Over the past few weeks you may have noticed on page 5 of our bulletin an announcement regarding Parish Planning Meetings. At the request of Bishop Donald Kettler, these meetings are taking place in parishes across our diocese. Over the course of the next few years, the Diocese of St. Cloud will experience an larger than average number of priests retiring at the age of 70. During this same time period and for the next 10 years, our diocese will not have enough new ordinations to the priesthood to replace these positions. For these reasons along with a declining Catholic population and participation, we must plan for a new and challenging future.
If you recall back in 2000, our diocese went through a similar planning process called, “2010 and Beyond.” The result of this past planning process is the current restructuring, twinning, tripling, and clustering of the many parish communities we see today. This said, with the continuing decline in vocations, we are faced with a new challenge of doing even more restructuring and possibly ‘re-visioning’. At our bishop’s request then, I have set up two planning meetings scheduled for: Wednesday, March 14th at 6:30 pm at St. Peter and Thursday, March 15th at 6:30 pm. at St. Paul. You may attend either meeting as the material presented will be the same. At these meetings I will present various vital statistics, review some feedback from our St. Cloud Deanery and then ask for your input or suggestions. *Please see our bulletin announcement for more details. Our hope is to compile some of your suggestions and send them to the Diocesan Planning Office to consider when rewriting our future. As always, we can look at this in two ways: 1) With gloom and doom. Or, 2) With hope , new vision, and new opportunity for our Catholic future. Thank you in advance for your concern, ideas and input at these gatherings.
Finally, as we continue our Lenten journey and reflection on “prayer” I would like to offer you these words entitled: Divine Moments: “Imagine considering every moment as a potential time of communion with God. By the time your life is over, you will have spent six months at stoplights, eight months opening junk mail, a year and a half looking for lost stuff (double that number in my case) and a whopping five years standing in various lines. Why don’t you give these moments to God? By giving God your whispering thoughts, the common becomes uncommon. Simple phrases such as “Thank you, Father,” “Be sovereign this hour, O Lord,” “You are my resting place, Jesus,” can turn a commute into a pilgrimage. You needn’t leave your office or kneel in your kitchen. Just pray where you are. Let the kitchen become a cathedral or the classroom a chapel. Give God your whispering thoughts.” (Max Lucado, from ‘Just Like Jesus’)
Judging from Mr. Lucado’s words, it seems to me there is no moment outside God!
Words to Live by: “To overlook the little things in life is to miss the biggest part of life.”