Reporting on this development for The Catholic Spirit, Maria Wiering writes:
Archbishop Bernard Hebda is asking for Catholics' input on the strengths and challenges of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the qualities hoped for in its next archbishop, through a series of listening sessions to be held in October and November.
The sessions are "taking a page from Pope Francis' playbook," he said.
"It's an opportunity for our local Church to be able to offer some input to Pope Francis and those with whom he'll be collaborating in making a decision about the next archbishop," he said. "I think it's important that we see how consultative Pope Francis has been from the beginning of his pontificate. Consider, for example, his use of a committee of cardinals to advise him and the emphasis that he has placed on the Synod process. We're hoping that we might be able to assist him - in all humility - along those lines by giving him some information from those who know the archdiocese best."
Archbishop Hebda, the archdiocese's apostolic administrator since the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt in June, acknowledged that the effort to obtain widespread feedback ahead of a new archbishop may be somewhat unusual, but suggested it could be something other dioceses adopt if it proves helpful.
The sessions will be hosted at parishes and Catholic institutions in several areas of the archdiocese in hopes that every Catholic who wishes to participate can. The locations were chosen for geographic diversity, their ability to accommodate large groups and as "parishes where different kinds of people would feel comfortable," Archbishop Hebda said.
"Some of the sessions will be in non-parish settings, so even those who feel some distance from the Church might feel comfortable in sharing their views with us," he said.
Feedback gathered during these sessions will be shared with those responsible for advising Pope Francis as he makes this important choice and with the new Archbishop whenever he is named. Summaries will be published in The Catholic Spirit.
For many of us, this is the opportunity we've long been waiting and working for: the chance to step up and let our voices be heard about the type of leadership we want to see in our local church!
Please do all you can to attend one of the listening sessions and encourage family and friends to do likewise.
Following is the schedule of listening sessions.
Schedule of Listening Sessions
Monday, October 5
1:00–3:00 p.m., Rauenhorst Ballroom, Coeur de Catherine, St. Catherine University, St. Paul
7:00–9 p.m., St. Stephen, Anoka
Tuesday, October 6:
1:00–3:00 p.m., Carondelet Center, St. Paul (NOTE: For women and men in consecrated life)
7:00–9:00 p.m., Pax Christi, Eden Prairie
Monday, November 2
7:00–9:00 p.m., Saint Peter, Forest Lake
Tuesday, November 3
7:00–9:00 p.m., Divine Mercy, Faribault
Wednesday, November 4
7:00–9:00 p.m., Woulfe Alumni Hall, Anderson Student Center, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul
Additional listening sessions are being scheduled for Latino Ministry parishes (in Spanish) and priests.
See also the previous PCV posts:
• CCCR Representatives Meet with Archbishop Hebda
• Our Next Archbishop: What Would You Ask a Candidate If You Knew Your Voice Would Be Heard?
• We Need a New Way of Choosing Bishops
• Local Catholics Select Three Priests for Bishop/Archbishop
• CCCR Responds to the Resignation of Archbishop Nienstedt
• Tom Flannery in Minneapolis
• "Our Voices Are Growing"
• Creating a Liberating Church
• Let Our Voices Be Heard
• Papal Appointment of Bishops is Not Traditional