The Diocesan Pastoral Council discussed how to help parishes in the diocese engage in Life and Dignity Sunday, set for the weekend of Oct. 22-23.
Parishioners will be encouraged to register that weekend for the Catholic Advocacy Network, an online resource that informs Minnesota Catholics about the responsibilities of faithful citizenship, while also providing them with practical tools to engage in the political process.
The network is an initiative of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in the state.
During the DPC’s April 23 meeting at St. Paul Church in St. Cloud, Kathryn Mollen, MCC policy and outreach coordinator, explained that Bishop Donald Kettler has requested each parish in the diocese to identify a “parish ambassador” who will hold a Life and Dignity Sunday registration drive for the Catholic Advocacy Network.
Bishop Kettler asked DPC members to be available to answer questions that pastors have about the network and assist them if needed in identifying parish ambassadors. Once parish ambassadors have been selected, training sessions will be held in August in three locations around the diocese. Chris Codden, director of the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family, will coordinate the training.
“There is a need to connect our Catholic laity and our church organizations with the public policy process,” Codden said. “That way we can live out our faithful citizenship not just in the elections but in the ongoing process of the state Legislature.”
Because bills and proposals can come up quickly, Codden said there needs to be something in place in parishes to help keep Catholics informed on issues ranging from immigration reform to pro-life issues to legislation impacting Catholic schools.
“The Catholic Advocacy Network is set up to do just that,” she said, “to keep people informed in this fast-paced society.”
At the January meeting, Bishop Kettler asked DPC members to connect with their parishes and communities to ask how they would be using his pastoral letter, “Be Merciful Just as Your Father is Merciful,” during the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.
Members reported various uses, including small study groups in parishes, faith-sharing groups, mini-retreats and an increased emphasis on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Several pastors reported referencing the letter in their homilies.
The annual election of officers was also held during this meeting. Chairman Darrell Welle was re-elected to a second one-year term as was Vice Chair Jason Stock. Crosier Father Greg Poser was elected council secretary.
The next assignment for the DPC is to connect with parish leaders and liaisons and to report back to Bishop Kettler at the council’s next meeting, set for Sept. 20 at Holy Cross Priory in Onamia.
The question he posed for them to consider is:
n What support and education could the diocese provide to help Catholics make an informed decision for the November election?
Bishop Kettler also asked a subcommittee to review and suggest updates to the council’s bylaws before the next meeting.
Learn more about the Catholic Advocacy Network at: www.mncc.org; click on “Take Action,” and then “Join the Catholic Advocacy Network.”