Romans 1:7

Brothers and Sisters,

I would like to provide everyone with an update on the process that has begun regarding the shortage of priests in the Diocese of Saint Cloud.  There is little information available but all-the-same, I would like to be sure that no one feels that they are in the dark regarding the future of the Diocese.

Back on 01 May, the reports from the pastors were due to be submitted to the Office of Pastoral Planning.  This report – three of-which I needed to submit – gave the Diocese a top-down look at the current state of our parishes:  the condition of the buildings, the groups within the parishes that regularly meet, averaged number of weekly attendees, faith formation numbers, financial data, the recommendations of the members of the parishes that attended our parish-level meetings, and much more.  The planning office will use this information to assist them in understanding both the needs and current state of the 131 parishes.

Immediately following the 01 May deadline, the planning committee (all members appointed exclusively by the bishop) began meeting to discuss how the needs of the Diocese can be met with the upcoming drop in active priests.  They have been and will continue to meet throughout the Summer.

By the end of August, they will submit a draft plan to the bishop for his consideration.  This means that absolutely no decisions have been made at this point.  I have been informed of rumors going around, saying that THIS or THAT is going to happen or that IT is already decided that SUCH AND SUCH will occur.  Be aware that the bishop himself has not yet seen even the first draft of the committee’s recommendations.

Following the bishop’s review of the first draft at the end of the Summer, the planning committee will make revisions and present a second draft plan to the priests of the Diocese in early October.  The priests of the Diocese will have the opportunity to mount objections and recommendations for revision.  The committee will then get back to work on a third revised plan to be given to the bishop in January 2019; priests will have the opportunity to review the plan in February 2019 and the plan will be published in March 2019.

I wish I had more concrete details to share with you; however, speaking on separate occasions to three members of the committee, I have been assured that nothing has been decided.  Please do not let rumors or gossip worry you.  Regardless of what happens with the committee, Christ is risen; so:  grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God be near,

Father Jeremy