Monday, October 20, 2008

Change of Plans? Pastoral Planning ~ standing maryanna

I was surprised to read this new twist in the Bishop's Question and Answer session (AND THE BISHOP SAYS) with Steve Neill in this week's Catholic Virginian. Here was the question put to the Bishop:

Q. Regarding the long-range planning process in the diocese, does it appear that people can expect changes beginning in January regarding more collaboration among neighboring parishes?

A. First of all, there are some misperceptions about the planning process. In January, all things being equal, a plan will be in place. It does not necessarily mean that the plan will take place. In other words, we’re making a distinction. We are adopting a plan that is like a time-released capsule in the analogy of medicine.

The pill dissolves in stages in order for one to receive the benefit. This is similar to our plan.
It won’t be triggered in a particular area unless the number of priests starts to decline. If the number of priests declines, the plan we adopted will be triggered.

The plan is there to be kept available if you need it.

(The Catholic Virginian, October 20, 2008 Volume 83, Number 26)

That certainly isn't what those of us who are interested were lead to believe. Sounds like there has been enough feedback (grumbling) by many influential parishes that drastic change will not be welcomed. The threat of a drop in collections, perhaps?


Anonymous said...

Having never attended any of the planning session, I do not know what has been said previously. However, the bishop's answers are consistent with what my pastor has said about the process. What exactly was originally said?

I think either way, it is not so much a question of "if" but "when."

standing maryanna said...

What we had been told before is that as soon as the final form of the 5-year plans are published (we learn this for our vicariate this week), the new combination of parishes would occur. Priests would stay in their combination for the next five years to give stability.

This may have changed...

Anselm said...

I don't think it has changed, I think there may be some confusion as to what is meant by "will occur."

Implementing a plan does not alway require action, it may just mean that all the pieces are in place in case something happens. Think of it like a disaster recovery plan. If things like supplies are not stockpiled ahead of time, and communication lines not tested from time to time, when an event happens, bedlam ensues. The publication of the plan will let everyone know what to expect "if".

For example, I was told that within our region, if one priest was to, for lack of a better term, "go away," the parishes in the region would all be paired up, with a priest serving as pastor of two parishes.

It would be my understanding that as soon as the plan is published, if (and only if) we lose a priest, that plan will go into place. If all the priests (God Willing) stay here and healthy, there will be no change.

So, assuming that is what is meant, the bishop has been consistent in his statements.

standing maryanna said...

Anselm, what you say would be consistent with what the bishop said in the article. Maybe it was simply not clearly enunciated to our people and apparently many others.

Perhaps, that is why the bishop said that there appeared to be a misunderstanding about when the plan would be implemented.

Anonymous said...

The reason why there has been a drop in the collections is because of the economy. There is nothing more important than the economy.