The Diocesan Pastoral Council met with Bishop Donald Kettler Jan. 21 at St. Boniface Church in Cold Spring where members heard a presentation about Catholics at the Capitol, a day of education and advocacy on issues of life and dignity set for March 9 in St. Paul.
Bishop Kettler asked members of the council to consider representing the Diocese of St. Cloud as leaders from their legislative districts at the event and to encourage others from their areas to attend. The diocese has been asked by the Minnesota Catholic Conference to bring 200 constituents to hear speakers on the issues of physician-assisted suicide, education and poverty, and to meet with area legislators.
“We have a voice here,” said Chris Codden, diocesan director of the Office of Marriage and Family, who spoke to the council. “We are not relegated to our voice just within our church walls. If we really follow Christ — and he said to go out to the world — then this is part of our mission as a baptized person.”
This effort comes on the heels of Life and Dignity Sunday, a day that Bishop Kettler designated for parishes to address the responsibility of Catholics to be engaged citizens. The initiative was held on the weekend of Oct. 22 and 23, and 71 of 131 parishes in the diocese participated, registering 2,873 people for the statewide Minnesota Catholic Conference Catholic Advocacy Network.
Members of the network receive periodic emails and a monthly e-update that provides simple, concrete ways to promote life and dignity for all.
Though grateful for those who participated, Codden and Bishop Kettler agreed there is still more work to be done. The Diocese of Duluth and Diocese of New Ulm, both smaller than St. Cloud, surpassed local results. Parishes who didn’t participate last fall will be asked to participate this year.
To learn more about Catholics at the Capitol, visit http://catholicsatthecapitol.org.
At the council’s previous meeting in November, Bishop Kettler requested DPC members to learn more about what parishes around the diocese are doing to engage adults and young adults in faith formation.
Committee members reported their findings, citing various methods of formation including education nights, Bible studies and book clubs, social groups and formal programs. Some reported no adult faith formation programs at all.
“This is important for me to know,” Bishop Kettler said. “We need to keep looking at ways we can engage adults and young adults in their faith.”
Additionally, the committee completed their review of their bylaws and finalized it with Bishop Kettler’s approval and signature.
Bishop Kettler also informed the DPC about two major diocesan events coming in September: Diocesan V Encuentro and Diocesan Ministry Day.
“These events are big events for us and really important for our diocese,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it and to having a good turnout for both days.”
More information about both events will be publicized in The Visitor and is available on a special website: http://dmd-vencuentro.stcdio.org.
At each meeting, Bishop Kettler assigns a task to DPC members. This time he asked them to return to their parishes and organizations and ask them to identify people from the parishes who would be willing to attend the Catholics at the Capitol event and also to inquire about participation in Diocesan V Encuentro and Diocesan Ministry Day.
Members will report back at the next DPC meeting, which is scheduled for April 22.