SAGINAW, MICH. — In February, more than 500 Catholic lay-faithful, as well as priests and parish administrators attended training sessions to learn how best to implement the parish restructuring plans announced in January by the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw.
In a letter to implementation team members, Bishop Cistone stated, “I truly believe we will discover A Future Full of Hope through parish communities which are stronger, re-invigorated, liturgically alive and actively engaged in outreach to those in need, by creatively
and enthusiastically addressing the spiritual, moral and intellectual development of our youth, and by focusing deeply on the mission of evangelization. We can be successful with renewal of our parishes only if we work together.”
With many meetings taking place simultaneously across the diocese, Bishop Cistone addressed meeting attendees via pre-recorded video. In the video, he stated in part, “The sooner we implement the parish structural changes, the sooner we can concentrate on our ministries….. Among those ministries…Catholic education and formation for young people and adults; increased Mass attendance and more inspirational liturgies; outreach to the poor, just to name a few…”
Bishop Cistone also offered examples of effective implementation. He explained how three merging parishes that have identified a need for stronger and more effective religious education programs may create a unified program that pools resources and produces a new, more effective program.
Training sessions were led by representatives of the Reid Group, the consulting firm that assisted the diocese in the initial phases of Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes. In attendance were parish implementation teams, which typically consist of parishioners and a pastor or pastoral administrator charged with implementing the Bishop’s directives regarding the renewal and restructuring of parishes. Groups of parish implementation teams are called cohort implementation teams.
Following the training sessions in February, cohort implementation teams will each write implementation plans for their respective cohorts. These plans will be submitted to the diocesan implementation commission by May 1, 2013.
The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw was established by Pope Pius XI on February 26, 1938. Today, it includes 6,955 square miles across Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Sanilac, Saginaw and Tuscola counties. The diocesan 75th anniversary year of prayer and celebration for blessings past and yet to come began on September 8, 2012, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and will conclude on August 15, 2013, the Solemnity of the Assumption, the patronal feast of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.