Regional gatherings gain momentum in second year


Success. How do you measure it?

By Bailey Ziegler

In our first year launching Regional Ministry Gatherings across the diocese, our hope was to get our diocesan staff out of their offices more often to meet people working in parishes and sitting in the pews. At the request of Bishop Donald Kettler, events were organized in the four quadrants of the diocese and featured a variety of topics gathered from a survey distributed to more than 750 volunteers, parish staff, priests, deacons and council members.

By Laura Gorder

Over the past year, eight regional ministry gatherings were held in Fergus Falls, Mora, Sauk Centre, Alexandria, Swanville, Randall, Isanti and Paynesville. Four were cancelled due to weather, low registrations and some scheduling conflicts. About 250 participants from 75 different parishes and schools were represented at the eight gatherings.

While evaluating the first year of gatherings, we asked ourselves if these events were meeting the needs of the parishes. We concluded that parish needs have changed as each parish becomes accustomed to being a member of an Area Catholic Community (ACC).

Father Alan Wielinksi, pastor of
Our Lady of Victory Church in Fergus
Falls, and Janet Dusek, diocesan
associate of the Office of Marriage
and Family, lead prayer at the first
Regional Ministry Gathering in
October 2019. (photo by Dianne Towalski/The Central Minnesota Catholic)

In the midst of ACC planning, we would like to be as closely connected and offer as much support and resources as we can to help with the transition. We have redesigned our Regional Ministry Gathering processes as well as the model for our events to include opportunities for the entire diocesan staff to form relationships and really dig in to how the diocese can support ACCs. Our plan is to send teams of two to each ACC to listen and build relationships and to be a more intentional resource during these transitions. We will focus our meetings and events around the theme, “Eucharist: One Body, Gathered, Nourished, Sent.”

Our goals from the past year remain the same for the next year as we build momentum together:

• For our diocesan staff to collaborate to provide ongoing and lifelong formation to empower parish leaders.

• To provide opportunities for networking and relationship-building between diocesan offices and parishes as well as among parishes and ACCs.

• To meet real needs in the parishes and not add an extra burden.

• To build more inclusive communities through intercultural competencies and modeling this through intentionally inclusive gatherings.

So, how do we measure success? In every connection we make, in every encounter we have, in every step we take to accompany those on the frontlines spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are grateful to all those who have given us the opportunity to meet you, and we look forward to meeting many more people in the coming year.

BAILEY ZIEGLER is diocesan director of Human Resources and LAURA GORDER works with Catholic Education Ministries and the Office of Worship. Ziegler and Janet Dusek served as co-chairs of the 2019 Diocesan Ministry Day.

Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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