Moving Forward: Leadership and the Catholic Church

September 29, 2013

This past week I returned from my annual retreat — thanks for all the prayers of support! — filled with the peace and joy which a week of prayer and reflection amidst the mountains of Washington can bring.

Autumn sunrise in mountainsUnfortunately, the very day I returned is when the latest scandal involving our Archdiocese hit the news (for a thorough explanation of this matter I invite you to go to Minnesota Public Radio’s website). In a matter of minutes I went from the pinnacle of happiness to the depth of despair. Yes, it is saddening and maddening to all of us that an apparent mishandling of another clergy abuse case has occurred. As the truth comes to light, and we all know the truth always does find a way to come out, let us prepare ourselves for another round of tough questions:

1. How can I trust the leadership of the Catholic Church?
2. How can I continue to be a member of such a Church?

Yes, we all will face some tough questions; and, in the midst of this difficult time we all are called to continue to be people of hope. We are to recognize all the good work that we continue to do as a Church, and not to allow such a challenging moment to dampen our faith. I remind everyone that the Church has existed some 2,000 years filled with scandals, tribulations, betrayals, and every difficulty you can imagine; and, despite all this “ugliness” we have continued to grow and to do the Lord’s work. May God bless us as we strive to recover from another devastating blow to our sacred institution/holy family.  I encourage everyone to ask the tough questions, to demand accountability, and to keep the faith.

In the midst of all this difficulty, we find ourselves as a parish facing a big moment this weekend.

stedsPARstructurediagramOur “trial period” surrounding the Parish Assessment and Renewal (PAR) program is ending. Last January we embraced this new “shared leadership” model of church; and now, we must decide if and how we are going to move forward. These past nine months have been a time of trying out this new organizational approach. A BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have stepped forward to participate in the new commissions and leadership night gatherings — know that there still is a need for more participants and leaders — for I believe we have done an admirable job to checking out the PAR model. Now we move forward and take this generic model and make it work here at St. Edwards. I hope you will join me and all your fellow parishioners in this venture. Together we can build the Church.

Finally, we welcome PAR representatives Fr. Tom Sweetser and Dr. Carol Holden back into our midst. We appreciate how they have guided us through this thirteen month long parish enrichment program. Their commitment to the Church, especially in helping us modernize how we are to be Church, is to be commended. Thank you Fr. Sweetser and Dr. Holden! Please take a moment to share your appreciation and hope with these two Church leaders.

Autumn blessings, Fr. Brian