No shepherds to guide them
Citing lack of priests, Fresno bishop advances plan for “parish life coordinators”
FRESNO, Ca., Apr. 19, 2007 (http://calcatholic.com) - “This is already happening in many of our dioceses, even here in California, and it is coming soon to our diocese,” said Fresno Bishop John Steinbock in a message to the faithful aired on KNXT-TV. “In our nation there are seven dioceses that half of their parishes have no resident priest.”
In the March message, Steinbock told his flock about upcoming changes in their sheepfold. Soon, he said, many of them would have no shepherds to guide them. Only fellow sheep.
Steinbock, along with 127 priests and 42 permanent deacons, met at a four-day gathering of the Clergy for Continuing Formation held at the Visalia Convention Center in January, where they began “a strategic planning process to eventually form a five-year plan for pastoral ministry.”
Steinbock said the meeting “looked at where we are and where we hope to be in five years from now, and how we can work towards that vision. The priests and deacons came up with four main areas to place our emphasis in these next five years: Catechesis, Lay Ministry, Vocations and Youth Ministry.”
The meeting set up five committees, which will work out plans to realize these emphases. The committees will submit their plans to the priests’ council in five years for review, and ultimately to Steinbock for final approval.