CCCR wants to build a channel for communication in our Archdiocese
- to clarify, unify and strengthen the voice of the laity
in following the Spirit's lead for the mission of the church and
- to bring the voices of all the laity to the decision-making table with the Archbishop and clergy.
We propose that the Archbishop establish a Lay Advisory Council as a parallel structure with the Presbyteral Council. The Lay Advisory Council would be composed of representatives from the 15 Lay Deanery Councils. The Lay Deanery Councils would be composed of representatives elected or appointed by Parish Councils.
What is a deanery, you might ask?
Following Canon Law, 374, section 2, parishes in a diocese are grouped into geographical deaneries “to foster pastoral care through common action.” In the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis there are 15 parish deaneries,with an average of 12 parishes to a deanery. The ordained priests of each parish meet in deanery groups to consider common concerns. Each deanery elects its dean and the deans meet in a Presbyteral Council to advise the Archbishop in directing the local Church.
CCCR began using this Archdiocesan deanery structure for parishes to form our Lay Network in 2014. Parishioners were invited to sign on the the Lay Netwrk to stay informed and active in the action campaigns initiated by CCCR. We created lists of contacts sorted by parishes within deaneries and deaneries within quadrants. At the beginning we tried to communicate with network members by deanery, but we found that the action campaigns were easily communicated to the network as a whole. No action plans developed specific to any one deanery or quadrant.
From 2014 to 2018, the number of contacts in the Lay Network has remained constant at around 1250, some contact addresses include spouses, so the lay network totals about 1500 individuals. We have sent a monthly Lay Network Update to the list.
What are Lay Deanery Councils?
In 2018 we have determined to more fully utilize the deanery system for lay communication among parishioners and between the parishioners and the Archbishop. Each parish will send a representative who is elected or appointed by the Parish Council to a Deanery Council. The Deanery Council will support the parishes in the deanery and transmit the concerns of the faithful to the Archbishop through their representative on a Lay Advisory Council.
As of March 15, 2018, details of the Lay Advisory Council and the Lay Deanery Councils are in the planning stage. Our goal is to have plans finalized by June 2. You will find the whole plan here when it is finalized.
Can you still join the Lay Network?
YES. To join, all you have to do is register using the link found in the Featured Items at the right -- Register for the Lay Network. When you list a parish, you will automatically be entered in the Lay Network in that parish and in the deanery and quadrant the parish is in. If you do not affiliate with a parish, leave the "parish" line blank and you will be listed geographically in the deanery and quadrant of your home address. We are calling Catholics who do not affiliate with a parish "St. Elsewheres."
Lay Network members get a Lay Network Update email on or about the 15th of each month.
To find your parish, deanery number, and quadrant, click here.
To help us organize, email us at email@example.com
Step one: Register online on the home page of this site.
Step two: Read the monthly Lay Network Update and join in the current campaign to get our voices heard..
Step three: CCCR emails all registered Lay Network members in all the deaneries and serves as the clearinghouse for the concerns of the laity. The network will bring the concerns of the people to the decision-makers. The Council of the Baptized* will continue to provide the firm grounding in scripture, Church tradition, and contemporary theology for the positions the laity takes.
Who is doing the organizing?
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) has organized the Lay Network and is now in the process of planning the Lay Advisory Council and the Lay Deanery Councils. As an advisory council parallel with the Presbyteral Council, it will be the decision of the Archbishop to establish a Lay Advisory Council. If he does not choose to do so, an alternate plan for Deanery Councils will be devised to facilitate communication among parishioners and tested for feasibility. Call Paula Ruddy if you want to help. (612) 315-3599.
What is your next step?
• If you want to be part of your parish organizing team, please call us.
• If you know either a trained or a natural-born organizer, ask him/her to call us.
• If you know one or two people in any of the parishes in your deanery who might be part of a team organizing, Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the rationale?
Through our baptism, all Church members, lay and ordained, are responsible, as Lumen Gentium, the Vatican II Constitution on the Church, puts it, to make sure “the light of Christ shines out visibly from the Church” to the world. Together, in communication, we discern the Spirit of Christ and build the institutional community that is the Church.
We carry out this responsibility in our families, our parishes and in our particular Church, the Archdiocese. The light of Christ is to shine out visibly from each family, each parish, and from the Archdiocese as a whole, as it does from the universal Church. All the baptized together--lay, bishop, and clergy-- build and maintain the supportive institutional rituals, structures, and programs to generate the spiritual energy to be Christ’s light to the world.
Although roles are differentiated, all members share in baptismal responsibility for the whole. The bishops are the Church members whose role it is to be final decision-makers in the diocese. Pastors are the final decision-makers in parishes. The role of final decision-maker demands listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in communication with all the other responsible members of the Church.
At present in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, although there are many lay people employed in parishes and in Archdiocesan management, the majority of Church members through whom the Spirit speaks have no voice in the governance of the Church for which they bear responsibility.
First campaign through the Lay Network
One decision-maker in the institutional Church is the Papal Nuncio, the Vatican diplomat in Washington, D.C. One of his jobs is to send recommendations to the Vatican for bishops in the U.S. In 2014, through our deanery network, we invited people to nominate and elect candidates to suggest to the Papal Nuncio for his next recommendation for bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. CCCR had a Bishop Selection Task Force, formed at Synod of the Baptized 2013, planning a campaign to nominate and elect candidates for bishop to send to the Papal Nuncio.
The Lay Network Organizing Team used the bishop selection campaign as the first campaign to engage the lay deanery network. A large number of people wrote to the Papal Nuncio, expressing their concerns about local church leadership.
The people's voice in the election of bishops is part of Church tradition. The Council of the Baptized published a position paper entitled "People's Participation in Selection of Bishops" in January, 2013, giving the history and the rationale for the election of bishops.
Second campaign through the Lay Network
Pope Francis asked for feedback from the faithful for the Synods of Bishops in 2014 and 2015. The Archdiocese held listening sessions which CCCR member attended. The Council of the Baptized published a position paper entitled "Toward a Healthy Christian Theology of Sexuality." The Lay Network members attended listening sessions, participated in surveys, and wrote letters, all input transmitted to the Synod participants and Pope Francis.
Third campaign through the Lay Network
In 2016, the Lay Network is talking to their pastors about re-establishing a channel of communication between the lay people and the Archdiocesan decision-makers, an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Each of the parish deaneries has a pastor who is dean of the parish priests in the deanery. The dean belongs to a Presbyteral Council advising the Archbishop. We are asking our pastors to talk to their deans about an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council to encourage the Presbyteral Council to advise the Archbishop to re-establish one in this Archdiocese. The Council of the Baptized published a position paper entitled "Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: A Recommendation for Re-establishment".
*Council of the Baptized position papers can be found on this website under CoB, publications.