August 1, 2009 – To Tell Or Not To Tell

Thanks again for visiting my blog.  As I had told you last week my entry is coming a little later than usual today.  I had a meeting this morning (which went a little ways into the afternoon) in Belleville with the Diocesan Pastoral Council.  I had not thought about what I was going to write about today because I figured that I would have plenty to talk about coming out of the meeting.  Well, I have plenty that I could talk about, but most of it I cannot yet talk about (does that make sense?).  In other words, most of the issues we discussed are still in infant planning stages and will not be available for public consumption until planning is finalized on them.

I can tell you the topics of the things we touched on.  We talked about the 125th anniversary of the Diocese, which is January 7, 2012.  There will be events that will take place leading up to this date, but how many and their extent is still undetermined.  There are many factors that weigh in to this, including the economy and how much is reasonable to spend on such celebrations.  We also touched on a plan by Bishop Braxton to begin parish pastoral visits.  These visits would be in a different format than say a Confirmation, or other formal occasion, but again the Bishop does not want to release details until there is a more concrete plan in place.  We also touched on a couple of general interest items such as the Pope’s latest encyclical.

So I sit here in sort of a quandry.  One side of me says to respect the Bishop’s wishes and let what he intends to be confidential remain confidential.  Another side of me, however, can hear the voices of people who feel that the state of the Catholic Church has been greatly affected by a lack of transparency and a sense that lay people and even clergy cannot be “trusted” to be given information and discuss it and distribute it in an appropriate way.

I have in the past and still continue to enjoy my role on the Pastoral Council.  We have good, frank discussion and it helps me to stay in the know with what is happening in the Diocese and the universal Church.  But clearly the role of the council has changed over the last few years.  When I first joined the Council, the agenda was for the most part driven by us and our Deanery Reflection Groups that we met with to discuss issues in the local church.  Now the agenda is basically driven by the Bishop.  He does listen to our input and I think he appreciates our time with him.  But I think now we are more of a “sounding board” instead of a group that initiates ideas and addresses concerns.  So when I tell you that there is not a whole lot I can share with you from meeting, it is not because I do not have the desire to do so, but because I do not have the authority to do so.  But please trust that a little ways down the road these plans will be finalized and released.

There was another meeting this past week that I can share some information about, and that is the Mission planning meeting that took place last Tuesday.  I thought it was a very good meeting.  Basically everyone who is overseeing some part of the Mission was there, and to my delight they all have already been planning their various ministries.  I gave a report to Fr. Pete this past week on our progress, and he was very pleased and excited.  As he said, just the fact that folks are talking up the mission in July/early August is reason for optimism.  He is confident that our Mission experience will be a blessed one, and I think we should be confident also.  Many plans have already been set for childcare, providing transportation, refreshments, liturgy, publicity, etc.  Much more needs to be done here in the next 8 or so weeks, but I know that it will come together and that the Mission week wll be a truly graced time.  Remember to keep doing your part and invite, invite, invite.  Check the bulletin in the coming weeks or go to our Mission webpage, www.maryhoc.org/Mission2009 for all of the latest.  Also, we will be putting out sign-up sheets shortly for people to be greeters, symbol bearers, and to perform other ministries during the Mission.  Please consider filling one of these roles.

OK, that’s all I have on my mind today.  Next week I will actually think about what I am going to write before I sit down at the computer!  Have a great week.  Peace.

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