Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Message from Catholic Coalition for Church Reform

Don’t complain, Organize!

If lay people want a voice in the Church, they have to organize to make themselves heard--about leadership, about accountability, about the future of parishes.  We are organizing a network to take responsibility for a strong and united voice in our Church.

How can you connect up with the network?  It’s easy.  Go to and give us your name and parish and email address.  We will connect you with others in your parish and your deanery and together we will speak out on how our local church addresses its mission.

While you are there, nominate a local pastor for bishop/archbishop.  We need leadership to pull the Archdiocese together behind its mission.

Besides joining the network, you can step up to do more.  CCCR is calling for two or more people from each parish in each deanery to create a lay email network among the 15 deaneries of the Archdiocese.

First out of the shoot, Deanery 14, comprising 15 parishes in South Minneapolis, has a network in the making.  Forty-five people from 10 of the 15 parishes held their first organizing meeting on March 26, at Spirit of St. Stephen Catholic Community.
Go to, Lay Networking in Deaneries and Bishop Selection.  Find out what you want to know, then call 612 (379) 1043 to help grow the network.

Lay Network Organizing in Deaneries

Who is doing the organizing?
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR)* is organizing an email network of lay people in the deaneries of the Archdiocese. A Lay Network Organizing Team has been formed to implement the plan.  Members are Bill Bailey, Sabrina Mauritz, Mary Jane Mitchell, Bernie Rodel, Eileen Rodel, Paula Ruddy, and Mary Beth Stein

What is a deanery?
The priests of the Archdiocese are organized in a deanery system. There are about 12 to 15 parishes to a deanery, and there are 15 parish deaneries in the Archdiocese, grouped geographically. The pastors meet regularly. Each deanery has a dean; one of the pastors serves in that role. We plan to use this Archdiocesan structure for parishes to form our network of parishioners.

We are beginning to organize our lay network with Deanery 14, the parishes in South Minneapolis. Since this kind of networking has not been done before, we are building a model from scratch. With your help, we can succeed.

Why are we doing this?
People usually have a strong parish identity, and that is a good thing. But we are thinking that an inter-parish email network with a deanery identity would give lay people a much stronger voice in the direction of the Church. It would provide a channel for feedback to the Church decision-makers-- pastors, deans, the Archbishop. At this time, there is no organized way for the lay people to communicate with them.

We want to target the Church decision-makers and bring the people’s voice to them. The network of parishioners within deaneries is our strategy to make the voice of the people heard in one campaign after another.

What campaign will be first through the network?
For example, one decision-maker in the institutional Church is the Papal Nuncio, the Vatican diplomat in Washington, D.C. One of his jobs is to send recommendations to the Vatican for bishops in the U.S. Through our deanery network, we can invite people to nominate and elect candidates to suggest to the Papal Nuncio for his next recommendation for bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

CCCR has a Bishop Selection Task Force, formed at Synod of the Baptized 2013, planning a campaign to nominate and elect candidates for bishop to send to the Papal Nuncio.
The Lay Network Organizing Team will use the bishop selection campaign as the first campaign to engage the lay deanery network.

Check on the website, , for the Bishop Selection Task Force information and the nomination form.

The people’s voice in the election of bishops is part of Church tradition.  The Council of the Baptized** published a position paper entitled People’s Participation in Selection of Bishops in January, 2013, giving the history and the rationale for the election of bishops.  It is available free of charge at  Click on “Publications.”

OK, what is the plan?
Step one: We are forming “seed teams” in each parish. A seed team is two or more people who will step up to lead the email network in their parish. It involves talking to people about 1) joining in the network and 2) nominating a candidate for bishop.  CCCR Lay Network Organizing Team will get the parish teams together in a deanery meeting.

Step two: After the first organizing meeting, the seed teams will invite as many people as they can from their parishes to join the network and at the same time invite them to fill out a nomination form for Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Step three: The network will channel emails with information and other campaigns, and we will get together from time to time.  Never can tell what the Holy Spirit will lead each deanery to accomplish. 

Step four: CCCR will network all the deaneries together and serve as the clearinghouse for the concerns of the laity. The network will bring the concerns of the people to the decision-makers.  The Council of the Baptized will continue to provide the firm grounding in scripture, Church tradition, and contemporary theology for the positions the laity takes.
What is your next step?
·        If you want to be part of the network, go to and nominate a local pastor for bishop/archbishop.  You may list qualifications you value if you do not have a nominee in mind.
·         If you want to build the network, email us at or call (612) 379-1043.

*CCCR is a MN non-profit with federal tax exempt status. It was established in 2009 to join all the organizations working for a Vatican II model of church in coalition.  See for more information.

**Council of the Baptized was formed by CCCR in 2012 to listen to the concerns of the faithful and to give voice to their concerns in position statements and position papers. Programs proposed to be implemented by the proponents are brought to the Council for endorsement.

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