Minutes of Diocesan Pastoral Council | 1.27.24


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

Kevin DeHaan, North Deanery – 1st term expires: 15 January 2027

Kelly Wheeler, Central Deanery – 1st term expires: 30 June 2024

Kent Korthas, Southwest Deanery – 1st 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

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

Bernadette Adams, Recording Secretary 


Barbara Garvey, North Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024

Russell Kremer, Southeast Deanery – 2nd term expires: 30 June 2024


Patricia Lutz, Director of Stewardship

  1. Opening Prayer:

Most Rev. W. Shawn McKnight opened the meeting with prayer.

  1. Welcome:                                

Bishop McKnight welcomed and thanked the members for their presence.

  1. Welcome of New Member:

Bishop McKnight introduced and welcomed Kevin DeHaan from St. Joseph Parish in Palmyra as the new North Deanery Representative. 

  1. Minutes Published:

The minutes of the 11 November 2023, meeting, having been approved by the membership on 26 January 2024, will be published on the diocesan website:

  • Agenda for February 27 Deanery Parish Leadership Meeting:
    • Chrism Mass Invitation – 

Bishop McKnight confirmed that an invitation to the Chrism Mass was publicized and the Mass will be celebrated at 3:00pm on Tuesday of Holy Week, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph; immediately followed by a reception in Cana Hall. A discussion at the Deanery meeting in February will focus on how to obtain and encourage representation from the parishes. The 3:00pm start time will be tried this year and assessed at the next DPC meeting. 

  • Stewardship Day – 

Patricia Lutz shared an overview of the upcoming Stewardship Conference to be held on 13 April 2024, in Cana Hall of the Cathedral from 8:00am to 2:45pm. The Catholic Stewardship Consultants are assisting to provide a similar format as the Msgr. McGread Stewardship Conference held annually in Wichita, KS. The day will begin with Mass, have presentations by nationally renowned speakers, a video presentation from Msgr. McGread, as well as presentations of how the Catholic Stewardship Renewal will proceed in our diocese. Members of the Diocesan Stewardship Council will be attending the 27 February 2024, Deanery Meeting to promote this conference. 

  • National Eucharistic Revival –   

Benjamin Roodhouse provided an update regarding the upcoming Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis during mid-July 2024. The diocese has reserved a quantity of tickets to be distributed to representatives from each of the deaneries. All travel and lodging arrangements will be the responsibility of the individuals/deanery groups. 

  • Eucharistic Procession in the Diocese – 

Mr. Roodhouse provided an update regarding the upcoming Eucharistic Procession to take place through our diocese on 1-5 July 2024. Maureen Quinn, the Director of Youth/Young Adult Ministry, has gathered a team to plan the logistics of the procession. The team is assembling a promotional video to be shown at the Deanery meeting on 27 February. Mr. Roodhouse stated that Bishop McKnight wants the central purpose and focus of the revival within our diocese is to be the Mass. Each of the four procession stops will have a theme associated with it: Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given. Mr. Roodhouse also provided a proposed schedule of the procession, stops, and activities. He noted that satellite locations in the deaneries are being arranged for those who are unable to travel to the designated stops of the national procession, allowing for greater participation in revival activities. Barbara Prasad further stated that activities are being planned to build momentum in the days leading upto the procession as well as activities following the days of the procession. 

  • Listening Sessions for Synod – 

Bishop McKnight stated that the request for additional listening sessions came to him on 2 January 2024, and are to be done in February/March so a report can be provided to the USCCB in April and the USSCB can complete a report for Rome in May. Upon consultation with his advisors, Bishop McKnight decided to integrate the request with the diocesan pastoral planning process. He further noted that a synodal listening session is a prayerful experience about listening rather than planning or debating. 

Helen Osman stated that the Vatican is asking to hear from the laity again and the USCCB provided prompts to address in the listening sessions. Our diocese will focus on two parts: parish pastoral councils and lay ecclesial formation. Mrs. Osman asked the council members if the two prompts indicated on the handout would resonate with the parishioners of their deaneries? She also requested that the members assist with facilitating the listening sessions. Discussion followed regarding what parishioner groups should attend the sessions and how the prompts can best be worded to ensure they reflect what the Vatican is asking. 

Following this discussion, Bishop McKnight concluded the listening session should focus on addressing the prompts regarding pastoral councils at the parishes and that the lay ecclesial formation piece would be better addressed at a later time. He stated the real intent is to hear whether the laity have the adequate means for influential and meaningful impact in the life and mission of the local parish. Discussion followed regarding how best to present the prompts in order to receive viable responses from the session participants. 

Mrs. Osman reviewed the anticipated process for the listening session and requested input from the members. Attendee/facilitator registration was recommended to allow for appropriate preparation for the session as well provide the questions in advance. Mrs. Osman will provide several opportunities for facilitator training prior to the listening session. The session will be held as the first part of the deanery meeting where Mrs. Osman will give a general overview and directions, then the attendees will break into small groups of seven people or fewer. For 30-minutes, each individual will be given two-minutes to speak; for those unable to attend in-person, a separate online small group(s) will be available. Consideration regarding provisions for non-English speakers was briefly discussed.

Discussion followed concerning the structure of the small groups. It was recommended that they be made up of those from a mix of parishes rather than everyone being from one parish. Additionally, it was decided that the priests and deacons would not be included in the small groups, but would comprise their own group(s). After the meeting, the small group responses will be collected for each deanery and returned to Mrs. Osman. 

  • Coalition Councils Principles:                                                                                            

As a response to deaneries requesting guidance for structuring the coalition councils, Mrs. Osman asked the members to review the related handout and provide input regarding the draft principles and parameters for the deanery coalitions. In particular, she asked them to consider an alternate term to calling them “councils” as well as to consider the pastor’s role within their deanery’s current structure. 

Although coalition “councils” are not required nor utilized in every deanery, those with them each have unique structures and communication challenges. Despite this, the purpose for all of the coalitions is to facilitate communication and collaboration within their deanery and often with other deanery coalitions. The next steps are to consider ways to improve communications and to ensure the purpose of the coalitions remain in place whenever there is turnover within groups. 

  • Bishop’s Remarks:                                                             

Bishop McKnight stated this was a very helpful meeting. 

  • Concluding prayer:                                                                      

Bishop McKnight closed the meeting with prayer.

Respectfully Submitted, 

Bernadette Adams, 

Recording Secretary

Future Meeting Dates:

11 May 2024   

3 August 2024 (9:30am start time)

16 November 2024

3 May 2025

2 August 2025

15 November 2025

Minutes approved:  7 May 2024