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.
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