Crossing the bridge: Pastoral planning moves ahead

The latest stage in the diocese’s ongoing pastoral planning process has pastoral care areas (PCAs) — groups of geographically related parishes constituted to

engage in pastoral planning for their territory and peoples — working to restructure Mass schedules, form collaborative councils and identify initiatives to best serve their communities.

   Bishop Robert J. Cunningham directed PCAs to take these steps following a review of recommendations submitted by the area planning committees.

   “The pastoral care areas of the diocese have made recommendations to me based upon the lived experience of their area of the diocese,” he wrote in a letter shared with priests of the diocese in late October. “The College of Consultors has joined me in reading and discussing every report from each PCA. We have also considered the other materials you have shared with diocesan offices. A review of the sacramental ministry, finances and programs of each parish has taken place. The College of Consultors raised the questions of community, faith life, mission, outreach, sacramental life, and sustainability for each parish and each PCA. These deliberations facilitated a diocesan-wide understanding of the faith and the human dynamics at work in our midst.”

   Noting that the next steps were derived from “hours of dialogue at all levels” as well as the “remaining announcements of 2007, the observations of pastors and the responses to the ‘Natural Bridges’ process,” Bishop Cunningham asked that each PCA provide a Mass schedule that “allows the priests of the area to ‘cover’ for each other as celebrants”; that each PCA develop a PCA “Cluster Council that will assist in setting a vision for the work of the parishes as collaborators”; and that each council “investigate, ponder and propose initiatives to serve the people of the area.” Individual letters also contained directions specific to each PCA.

   Bishop Cunningham’s letter as well as the PCA-specific directions will be available on the webpage of the diocese’s Office of Pastoral Planning at syracusediocese.org/diocesan-offices/office-of-pastoral-planning. A listing of each PCA, along with the newly appointed regional vicars who provide leadership to them, can be found on page 4.

   As they have throughout the process, the PCAs will work toward these new benchmarks in collaboration with the Office of Pastoral Planning. The office is  directed by Msgr. Jim Lang with associate directors Brother Ed Falsey, OFM Conv., and Sister Laura Bufano, CSJ.

   The directions from Bishop Cunningham all speak to the notion of collaboration, Msgr. Lang noted.

   When considering Mass schedules, for instance, “if you look at the capacity of our churches and the number of people who are attending them, it’s quite clear, even to the untrained eye, that one could do a bit of consolidation that would make priests available to cover each other in sickness, vacation, et cetera, as well as to increase the number of people who are at each Mass so that we can all enjoy full, conscious and active participation,” Msgr. Lang said.

   He acknowledged that “it’s easy to say that there are too many Masses — until you get into the conversations about who [which church] gets the 10 [a.m.] and who gets the 5 [p.m.],” but added, “We’re at a point with a shrinking number of priests that if we want to keep the Eucharist celebrated in each church for as long as possible, that will mean that we have to think about Mass schedules differently than we have in the past. Part of the thinking differently is to see ourselves in relationship with our neighboring parish.”

   The Pastoral Planning Office has suggested that PCAs develop and share a copy of their revised Mass schedules by the “soft date” of May 1, Msgr. Lang said. A PCA could then test out its new schedule in the summer and get “a sense of how it will work and whether or not it needs tweaking when we get to the fall,” Msgr. Lang explained.

   Developing PCA councils also speaks to the notion that parishes need to work together, he said.

   “Sixty years ago, this area was famous for the Parochial [basketball] League that set up a rivalry between parishes that was rather fun,” Msgr. Lang said. “As things have changed, it has become more necessary for parishes to look to one another for support. Some of that could be economies of scale, such as joint purchasing power, but the most important parts will be evangelization and the pastoral care of people.”

   Some needs, such as care for the sick or youth ministry, may be too large for one parish to address, he noted. “A PCA council would take a look at those areas that are more efficiently [addressed] as a group of parishes than as a single parish and, as the [canonical] code says, ‘investigate, ponder and propose’ ways of caring for all the people who live within the area covered by the PCA,” Msgr. Lang said.

   He expects the PCA councils will initially be composed of the members of the PCA planning committees — pastors, trustees and two officers of each pastoral council — but will likely evolve. The office would like to see the councils “rooted” — identified and with one or two meetings under their belts — by this coming summer.

   Church life may be changing, “but the Church has always changed,” Msgr. Lang said. “What is very clearly being said to us is that discipleship and belonging in the Roman Catholic Church is not a spectator sport. We all need to pick up the charism that the Spirit has given us.”

   For more information and the latest updates on the pastoral planning process, visit syracusediocese.org/diocesan-offices/office-of-pastoral-planning.

Northern Region
Father Gaetano Baccaro,
Regional Vicar

PCA-1        
Hannibal: Our Lady of the Rosary Mission
Minetto: Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Oswego: St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Paul,
St. Peter, St. Stephen, SUNY Hall Newman Center
Scriba: Sacred Heart Mission

PCA-2        
Fulton: Holy Trinity
Mexico: St. Anne, Mother of Mary
Pulaski: Christ Our Light

Eastern Region — Western Area
Father Richard Dunn, Regional Vicar

PCA-1
Amalgamated

PCA-2
Camden: St. John
Holland Patent: St. Leo – St. Ann
Lee Center: St. Joseph [Linked to St. Paul]
Rome: St. Mary – St. Peter,
St. Paul, St. John [Linked to Transfiguration], Transfiguration
Taberg: St. Patrick        

PCA-3    
Canastota: St. Agatha [Linked to Our Lady of the Lake/St. John]
Durhamville: St. Francis [Linked to St. Therese]
Munnsville: St. Therese
Oneida: St. Patrick [Linked to St. Joseph], St. Joseph
Sherrill: St. Helena [Linked to Holy Family, Vernon]
Sylvan Beach: Our Lady of the Lake Mission & St. John, North Bay    
Verona: Our Lady of Good Counsel
Vernon: Holy Family

PCA-4    
Hamilton: St. Mary, Colgate University Campus Ministry
Morrisville: St. Joan of Arc Mission
Oriskany Falls: St. Joseph [Linked to St. Bernard]
Waterville: St. Bernard
Eastern Region — Eastern Area
Father Mark Kaminski,
Regional Vicar

PCA-5    
Boonville: Christ Our Hope @ St. Joseph
Forestport: Christ Our Hope @ St. Patrick
Otter Lake: St. Mary of the Snows Summer Mission

PCA- 6
Utica: St. Peter, St. Mark, Historic Old
St. John, St. Joseph – St. Patrick, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Blessed Sacrament,
St. Anthony & St. Agnes

PCA-7
Utica: Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Trinity [In dialogue with New York Mills], Utica College Campus Ministry, SUNY Polytechnic Institute Campus Ministry
New Hartford: Our Lady of the Rosary
New York Mills: Sacred Heart – St. Mary
Whitesboro: St. Paul

PCA-8
Chadwicks: St Patrick’s – St. Anthony’s
Clark Mills: Annunciation
Clinton: St. Mary, Hamilton College Campus Ministry
New Hartford: St. John the Evangelist,
St. Thomas

Western Region — Eastern Area
Father John Manno, Regional Vicar

PCA -1
Cincinnatus: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission
Cortland: St. Anthony of Padua, St. Mary, SUNY O’Heron Newman Catholic Chapel
DeRuyter: St. Lawrence Mission
Homer: St. Margaret
Marathon/Whitney Point: St. Stephen/
St. Patrick
Truxton: St. Patrick

PCA-2
Lafayette: Church of the Nativity @ St Joseph
Otisco: St. Patrick Mission
Pompey: Church of the Nativity @ Immaculate Conception    
South Onondaga: Corpus Christi        Tully: Church of the Nativity @ St. Leo
PCA-3
Jordan: St. Patrick
Skaneateles: St. Mary of the Lake
PCA-10    
Syracuse: All Saints, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Most Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anthony, St. James, St. Lucy, Syracuse University/ESF, St. Thomas More Catholic Campus Ministry

PCA-11    
Bridgeport: St. Francis of Assisi
DeWitt: Holy Cross
East Syracuse: St. Matthew
Minoa: St. Mary
Syracuse: Blessed Sacrament, St. Vincent de Paul

PCA-12    
Cazenovia: St. James
Chittenango: St. Patrick
Fayetteville: Immaculate Conception
Manlius: St. Ann

Western Region — Western Area
Msgr. James O’Brien, Regional Vicar

PCA-4
Lakeland: Our Lady of Peace [Linked to St. Cecilia]
Solvay: St. Cecilia
Syracuse: Basilica of the Sacred Heart,
St. Charles – St. Ann, St. Patrick [Linked to St. Bridget – St. Joseph], St. Bridget – St. Joseph, Transfiguration of Our Lord

PCA-5
Camillus: St. Joseph
Marcellus: St. Francis Xavier    
Syracuse: Holy Family, St. Michael –
St. Peter, Onondaga Community College Campus Ministry

PCA-6    
Central Square: Divine Mercy
Cicero: Sacred Heart
Cleveland: St. Mary
Constantia: St. Bernadette Mission
Mattydale: St. Margaret
North Syracuse: St. Rose of Lima
Syracuse: St. Daniel

PCA-7    
Liverpool: Christ the King, Immaculate Heart of Mary [Linked to St Joseph the Worker], Pope John XXIII, St. Joseph the Worker

PCA-8    
Baldwinsville: St. Augustine, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Mary
Phoenix: St. Stephen

PCA-9
Syracuse: Assumption, Our Lady of Pompei – St. Peter, St. John the Baptist – Holy Trinity

Southern Region
Msgr. John Putano, Regional Vicar

PCA-1        
Endicott: Our Lady of Good Counsel,
St. Ambrose, St. Anthony, St. Joseph    
Endwell: Holy Family
Maine: Most Holy Rosary

PCA-2 A    
Deposit: St. Joseph
Kirkwood: St. Mary
Sanitaria Springs: St. Joseph
Windsor: Our Lady of Lourdes

PCA-2 B    
Binghamton: Sts. John and Andrew
Vestal: St. Vincent – Blessed Sacrament, Binghamton University Campus Ministry, Our Lady of Sorrows

PCA-3        
Binghamton: Holy Trinity, Ss. Cyril and Methodius, St. Patrick [Linked to St. Thomas], St. Thomas
Johnson City: St. James

PCA – 4    
Binghamton: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Mary [Linked to St. Paul], St. Paul, Broome Community College Campus Ministry

PCA – 5    
Afton: St. Agnes Mission
Bainbridge: St. John
Greene: Immaculate Conception
New Berlin: St. Theresa
Norwich: St. Bartholomew, St. Paul
Oxford: St. Joseph
Sherburne: St. Malachy

Note: All Campus Ministers are responsible to the Diocesan Director of Campus Ministry.   

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