Monday, November 5, 2007

Archdiocesan Teams to Help Parishes On-Site

During November, parishes may begin to see the ad­van­tages of the newly created arch­diocesan Pa­rish Services Team, as team members go out to "live in" parishes, said Jim Lundholm-Eades, the team director.

The Catholic Spirit first reported in July 2006 that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was restructuring and reducing staff because of future budget projections. The archdiocese publicly announced its reorganization plan in September, and it included the formation of a Parish Services Team.

Team members include arch­dio­cesan employees who had served in various offices, such as Hispanic Ministry, Rural Life Office and the Worship Center, and have been reassigned to the new Parish Services Team. Other teams are: Family Life Team, School Superintendents Team, Clergy Services Team, Com­muni­ca­tions Team and Admini­strative Team.

Although team members pre­viously had visited parishes as part of their jobs, their focus is chang­ing from responding to specific requests to becoming personal lia­isons between pastors and the archbishop. They will be attending parish meetings and visiting with pastors, parish staff and leaders to build up a "bank of knowledge" about good prac­tices that can be shared with other parishes and even other dio­ceses. [...Snip]

"You can't do everything you used to do with fewer people, so we'd better be doing the stuff that parishes need. In that sense, I think parishes will be better served," he said. [...Snip]

Each core team member will be assign­ed to as many as 15 parishes in a region. Other employees also will be attached to the team and assigned a more limited number of parishes as liaisons, after they complete orientation and training.

Parishes will be able to make one call to access all the resources. Em­ploy­ees with expertise in liturgy, finances or legal issues may help, or parishes may be directed to another parish or resources outside the archdiocese.

Holistic approach

It is about building relationships and looking at parish services more holistically, Lundholm-Eades said. The teams will begin to build a list of best parish practices, and identify overall patterns and trends to help the archbishop better know the archdiocese.

Father McDonough noted that several key positions in the archdiocese have been vacated, including the di­rectors of resource development, clergy services and the Respect Life Of­fice, which is being overseen by the Family Life Team.

Because of the upcoming An­nual Catholic Appeal, Father Mc­Don­ough said that someone will be hired soon as acting or temporary director of resource development.

The Clergy Services team currently is being run alone by acting director Deacon Russ Shupe. Father McDo­nough said he has promised the deacon some administrative help. By Lent, clergy services must have further support because that is when the workload increases as pastors change parishes and newly ordained priests get assignments.

Although members of the Pres­byteral Council had additional services they wanted to receive from clergy services, changes may not be made until Archbishop John Nien­stedt takes on the leadership of the archdiocese, Father McDonough added. Catholic Spirit

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