Diocesan Planning Commission presents Final Recommendations for “Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes”
SAGINAW – The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, has received the final recommendations of the Diocesan Planning Commission in the historic undertaking, Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes. Bishop Cistone will further consult and prayerfully reflect upon the recommendations, taking the time necessary, before announcing final decisions in the first part of 2013.
“This has been a challenging, intense and emotional process,” Bishop Cistone said. “I am grateful to all who have participated in it. Through it all, I remain confident that, with the grace of God and the good will of our faithful people, the Diocese of Saginaw will more effectively fulfill the work of the Lord and be well positioned for a Future Full of Hope.”
The work of Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes was announced last September as part of a strategic planning process that engaged more than 600 pastors, pastoral administrators and parish members representing every parish across the Diocese of Saginaw to assess the state of churches and develop recommendations for future parish life.
Additionally, a 19 member Diocesan Planning Commission formed of priests, deacons, pastoral administrators, religious sisters and lay people was appointed by Bishop Cistone to review suggestions from each cohort, a grouping of three to seven neighboring parishes.
Preliminary recommendations that were announced in June recommended reducing the number of parishes within the Diocese of Saginaw to 50, with 18 additional worship sites. There are currently 105 parishes with four additional worship sites.
Each cohort had an opportunity to write a response with rationale to the Diocesan Planning Commission, with suggestions or objections to the preliminary recommendation. The responses were due in early October for review by the Diocesan Planning Commission.
Following comprehensive analysis of the cohort responses, the Diocesan Planning Commission presented a final recommendation to Bishop Cistone. Bishop Cistone will now take the necessary time to review, consult and prayerfully consider the recommendations before him.
“From the beginning, Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes has been about more than priest personnel and parish finances,” Bishop Cistone said. “Our desired outcome is to establish parishes which are stronger, re-invigorated, liturgically alive, actively engaged in outreach to those in need, creatively addressing the spiritual and social development of our young people, and deeply focused on the work of evangelization. Every one of these goals will factor into the forthcoming decisions.”
Parishioners across the diocese are encouraged to continue to pray for the success of Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes, as Bishop Cistone prepares to announce his decision. The monthly Holy Hours with Bishop Cistone that began last year will continue into 2013. Times and locations may be found by clicking here.
Detailed information about Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes, including project goals, definitions and descriptions, as well as individual preliminary recommendations for each of the cohorts may be found by clicking here.
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, 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.