Volume 2 - Issue 3  



March 30, 2011

Transformed in the Holy Spirit
  Last week I returned from a weeklong visit to Rome. I was there for a Colloquium sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The Colloquium focused on the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in particular the ecclesial movements and pastoral concerns. It also provided for some discussion and guidelines regarding certain doctrinal issues. I mostly listened.

My time in Rome was extremely productive, spiritually uplifting, and hopeful. I am
hopeful in Christ and the Holy Spirit who has been sent to us to transform the world, and I am grateful for the part we are engaged in to help bring about the Spirit’s work of renewal and transformation in the lives of the people we serve.

Of course, the attraction of Rome is, at first glance, very natural. Rome is the place where Peter was martyred and where he was laid to rest, his tomb lying perfectly underneath the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica. As the first Vicar of Christ, we come to Rome to connect with Peter who in turn connects us to Jesus Christ. But this natural attractiveness is not simply to the past, it is also an attraction to a living reality. We also come to Rome in hopes to catch a glimpse of the current Vicar of Christ, the Pope. To be in St. Peter’s Square for one of his weekly audiences, to attend a papal mass, or to receive from him a papal blessing all connect us to the roots of our Catholic faith. As the successor to Peter, the Pope is that current connection in unbroken succession back to St. Peter and the apostolic Church which Jesus Christ founded ...read the full article

Good Steward Newsletter – March 2011
Unity Requires Fidelity to the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer
Last month, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,
Pope Benedict XVI outlined what he called the four characteristics that made the early Church community in Jerusalem “a place of unity and love.” The Holy Father suggested that these four characteristics, which are drawn from the Acts of the Apostles, provide us with a framework for restoring unity among Christians and for attracting those who do not yet share our faith.
The first essential characteristic is that we remain faithful to the Gospel and to the teaching of the Apostles. Christianity has a core content, a body of beliefs, that defines who we are as Christians. This is the Creed that we profess each Sunday. The Creed summarizes who we are, the community of believers. To be united as Christians, it’s essential that we understand and embrace this most basic formula of Gospel principles ...

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Strategic Planning – Nurturing Successful Teamwork
“It’s said that every community. . .needs two essentials to keep it vibrant: memories and dreams. If all we have are memories, we become a museum. If all we have are dreams, we turn into rootless drifters.” (Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Doers of the Word, pp 123- 124)
Honoring the Past, Building a Future.
As Archbishop Dolan notes, a healthy parish has both a past and a future. It is absolutely critical that any plan find a balance between the identity of the parish informed from past history, and the vision of the parish influenced by the dreams and opportunities of the future. The past will anchor the dreams; the future will enliven the past.

An analysis of many strategic plans indicates that far too many planners fail to find a balance between the future and the past. Some plans regurgitate past solutions, perhaps due to the thinking, “If it worked before, it should work again.” But to continue to pursue the same path as before is to continue to experience the same results as before. Indeed, one of the fastest ways to derail planning is to sacrifice innovative thinking and creative solutions by not looking critically and honestly at both the successes and failures of the past. Put more succinctly, “The Seven Last Words of the Church are, ‘We’ve never done it that way before.’”

Discounting the past to focus solely on the future is no healthier. The thinking that says, “Well, that may be the way we did it before, but this is a new day” is faulty as well. Too many plans formed from this school of thought ignore the lessons of the past to elevate a rosy future. Such plans are often untenable, with unrealistic goals and simplistic solutions. Lofty “pie in the sky” plans separate the parish from its roots, threaten to divide the congregation, maroon the older generations, and discount the rich history and traditions that made the parish what it is today...

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Characteristics of an Effective Parish Finance Council
  Canon Law places responsibility for parish financial and temporal management with the Pastor. However, the parish Finance Council is a consultative group that plays a vital role in assisting the Pastor in the execution of these responsibilities. Each Diocese has its own statues particular to a parish Finance Council, however there are common traits and guidelines to follow across the board to help ensure a properly functioning parish finance council, and in turn a more vibrant parish.
A Finance Council, composed of members with the appropriate expertise and possessing a love for the Church and its mission, can provide the Pastor valuable advice and assistance in the execution of his parish financial administration duties. A competent Finance Council can also help a parish maximize its financial resources and avert potential financial problems. Pastors are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the counsel and advice provided by the Finance Council.read the full article
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© 2011 O'Meara Ferguson