Sunday, July 12, 2015

Reintroducing a Pastoral Council at St. Thomas Aquinas: Parish Bulletin--7-12-15

            This weekend I am pleased to reintroduce a Pastoral Council at St. Thomas Aquinas.  (As St. Columban already has such a committee, parishioners in Littlefork will need to find something else to read during the homily this week…ha!)
            Throughout my first year as a pastor, I have seen how helpful such a group would be not only for me but also for you.  My motivation for reestablishing a Pastoral Council now is twofold.  First, there are some areas I must learn on the fly—budgeting, personnel, maintaining facilities, etc.  Your expertise and guidance in such areas is essential and will only enhance good decision-making.  This is especially true in discerning how God is calling us to be good stewards of the material resources he has given us.
Second, I would like an official place to check in about how our basic mission (love God, love our neighbor, seek the lost, make disciples) is going.  It will also be helpful to have a place to discuss ideas, concerns or other issues as they come up in our parish, diocese and universal Church. 
            I want to be clear that this group is advisory in nature—not democratic.  This is consistent with the way Jesus Christ established our Holy Catholic Church and continues to lead it today.  At the same time, I believe seeking input and leadership of the lay-faithful is essential to Church governance today.  The Second Vatican Council underscored the essential role of the laity in the Church, and this is one simple way to work together for the glory of God. 
Finally, some of my expectations for individual members of this council are as follows:
i.)                     We stand with the universal Roman Catholic Church in issues of faith and morals.  Our parishes will not be picking and choosing what we believe.
ii.)                    We must strive to grow in our personal holiness as we serve our parish.  Prayer will always be part of our meetings.
iii.)                  We must be beacons of joy in our parishes and community.
iv.)                  We must foster unity in our parishes and community.  Gossip, complaining, bitterness or other divisive behavior will not be part of our gatherings.
In forming this Council I have asked for recommendations from our staff, trustees and other parishioners.  I wanted to have a variety of individuals who represent different ages, states of life, parish organizations and areas of expertise.  In so doing I hope our gatherings will bear abundant fruit for St. Thomas Aquinas.  Thank you to the following individuals who have agreed to serve on our Pastoral Council!
·      Tom Lucca (Trustee)
·      Pat Kjellgren (Trustee)
·      Jay Bartkowski (chair of Finance Council)
·      Pat Bjorum
·      Dave Chute
·      Les Hendrickson
·      Tammy Jo Weyrauch
God Bless!

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