Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 5, 2004
Pastoral service to the Archdiocese
The Shepherd Speaks
By ARCHBISHOP THOMAS COLLINS
The mission of a bishop is to serve all of the people of a diocese through the ministry of teaching, of sanctifying, and of shepherding. That mission is unchanging, but because of changing circumstances, and the new challenges and opportunities that are always arising, the way in which these ministries are carried out by the bishop and those who work with him varies from place to place, and from time to time.
That is why we who serve at the Pastoral Centre need regularly to review our efforts, to be sure that we are doing our work in the most effective way in the current situation. We owe that to Our Lord, and to the people of the archdiocese whom we serve.
Over the course of the last few years we have been consulting the priests, pastoral teams, and parish councils of the archdiocese, and also those who work at the Pastoral Centre, to see how effectively we have been doing our work, and to seek suggestions for improvement. This led to the introduction in February of a draft plan for refocusing our way of serving our archdiocese.
After further consultations since then with each person working at the centre, which led to various adaptations to the plan, we will be implementing it over the course of the next several months. Next January we will look again at any further modifications that may be needed.
In the way in which we arrange the ministries of the Pastoral Centre, and in the way in which we exercise them, we must be guided by commitment to the common good, which in our case means the best possible service to Our Lord and the people. All our personal efforts must be aimed at that, and our decisions based upon that.
With our eyes on the common good, here are some points to keep in mind as we reflect on how we should fulfil our mission:
Like Our Lord, we need to be as available as possible to the people we serve. One thing that came up in the consultation was that we must be sure, as much as possible, to offer equal service in all regions of the diocese.
It is important to co-ordinate our work so that the individual ministries always function in harmony with one another, and with our common mission. Our Pastoral Centre building helps us to do this, since people in one ministry are close to those who serve in others. Our recent changes aim to make this co-ordination even more fruitful, by the physical re-arrangement of our work, and by the appointment of a Director of Pastoral Services.
The assignment of each individual should not only be well designed and clearly described, but also related to the greater mission. There also must be a clear process of accountability for everyone, and the benefit of a yearly review of how things are going, as well as opportunities provided to each person to become ever more skilled in his or her particular field of work.
Our formal descriptions of what we are doing should accurately express what we are actually doing.
In light of the social teachings of the Church, it is vital that we regularly review the salaries and benefits provided for people who work at the centre, and throughout the diocese, to be sure that they are fair.
We need to make the most effective use of our building, and make sure that people have easy access to the resources they need for their work.
In the beauty and physical centrality of the chapel in the midst of our daily work, and also in a pattern of daily common prayer and regular retreats, we must base our pastoral activities upon a contemplative foundation of adoration. Psalm 100 gives a further insight to help us, and all who are engaged in pastoral ministry: "Serve the Lord with gladness."
These principles have guided our efforts to build upon the excellent service that has long been offered by our Pastoral Centre, and to find ways to keep improving it. Because there will never be a point, this side of paradise, where we can be satisfied that we have found the perfect way to serve, an ongoing review of our work is essential and spiritually valuable, though a thorough, systematic review like the one we are now implementing should probably only be done infrequently.
Every day, as I go about my mission as archbishop, I am constantly inspired by the generous and self-sacrificing way in which all of those who serve at the Pastoral Centre carry out their work with exceptional dedication and competence, in a spirit of prayer, for the glory of God and the good of the people of our archdiocese. Over the years, our archdiocese has been richly blessed by the dedication both of the employees and of the countless volunteers, who serve us all in the various archdiocesan offices, committees, and councils.
I will now give you an overview of the way in which we at the Pastoral Centre can serve you. I encourage you individually, as I encourage all the parish councils and the various apostolic groups within the archdiocese, to become familiar with what we offer to help strengthen the life of faith in the archdiocese. Please feel free to contact us.
The people who serve in the pastoral offices at the centre are happy to be invited to come to your parishes, and to work together with you to advance the spread of the Gospel. This close collaboration will be all the more important as we enter ever more deeply into the spirit of stewardship. For more information, refer to the Alberta Catholic Directory, and especially to our archdiocesan website at www.edmontoncatholic-church.com.
The Pastoral Services of the Archdiocese
Six pastoral offices, each one dealing with a particular need of the People of God, form the Faith Formation Team.
The Family Life and Health Care Office, under the direction of John MacDonald, cares for the preparation of couples for marriage, and the strengthening of the family, and also for the training of those volunteers who care for the sick. It also is responsible for the promotion of the culture of life, and the spiritual care of people who are dealing with particular struggles in their lives. This office particularly carries out the vision enunciated by the Synod on the Family, several years ago.
The Catechetics Office, under the direction of Sister Gertrude Mulholland, assisted by Bonnie Kirk, cares for the work of catechetics and sacramental preparation in the archdiocese, which is especially a work of adult learning. By communicating the faith effectively to adults, we will be able to pass on the experience of Christ to future generations.
The Liturgy Office, under the direction of Rose Marie Fowler, is entrusted with helping parishes and the wider community of the archdiocese to enhance the experience of the liturgy. A particular responsibility of the Liturgy Office, in co-operation with the Catechetics Office, is the continuing development within the archdiocese of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which over the years has been such a source of grace in our community.
The Social Justice Office, under the direction of John Lynch, is entrusted with the mission of fostering within our whole community a sense of the social teachings of the Church, and helping local communities to make that teaching come alive in action.
The Office of Youth Ministry and Young Adult Ministry, under the direction of Andrew Papenbrock, to be assisted by another person, cares for the promotion of the active engagement in the faith life of our communities by young people, including the age group from 18 to 35 which has been emphasized by the holy father through World Youth Days as a group whom we particularly need to serve.
The Office of Ecumenism, under the direction of Julien Hammond, cares for the encouragement of good relationships of friendship, prayer, and mutual service, with our brothers and sisters in Christ in other Christian faith communities, and also our relationship with non-Christian faith traditions.
Each of these pastoral offices is served by an advisory committee of lay people, religious, and clergy from throughout the archdiocese. The director of the office regularly consults the committee, as together they discern the particular spiritual needs of the people. The members of the committee, as far as their time allows, are also able to help organize and implement activities of the office.
The Director of Pastoral Services, Julien Hammond, supervises all of the pastoral offices and co-ordinates their actions, so that they all work together to advance the common mission. Under his direction, two full-time administrative assistants, Audra Bell and Kerstin Graham, and a part-time administrative assistant, Cheryl Meyer, attend to the work of these pastoral offices. The offices will also be re-located, so that all are in the same area of the Pastoral Centre, and a central resource centre established.
In addition to the six offices of the Faith Formation Team, we have six other pastoral offices which care for various spiritual needs of our faith community.
The Office of Canonical Affairs
This office deals with all of the matters which relate to the law of the Church, such as dispensations and other canonical matters, as well as requests for declarations of nullity, which are handled by the Marriage Tribunal within the office. The Judicial Vicar, Father Roger Keeler, represents the archbishop in all matters relating to the law of the Church. The Director of the Office of Canonical Affairs, Delia Waldock, is responsible for the work of the office, and is assisted in that by Joan Devlin, Linda Poznanski, Jane Coyne, and Lucille Jamieson. Those who serve in the Office of Canonical Affairs offer an essential pastoral ministry to those who are experiencing some of the most joyful and the most painful experiences of life.
The Office of Stewardship
The Archdiocese is engaged in a major effort to become more fully animated by the spirit of stewardship. For some time now the Stewardship Committee has been actively fostering this initiative, which the Director of Stewardship, Mary-Ann Yusep, is responsible for co-ordinating and advancing. Stewardship affects everyone, but is particularly intended to encourage all of the lay people of the archdiocese to become engaged in the vibrant life of discipleship within each parish community.
The Diaconate Office
The Diaconate Director, Ron Woytiuk, along with an advisory committee, is working to establish the permanent diaconate in our archdiocese. The reinvigoration of this part of the sacrament of Holy Orders is one of the fruits of Vatican II. Our first group of diaconate candidates will begin formation in September of 2004, and will be ready for ordination in 2008. We will begin formation of a second group in 2006. When our deacons are ordained, they will work together with the priests, religious, and lay ministers, and also serve the parishioners through their liturgical ministry (such as officiating at Baptisms, weddings, and funerals, and preaching). Even more importantly, they will be engaged in various practical ministries of service in the community, following the example of the deacons of the early Church.
The Vocations Office
Father Paul Moret, the Vocations Director, assisted by Father Patrick Baska and Father Michael Mireau, is responsible for encouraging those who are called by Jesus to the priesthood and consecrated life to step forward in response to the call. It is the goal of the office to foster a vocations climate in the archdiocese. I ask all to pray that those who are called will say, "Yes" to the Lord. Encourage them. I invite those who sense such a call to contact me, or members of the Vocation team. Phone 780-469-1010.
Michele Pawlik is the Administrative Assistant who serves the Offices of Stewardship, Diaconate and Vocations.
The Finance Office
The archdiocese exercises stewardship as trustee of the material offerings presented by the people for the advancement of the Gospel. The Finance Committee, made up of clergy and of lay people with expertise in financial matters, oversees this aspect of the work of the Archdiocese. The Financial Administrator, Wayne Provencal, and the Assistant Financial Administrator, Lorna Gawlinski, assisted by Marian Cordwell, care for the financial affairs of the people of our archdiocese.
Our Human Resources Co-Ordinator, Melvina Grudecki, deals with issues related to employment, and Corrine Fehr, assisted by Mona Podloski, is responsible for the food services for the Pastoral Centre and for the priests' retirement home, while John Deslauriers cares for and maintains the property. Our receptionist, Lisa Schaub, is responsible for welcoming those who call us, and connecting them to those who may serve them. We should not forget the other individuals who assist us in carrying out various projects that arise from time to time.
The Office of the Archbishop
The Vicar General, Msgr. Donald MacDonald, represents the archbishop, and exercises the authority of the archbishop when he is away. Father Matthias Kuefler is Episcopal Vicar for the Red Deer Area, and represents the archbishop in granting dispensations in that area. The Chancellor, Father Gregory Bittman, is responsible for overseeing the work of the Pastoral Centre, and also acts in the name of the archbishop by way of delegation.
The Vice-Chancellor, Margot Bilodeau, is the principal assistant to the archbishop, and together with Jos‚e Marr and Connie Lunde deals with matters relating directly to his work. Our Archives, which form the memory of the archdiocese, and which make possible an understanding of the history of evangelization in our area, are the responsibility of our Archivist, Rita Jandrey, who also is in charge of records management.
Fifteen per cent of your Sunday collection, a portion called the "cathedraticum," is used to support the 12 pastoral offices of the Pastoral Centre. The "cathedraticum" also supports chaplaincy in hospitals and other institutions, as well as other services to the people of the Archdiocese.
The Councils of the Archdiocese
The Council of Priests advises the Archbishop on all pastoral matters, and the College of Consultors, which is made up of the executive of the Council of Priests, has a crucial role in approving certain financial expenditures, and in choosing a priest to be archdiocesan administrator when there is no archbishop.
The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council consists of representatives from the 22 regions of the archdiocese. All pastoral matters are also discussed by this council, and it plays a vital role in shaping future pastoral initiatives. Rita Strauss cares for the Secretariat of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, and also for the Together in Ministry Program, which helps Parish Pastoral Councils to flourish.
The Long Term Planning Committee meets monthly to look to future priorities. It is made up of the archbishop, the vicar general, the chancellor, the financial administrator, and the director of pastoral services.
The Council of Women Religious represents the women religious of the archdiocese, who from the first days of our history have most generously served the people in the work of evangelization.
The Western Catholic Reporter
The Western Catholic Reporter is the newspaper of the archdiocese, and is guided by a board of directors. Its Publisher is the Archbishop, and its Editor is Glen Argan, who is assisted by Lasha Morningstar, Jay Charland, Linda Keer, Sharon Bly, Barbara Jowett, Ramon Gonzalez and Bill Glen. Its offices are in the Pastoral Centre.
Five per cent of your Sunday collection is used to support the Western Catholic Reporter, so that it can be sent to all registered parishioners.
The St. Francis de Sales Chapel
Physically and spiritually, the St. Francis de Sales Chapel is the heart of our work in the Pastoral Centre. Along with many friends and neighbours, we begin the work day there with Mass at 8 a.m., and we come together there for a few moments at noon to pray the Angelus. I ask that you too pray for all of us at the Pastoral Centre who serve you, as we pray daily for you, that together we all may become ever better disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ.