritual needs of all. As Area Catholic Communities share resources, talents and efforts we hope to reenergize Catholics so all parishes thrive in the Diocese of St. Cloud” (Taken from the Area Catholic Community vision statement).
To begin, representatives from every parish came together to form a planning council to set a direction and vision for their Area Catholic Community. These planning councils across the diocese have been working hard gathering information and having conversations to determine needs and wants in the area.
Each ACC was asked to submit a plan by Dec. 31 to carry forward our diocesan vision to foster thriving parishes through collaboration and shared resources. ACCs were invited to name between three and five specific goals that involve a collaborative effort using the gifts and contributions of each parish in the area. Under each goal, action steps focus the efforts to achieve the goal.
JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2020
The next step in the planning process is approval. During the months of January and February, different groups of people will be looking at the plans. These groups include the bishop, senior staff and curia, the planning director, diocesan planning subcommittee and the Diocesan Planning Council.
Each of these groups is invited to provide feedback for the ACC plan to strengthen it or encourage a direction to take. Adjustments to the plan, if there are any, will be made quickly and submitted back to the Planning Office.
MARCH AND APRIL 2020
In March and April, and once the plan is approved by the bishop, the Planning Office will communicate the approval to the pastors and ACC planning councils and post the plan on the planning website (http://planning.stcdio.org). Then, implementation of the plan begins.
The diocesan staff also will be taking a look at the plans and sending teams to each area to talk about how to be successful in their implementation. This will include, but is not limited to, hosting a Regional Ministry Gathering that supports goals and actions in the area.
Each Area Catholic Community will focus on their goals over the next few years. The planning process is an ongoing one. We are always looking for ways to grow in discipleship and bring about the Good News of Jesus Christ in the world today. We are excited to see how these plans help do that very thing in our diocese.
Brenda Kresky is director of the Planning Office of the Diocese of St. Cloud.