As Journey of Faith kickoff pastoral planning sessions are getting underway in the Archdiocese of Omaha this past week and this coming week, I thought I would update you on some items related to this.
First of all, as the Archbishop directed each pastor to do, I have put together a Parish Representatives team for each of our parishes. Here are the members for each of our parishes:
Sts. Cyril and Methodius St. Wenceslaus Sacred Heart
Aaron Fehringer Paul Dvorak Ann Cerny
Deacon Eddie Fisher Sophia Dvorak Rich Eikmeier
Roger Gall Dee Eikmeier Sue Eikmeier
Andrea Koehn Caitlin Klosen Lynn Harms
Mike Podany Danielle Klosen Carol Kampschnieder
Ann Prokopec Carol Ortmeier Danny Kluthe
Jaden Stoklasa Steve Ruskamp Danielle Ortmeier
Jeremy Stoklasa Joan Ruskamp LaVaine Novak
I chose these Parish Representatives on the basis of having representatives from parish councils, finance councils, school boards, parish and school administrators, and a variety of ages. These Parish Representatives will be working with me to communicate to fellow parishes pertinent information regarding the pastoral planning process and planning for whatever transitions will be involved for our parishes. These persons, also, attend the pastoral planning sessions that the Archdiocese is convening. This last Wednesday, on April 20, the St. Wenceslaus and Sacred Heart Parish Representatives attended the kickoff meeting in West Point and the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish Representatives will attend such on this coming Monday, April 25, in Columbus. From these Parish Representatives, some will serve on the Parish Family Pastoral Planning Team that will develop a plan for the “Family of Parishes” to which our parishes will belong.
This brings us to second important item of information, which is that of which the Family of Parishes our three parishes have been assigned to by the Archbishop. Saint Wenceslaus and Sacred Heart have been assigned to one and Sts. Cyril and Methodius have been assigned to another. These are the two Family of Parishes with the number of priests each Family will have by 2033:
Family of Parishes with 1 Pastor with 2 Associate Pastors
St. Anthony—St. Charles
St. Mary—West Point
Sts. Peter and Paul—Howells
St. John Nepomucene—Howells
Guardian Angels Central Catholic Elementary and High School—West Point
Howells Community Catholic School--Howells
St. Wenceslaus School--Dodge
Family of Parishes with 1 Pastor with 1 Associate Pastor
St. Francis of Assisi--Humphrey
Sts. Cyril and Methodius—Clarkson
St. Francis PreK-12 School—Humphrey
St. John Neumann School—Clarkson
Holy Family PreK-12 School--Lindsay
In May, the Parish Family Pastoral Planning Team for each of these Family of Parishes will start to meet. These teams will develop a plan that will be presented this coming November to the Archbishop for his approval. The current priests that are assigned within these parish families will also be on these teams. The teams will come up with proposals for times and locations for weekend and weekday Masses, the administration structure for each Family of Parishes, and other pertinent items of ministerial and pastoral coordination. The Archdiocesan Schools Office is also encouraging the various schools to look at how they might collaborate with each other within a Family and even between Families.
As regards priest assignments, for 2022-23 priests will remain where they currently are unless in the usual annual assignments of priests a move is necessary or a retirement takes place. It will be in July 2023 and thereafter that priest assignments will take place that will be in accordance with the implementation of each of the Family of Parishes. Hence it is my expectation that I will remain pastor of our three parishes at least until July 2023, but after that I do not yet know how my assignment will be affected.
So, while you might have many questions about all of this, this is the general scope of things that I can report at this time. Once the details get worked out by the Family Pastoral Planning Team, I will report what I can. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or visit with any of your Parish Representatives as listed above. In the meantime, I encourage all to pray the Journey of Faith Prayer that the Archdiocese has provide for this Journey of Faith planning process:
Lord and Giver of Life,
we ask for your guidance
as we journey to discover your plan
for our parishes and schools.
Change can bring about great excitement;
it can also be the source of anxiety and fear.
Help us to move forward with faith, courage and confidence.
Give us open minds and clarity
as we discern your will for a promising future.
May Jesus, the constant companion of the Church since Pentecost,
help us to accept the challenges of loving service
in new and invigorating ways.
May Mary, Mother of the Church,
encourage our efforts to listen and learn.
In the beginning, you hovered over the waters,
giving birth to your plan for creation.
You were present to the People of Israel,
speaking to them, teaching them,
and guiding them. Be present with us now,
and give us your light to see the way. Amen.
While the changes that will come from all of this will require adjustments on the part of all of us, let us keep our eyes on Our Lord, trusting that He will guide us as we keep all of this in prayer.
God bless you,