The information and opinion gathering phase of the strategic planning process has been completed, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced today.
This 15-month process intended to ensure the archdiocese’s continued vitality for the future amid changing demographic and economic realities.
The 13-member strategic planning task force appointed by Archbishop John Nienstedt in February 2009 has considered the input of thousands of parishioners as well as parish and Catholic school leaders and staff gathered during more than 150 meetings over the past year. The task force is now completing its recommendations for presentation to the archbishop.
Archbishop Nienstedt will study and evaluate the recommendations during July, August and September, seeking further facts and analysis as needed. He will also consult with the Presbyteral Council, an elective body of priests that represents the archdiocese’s clergy, before finalizing a detailed strategic reorganization plan. The completed plan will be announced in each of the archdiocese’s 217 parishes at weekend Masses on October 16-17.
The strategic planning process is guided by the church’s mission of sharing the message of Jesus Christ and is necessitated by key economic and demographic factors. One factor is the growing number of Catholics within the archdiocese who must be served by fewer priests for the foreseeable future. Additionally, many parishes and schools are not located where population growth is strong now. Some parishes and schools are also operating on old models that are no longer sustainable.
The archdiocese emphasized that no decisions are predetermined at this point, however some parishes and schools will merge or cluster and it is likely that some buildings will close. The strategic planning process is intended to address these current realities while remaining true to the mission of the church.
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis serves a Catholic population of 800,000 who currently worship in 217 parishes throughout a 12 county area. Two of the nation’s largest Catholic universities, a major and minor seminary, 12 Catholic high schools and more than 80 Catholic elementary schools are located within the archdiocese. Also within the Archdiocese are four Catholic hospitals and numerous elderly residences and nursing homes. Catholic Charities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, an affiliated agency of the Archdiocese, is the largest nongovernmental social service provider in the metro area.