Lay Advisory Board takes shape

| March 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
From left, Paul Rebholz of St. Ambrose in Woodbury makes a point while Jerry DeZelar of St. John Vianney in South St. Paul and others in Deanery Five listen at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in St. Paul during a March 13 formation meeting for a Lay Advisory Board to Archbishop Bernard Hebda.

From left, Paul Rebholz of St. Ambrose in Woodbury makes a point while Jerry DeZelar of St. John Vianney in South St. Paul and others in Deanery Five listen at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in St. Paul during a March 13 formation meeting for a Lay Advisory Board to Archbishop Bernard Hebda. Joe Ruff/The Catholic Spirit

Jerry Lowe of Sacred Heart in St. Paul is going to help.

So is Paul Rebholz of St. Ambrose in Woodbury and scores of other parishioners across the archdiocese as Archbishop Bernard Hebda and other archdiocesan officials form a Lay Advisory Board to assist them in promoting healing and a renewed sense of mission in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Lowe and Rebholz were among about two dozen representatives of pastoral councils in four deaneries who gathered March 13 at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in St. Paul to learn more about the initiative, first announced in November.

Members of each deanery also chose one representative to serve a two-year term on the board, which will have at least 15 members and meet quarterly with the archbishop. The deanery representatives will report on those meetings to the pastoral council representatives, who will share the information with their councils and ultimately with the faithful of each parish.

Similar meetings were held at St. Therese in Deephaven March 11, St. Vincent de Paul in Brooklyn Park March 12 and St. Michael in Farmington March 14, spanning all 15 deaneries — or geographic regions — across the archdiocese.

The first meeting of the advisory board with the archbishop will be April 3 at the Catholic Center.

“I’m anxious to see how it turns out here,” said Lowe, who was chosen to represent Deanery Four — which includes some parishes in St. Paul, Little Canada, Maplewood, North St. Paul, Oakdale and Shoreview — on the advisory board. “I’m kind of excited about it.”

“This is great,” said Rebholz, a representative from St. Ambrose’s pastoral council in Deanery Five. “I think the process of engaging the parish and getting the parishes together so we can have a coordinated voice is really important, so we can move forward. I think it’s great that the archbishop has done this.”

Goals for the advisory board include finding ways the archdiocese can help people heal and grow in their faith in the wake of the local clergy sexual abuse scandal that included the archdiocese filing for bankruptcy in 2015, and begin planning for an anticipated archdiocesan synod, which will be another important step forward, Father Michael Tix, archdiocesan liaison for the effort and vicar for clergy and parish services, said at the meeting.

The abuse has not only hurt victims/survivors and their families and friends, but every Catholic across the archdiocese to some degree or another, Father Tix said. It will continue to take time for those wounds to heal, and the Lay Advisory Board can suggest concrete steps to take in that process, Father Tix said.

“Before we can move forward, we’ve got to do some healing,” he told the gathering. “Where do we need that healing? How do we do that?”

Archdiocesan leaders hope the lay board also can help the local Church use lessons learned in recent years to shape evangelization, Father Tix said.

Archbishop Hebda has spoken frequently about holding an archdiocesan synod, although its form has yet to be determined, Father Tix said. The lay board can help focus that vision, he said.

“We don’t know the time frame or the parameters for (a synod),” but the Church is called to evangelize, and the laity have an important role, Father Tix said. At one point, he quoted from Pope Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium”:

“I dream of a ‘missionary option’,” Father Tix said, reading an excerpt from the document, “that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than her self-preservation.”

Tags: , ,

Category: Featured, Local News