We are in the first week of “Advent.” Advent is all about anticipation, preparation, and expectation of things to come! This time of year we are to get in touch with our anticipation, preparation, expectation, and essentially our hope for Christ! We are not only preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas, but also preparing our spirits and our hearts to receive our Savior at the end of time, i.e. Christ’s Second Coming for us. This Advent Season is also a good time to open our hearts in anticipation of our new Area Catholic Community coming soon to a place near you! It won’t be long before we begin the gradual process of implementation during our new year. This said, what are our first- next steps from here? What are some of the things can we expect next year?
“First-Next Steps:” With this last article of mine regarding our own specific “Area Catholic Community” (ACC) of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Michael and St. Joseph (SPPMJ), the big question is: What can we expect? First, we must wait for the diocese to put forward it’s “Final Draft” of the new plan. Once this plan is finalized, I would like to have a “Parish Hall Meeting.” This would be an evening where everyone is invited as we present the whole plan for the diocese to you as parishioners (and more specifically the plan for us), much like we did last Spring of 2018 when we began this process. Here, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers. Ideally, I would like to do this early in 2019, but again it depends when the final draft comes out. Next, the Diocesan Parish Planning Office has suggested that each ACC pull together a “Transition Team.” The members of this team would be selected from each parish to help assess both the needs and the changes that will have to be made to make our new ACC a success. Fr. Timothy and I have decided to select two lay leaders from each parish to be part of this group for a total of 12 members. This would include both pastors as well. For St. Peter and St. Paul, I have selected one Trustee from each parish and our current Parish Council Chair from each. Their names are: Chuck Rau, Lynn Imholte, Dan Cotton, and Jason Schindler. These people will be meeting with the other selected members of St. Michael and St. Joseph to craft and discuss an ACC plan that works best for us. Some of the items this Transition Team might need to examine are appropriate staffing needs, any combining of councils, committees and/or programs, looking into a unified faith formation program, liturgical changes we may need, looking at pastoral needs, drafting a new shared bulletin, website and Facebook, and any other sharing of resources. Probably the most challenging of all will be considering a new Mass schedule for our ACC. We will also need to discuss a timeline as to when some of these changes will be made. I am sure there will be other items to discuss, but chances are this won’t happen until the Final Draft is put out.
For now, we will have to simply patiently wait, not unlike what the Advent Season is all about::patiently waiting for the Holy Spirit and the life of Jesus to come to us. As I mentioned in some articles before, “attitude is everything.” It might help each person to consider your individual parish as a “community within a Community (ACC)” sharing a common bond and working for a common goal in Christ.
So, this Advent Season, let’s always pray, engage the Holy Spirit, and allow God to change us. In this season of anticipation, let’s be a people of hope with a positive outlook for our future in Christ! Until then, peace in Christ!