Council opens new season - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Council opens new season

We had the first Priests’ Council meeting of the new season yesterday, the day after Labor Day.

It was a rewarding session, as they usually are. Members shared the perspectives they bring to the table, their hopes for the council year and named some of the challenges that our diocese must face.

Karen Franz, general manager and editor of the Catholic Courier, updated the council on the experience of our renewed publication. Her comments included some preliminary data garnered from the Catholic Courier’s readership survey, which still had four days to go at the time of her presentation. I look forward to the final results of the survey so that we can work continually to improve the weekly, the monthly and dot-com editions.

As is customary at our first session, the members elected officers for the year: Father Bob Kennedy is our chairman; Father Peter Clifford, our vice chair; and Father Kevin McKenna, secretary. These three men plus at-large member Father Bob Werth, Father Joe Hart and I form the executive committee of our presbyteral council.

The men elected to serve in these leadership positions make a serious commitment to our diocese and to their brother priests. In addition to our monthly meeting from September through May, the executive committee meets the day after every presbyteral council meeting. We do a careful review of the evaluations of that session, reflect on our experience of it, and prepare the agenda and supporting material for the next meeting.

We are blessed in the newly elected members of our executive committee. Their election indicates that their peers hold them in high esteem. Each brings to the table a range of gifts and talents, and a wealth of pastoral experience. I look forward very much to working with them.

For several years we have held our presbyteral council meetings at the parish center at St. Dominic’s in Shortsville. It is a convenient location. Father John Gagnier (before him Father Bill Cosgrove) and the parish community have been most hospitable to us.

Yesterday, however, we met at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish, thinking that the first meeting of the council year would be a good time for the members to see firsthand the ongoing work of cathedral renovation.

When we finished our business meeting, we went into the church. There we had a brief prayer service during which the council members committed themselves to faithful service to the body. Afterward, the council members, most who had not been inside the cathedral since it closed on June 29, 2003, had a chance to move around that exciting new space. Time was limited, and we did not have a lot of time to chat about the experience. Yet my impression is that they were quite pleased by what they saw, and more eager than ever to see the project completed.

I do ask you to pray for our Priests’ Council and its work in the coming months. These good men have a deep interest in the spiritual renewal and revitalization of our diocese. We’ll be working hard to find ways to help us reach that noble goal.

A closing note about Sacred Heart Cathedral: Just before I went on retreat I visited the studio of John Dodd, the artist working on the cathedra (bishop’s chair) and other sanctuary furniture for the cathedral. I was deeply impressed by the cathedra which, at the time of the visit, was nearly completed. I was happy to tell the presbyteral council about the cathedra because it was their gift to the new Sacred Heart.

I hope that these late days of summer are treating you well.

Peace to all.

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