Minutes of Diocesan Pastoral Council | 11.11.2023

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, President
Rev. Msgr. Robert A. Kurwicki, Vicar General – ex-officio
Very Rev. Brad T. Berhorst, Judicial Vicar – ex-officio
Benjamin Roodhouse, Chancellor – ex-officio
Jacob Luecke, Director of Communications – ex-officio
Helen Osman, Consultant for Communications
Colleen Abbott, Chair – term of office expires: fall meeting 2025
Southwest Deanery – 1st term expires: 27 February 2026
Sarah Robinson, Vice-Chair – term of office expires: fall meeting 2025
Central Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024
Rev. Jeremy A. Secrist, Presbyterate – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024
Barbara Prasad, Dir. of Women’s Ministry – 1st term expires: 22 November 2025
Barbara Garvey, North Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024
Kelly Wheeler, Central Deanery – 1st term expires: 30 June 2024
Kent Korthas, Southwest Deanery – 1st term expires: 30 June 2024
Russell Kremer, Southeast Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024
Sheri Stormer, Southeast Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024
Earl Pabst, See City Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024
Deacon John Schwartze, See City Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024
Bernadette Adams, Recording Secretary

Carol Schwartze, See City Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024


I. Opening Prayer:
Most Rev. W. Shawn McKnight opened the meeting with prayer.

II. Welcome:                                
Bishop McKnight welcomed and thanked the members for their presence and commitment.

III. Minutes Published:
The minutes of the 5 August 2023, meeting, having been approved by the membership on 3 November 2023, are published on the diocesan website:

IV. Election of Officers:
Bishop McKnight asked Benjamin Roodhouse to facilitate the election of officers. Mr. Roodhouse briefly reviewed the responsibilities of the elected positions and requested nominations for each role via ballot; members attending virtually emailed their nominations to the recording secretary. Once the list of nominations was created, the ballot/email process was used to elect the Chair and again to elect the Vice-Chair. The members agreed that if a simple majority was not met, a second vote of the top two candidates would be needed. After a second vote, Colleen Abbott was elected the Chair. The first vote for the Vice-Chair resulted in a tie at which Deacon John Schwartze removed his name from consideration. Sarah Robinson was elected the Vice-Chair by unanimous acclamation.

V. Shaping Our Future Together:
A. Deanery Plans
Earl Pabst reported that the parish representatives supported the See City Deanery pastoral plan, but suggested that a communication plan be developed to ensure a successful implementation. Deacon Schwartze stated that it was also recommended to apply a timeline to each of the five primary focus items. Barbara Prasad reported that the See City Women’s Committee will meet four times a year and rotate events and ministry training throughout the diocese. 

Mrs. Robinson also reported that a communication plan will be necessary for the Central Deanery to help meet the rest of their plan goals. She further stated that participation from the parishes has been positive and is increasing. When asked how they were defining their Coalition Council, Kelly Wheeler noted that this council is made up of representatives from the parish groupings, or coalitions, so it is operating as a lay-led deanery council. 

Russell Kremer reported a positive response to the Southeast Deanery plan. He noted that the development of the parish coalitions has been very beneficial to addressing ministry needs both at the individual parish level and at the coalition level. The need to tap into diocesan resources was also recognized; this included utilizing communication services as well as seeking guidance for structuring their coalitions as lay-led consultative councils. 

Mrs. Prasad reported that she has 11 areas scheduled for informational meetings regarding what the Office of Women’s Ministry is trying to do to support women throughout the diocese. She is working in parallel with the deaneries’ plans to develop women’s Core Teams. These working committees will focus on event locations that make sense for people to attend, including opening the invitation across deanery lines. 

Barbara Garvey reported on the North Deanery survey results as well as a number of deanery events that are being planned for the future, many of which will be centered around the National Eucharistic Revival. Stewardship Councils have been formed in most of the parishes and an increase in parish participation is being seen. She also noted that there are three nominations for the second DPC North Deanery representative. 

Kent Korthas reported on the recent review of the Southwest Deanery plan. The implementation phase of the plan includes three steps of information gathering within the parish groupings: 1) the preparation for each of the sacraments and for ongoing faith formation, 2) the current training processes for sacrament preparation and liturgy training, and 3) best practices for prioritizing the wellbeing of the priests. Mrs. Abbott also added that some parishes have already begun to implement the deanery plan to gather this information. Mr. Korthas reported that event planning has begun in the parishes related to the National Eucharistic Procession that will travel through the deanery in July 2024. 

Rev. Jeremy Secrist stated that the Diocesan Liturgical Commission has discussed ways to review resources available to the parishes for the formation of the sacraments and liturgical roles. He suggested that the commission could be engaged by the parishes or at the deanery level to assist with identifying appropriate resources.

B. Diocesan Process
Helen Osman provided a draft of the 3-year Shaping Our Future Together Diocesan Pastoral Process. She noted a common theme sought from each deanery was to better understand the role of the laity in fulfilling the mission of the church. The proposal for the first year of this pastoral process is to focus on what co-responsibility means and to provide structures from the diocese. Mrs. Osman would like to meet with the DPC representatives and their deans to discuss how the diocese helps assess whether the laity is being brought into their proper role in the work of the church on the parish and deanery levels. She also asked that the seven essential elements as defined in the Pastoral Process in October 2022, be used as a basis for the provided reflection points to be discussed in town hall meetings and parish leadership meetings. It is important to identify what resources are needed, but that a parish or the deanery cannot manage on their own.

Bishop McKnight stated that within the first year, diocesan statutes for coalition councils or deanery councils will be developed. The statutes will ensure that these councils are operating in accordance with canon law and provide the opportunity to establish particular law. 

Mrs. Osman summarized that the first year of the process will focus on the aspect of co-responsibility, the second year will focus on faith formation, and it is anticipated that in the third year we will prepare for and hold a diocesan synod. 

Mr. Roodhouse highlighted that all the work being done in the first two years of the Diocesan Pastoral Process is, in every meaningful way, preparation for a diocesan synod. One of the main things that occurs during a diocesan synod is that delegates, both lay representatives and clergy, are presented with questions for discussion. The outcomes of those discussions will assist the Bishop in his decision making. 

Mr. Pabst asked for clarification regarding the implementation of the Diocesan Pastoral Process into the deanery and parish pastoral plans, and whether the parish plans should be reflecting aspects of the deanery plans in order to have a successful implementation. Mrs. Osman stated that as the Diocesan Process is developed out of the deanery plans, the goal is that the parish and deanery pastoral plans all align with the Diocesan Process. Bishop McKnight further noted that the current diocesan planning process, although having familiar elements, much of it is new; for it to be successful, the people need to see an impact and a difference in their parish life in a fundamental way. This is why it is so important for the deanery pastoral planning process to be influencing what is going on in the individual parishes. 

No formal vote of approval for the proposed Diocesan Pastoral Process was necessary, but there being no objection or concern, the members provided their support for it to be presented to the presbyterate.

C. Options for the Chrism Mass
Bishop McKnight stated that the Chrism Mass will be held the Tuesday of Holy Week, on March 26, 2024. The idea is to use the Chrism Mass as the platform to promulgate the Diocesan Planning Process as well as to formally recognize the individual deanery pastoral plans. He would like to have a good representation of the laity, including having representatives for a deanery procession like the one for the Cathedral dedication. In order to encourage the laity to be present, when should the Mass be held? Considering work schedules and travel needs, Bishop McKnight asked for recommendations that could best encourage the greatest level of lay participation. It is the preference of the priests to hold the Mass during the day because of a required annual meeting that is associated with the Chrism Mass; the default would be to have the Mass before lunch. One suggestion mentioned was to specifically invite parish OCIA groups. 

Rev. Msgr. Robert Kurwicki noted that there is no good time, no “compromise” time that will provide a perfect solution. He recommended that since this year’s Chrism Mass will hold additional significance, we have a special Mass time and default back to what has been done previously. Mr. Kremer also suggested sending an intentional invitation to the deanery and coalition leadership and to include an opportunity for the people of the diocese to interact with others from around the diocese. Bishop McKnight mentioned that potentially the parish or coalition representatives could be responsible for carrying the holy oils back to their parishes. 

Mrs. Prasad reiterated the difficulty that a morning Mass would have on most of the laity, especially the younger representation of working individuals and students. An afternoon Mass at about 3:00pm or 4:00pm, could be more helpful for this group. Other members echoed the idea of an afternoon Mass being a better time for the laity. 

Bishop McKnight stated that by having the Mass at 3:00pm, it would finish around 4:30pm; he liked the idea of having a reception following in Cana Hall. It was undecided whether the priests would gather at the Chancery to have a late lunch and their meeting prior to the Mass or to have their dinner and meeting after the Mass.

VI. National Eucharistic Revival Update:
Mr. Roodhouse reported that they are working with the deans to determine an appropriate distribution of the reserved tickets to the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. He noted that when the representatives are identified, they will be responsible for their own transportation and lodging. 
Mr. Roodhouse also shared that there is a team at the Chancery helping to plan the pilgrimage events within the diocese. He reiterated that the pilgrims will enter the diocese on July 1st and make their first stop in Sedalia; on July 2nd, they will travel from Sedalia to Boonville; on July 3rd, from Boonville they will travel to Jefferson City, staying for the 4th of July; and on July 5th, they will depart Jefferson City to travel into the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Keeping with the Bishop’s desire for this to be celebrated diocesan-wide, a couple of preliminary plans are being formed to include a pot-luck dinner at each stop each evening as well as a catechetical presentation and adoration. The planning team is also assisting to determine where on the pilgrimage route will be best for the walking portions.

VII. Bishop’s Remarks:
Bishop McKnight stated there has been a proposal by the Presbyteral Council to be discussed in the Finance Council for a new position at the Chancery of a Parish Campaign Officer. This position would be a full-time employee in the Development Office to assist the parishes in their individual campaigns. They may help with smaller campaigns in-house or help the parishes obtain the services of an outside firm; or to help determine what portions need to be done by a firm and what can be done in-house. Because this would be a new position with a very unique role, it is currently being explored as an option to better serve the parishes.

VIII. Concluding Prayer:
Bishop McKnight concluded the meeting with prayer.

Respectfully Submitted, 
Bernadette Adams, 
Recording Secretary

Future Meeting Dates:
27 January 2024 (Special Meeting)
11 May 2024
3 August 2024
16 November 2024

Minutes approved: 26 January 2024.