Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,
Many Blessings on this new year! How good it is that at the beginning of the year we ask the Lord what He wants to make new in us this year. May these resolutions bring about the good work He has in mind for you!
For us as Parishes we will also be beginning something new. This past fall the Diocese concluded the Realigning Resources for Mission (RRM) process after two years of prayer and consultation. The operating Vision for Parishes from RRM is this: A healthy parish in the Diocese of Lansing is led by a priest striving for health and holiness, equips and empowers parish staff, makes and forms missionary disciples, and seeks the lost and serves the poor. The whole point of the RRM process is to help parishes and the Diocese as a whole live this vision.
The final recommendation from RRM was for there to be 21 parish groupings and three standalone parishes. In consultation with the Priest Assignment Board and Mrs. Deb Amato, who will lead our implementation, they have discerned eight groupings to invite to be early adopters. Each grouping will have one of the priests from the grouping assigned as a Moderator. Our grouping, (St. Mary on the Lake, Sacred Heart, St. Anthony’s in Hillsdale) will be one of the initial eight groupings. Bishop Boyea has asked me to be Moderator for our grouping.
My first task will be to gather with Fr. Ginu and Fr. David for prayer and discernment to develop a covenant. This will guide how we become a Communion of Priests who are together on Mission. This agreement will also determine how we will lead the parishes in the grouping to fulfill the Mission together. Each parish will retain its identity but ever more integration and collaboration will be the means for us to achieve Christ’s Mission to us.
I think our grouping is primed to take this next step because we have already been working together to a certain extent for the last number of years. This solidifies that relationship and opens the door for us to work together more intentionally as priests and parishes.
I have been blessed to get to know all of the parishes in our grouping. Obviously, I know Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake the best. But I see God’s providence at work in paving the way to also knowing St. Anthony’s. In 2012, as a seminarian, I spent my internship summer (this is what Seamus Kettner did with us last summer) at St. Anthony’s and I was blessed to get to know many of the families. I have been able to be involved at Hillsdale College with monthly adoration and confession nights and discernment groups during the school year. Fr. David is a native of Hudson and so also knows the community well.
There are many aspects of this that I am excited for. The one that tops my list though is the increased priestly fraternity. In my seminary days the importance of making time for fraternity and prayer together as priests was stressed. Now ordained for as few years I see just how easy it is to have good intentions in this regard and then for it not to happen. So, I am excited that these regular gatherings will become fixtures on the calendar.
Being the pilot wave there is much to articulated. I also have questions on what the particulars will look like. In the end, I like how Bishop Boyea said it the best: “Obviously, we have a lot of work to do to put flesh on these bones. But as the Prophet Ezekiel saw, it will be primarily the breath of the Spirit of God which will bring these simple beginnings to a good and holy conclusion.”