Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 11, 1999
RPCs relate woes due to lack of interest
By GLEN ARGAN
Regional pastoral councils across the Edmonton Archdiocese are struggling with their identity and with poor attendance, several RPC representatives said at an Oct. 2 meeting of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.
"They just don't think it's important," Alice Turlock of the Edmonton Northwest RPC said of parish councils in her area.
Of the 12 to 15 parishes in her area, only about six regularly have people attending RPC meetings, Turlock said.
People don't see the importance of communication between the archdiocese and the parishes, she said.
The RPCs, composed of lay representatives of parish councils, were set up in the late 1980s by the APC to provide that type of communication.
Other regions also spoke Oct. 2 of poor attendance at their meetings. One RPC - Edmonton Northeast - has been inactive for several years.
But Joe Staszko of the Vegreville West RPC said his group has had success because it has invited priests and parish council members to attend RPC meetings and has also invited someone to give a personal testimony at each meeting.
"That's how you develop a more cohesive family," Staszko said.
In the Camrose region, attendance has slipped recently because parish mergers have meant fewer parishes are eligible to send representatives, said Jim Collins.
But that RPC is looking at ways of revitalizing interest and expanding membership, he said.
Sister Louise Zdunich, representing the Council of Women Religious, said the problem may lie at the level of the parish council. Few people volunteer to serve on parish councils and have to be forced to take on the job.
Archbishop Thomas Collins said it is important to look at the struggles of RPCs. One crucial role of the APC is providing the central administration of the archdiocese with concerns that arise across the archdiocese.
"We are having problems with RPCs," admitted APC chair Ed Tameling of Wainwright. "There are problems out there and we need to rekindle some kind of vision of what the RPCs are and how they can serve the people of God."