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PPTF Regional Meeings Held
Continuing a process begun over two years ago to plan for the long term future of the Diocese of Gaylord, the Parish and Personnel Task Force has concluded a series of regional meetings. This step followed hosting over 61 Parish Town Hall meetings as well as completion of a self evaluation by each parish and school. Every parish leader (pastor, parish life coordinator, or administrator) was then asked to participate in regional meetings along with one additional parish representative who was selected ideally with consensus of the parish councils. With only one exception due to a very recent pastoral change, regions followed existing vicariate lines. We used the existing vicariate structure in order to eliminate any notion or perception that decisions had already been made, said Fr. Frank Murphy, Vicar General and Chair of the Task Force. I can unequivocally state that no decisions have been made. We are just now entering the phase where we will look at all of the information we have been gathering and begin to see what might be workable. Its also important that everyone understand we are continuing to look to the parishes and the people for their suggestions and ideas which will provide for the common good. We really want the local people to help provide the best solutions, Fr. Murphy added. Over the course of several weeks, the various regions met to review the information provided on the self evaluation by each parish in that region. Each regional committee was asked to ponder what they would recommend be done in light of the information presented by the parishes themselves about their worship, discipleship and sustainability. The committees were also asked how they would structure the region if there were one and two fewer priests available to the general area. A summary was then prepared and forwarded to the Task Force. Just like the Town Hall meetings, each of the most recent meetings had a trained facilitator to help guide the process, stated Candace Neff, Director of Communications. In most areas, a couple of meetings were needed for the regional committee to complete their work and as the Task Force goes through those reports, they may and have asked some committees to reconvene in order to answer specific questions or clarify their recommendations. Over the next few months, the Task Force will be reviewing all of the materials relative to the individual parishes and their neighbors, including the self evaluation tools, minutes from meetings, comment sheets, letters, regional reports and any other information it has received. The final report of the Task Force is due to Bishop Cooney in the spring.