Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 23, 1998
Report raises numerous issues for the future
By GLEN ARGAN
The Church in the Edmonton Archdiocese will undergo more changes than the closing of 80 churches once the report on parish restructuring is implemented.
More lay people will be working for the Church, parishes will have transportation committees to make sure those without cars can take part in the Eucharist, rural priests will do less driving from town to town, and regional pastoral councils will be restructured.
The report, Faithful Into the Future, says more parishes will likely hire lay staff to work as administrators, pastoral assistants and hospital or nursing home chaplains.
Those employees will have to be treated justly, says the report written by John Acheson, coordinator of the Transformation of Parishes implementation task group.
"It appears obvious that as more lay staff are hired that the cost of operating a parish will increase. The general laity must recognize this and must respond appropriately and in a spirit of giving and generosity."
The report says seminarians should be prepared to take part in collaborative ministry after their ordinations.
Faithful Into the Future also urges parishes to establish transportation ministries to ensure that no one ever misses the Sunday Eucharist because of a lack of transportation.
And it also briefly addresses the issue of "quality of life of the priests. . . . It is important that a reduced number of priests not be expected to provide the same level of service as was provided by a larger number."
Priests, it says, must have time to devote to prayer.
The report further calls for reorganizing the 10 regional pastoral councils in the archdiocese.
It says they should be restructured around the 26 parish groupings in the plan and given "critically important roles in coordinating, organizing and providing 'services' to the parishes in their grouping."