Diocesan budget reviewed by presbyteral council

Categories: Around the Diocese

March 28, 2014, edition
By Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully

In its first meeting with Bishop Donald Kettler, the presbyteral council, which consists of priest representatives, reviewed the upcoming diocesan budget, elected officers, discussed new liturgy guidelines and proposed a different lens for looking at ministry.

The 2014-15 budget for the curia offices of the St. Cloud Diocese is balanced with revenues and expenses at approximately $5.1 million. Main sources of income include parish assessments and audits, the Annual Diocesan Appeal, program fees, investment earnings and rental fees.

Major expenses include wages, benefits and taxes; assessment fees paid by the diocese; program fees, education and formation for seminary students, professional fees, general operating expenses and diocesan pledges and contributions.

The budget does not include The Catholic Foundation, Clerical Aid, Deposit and Loan and Priest Pension, which are separate corporations from the diocese.

At the March 25 meeting Bishop Kettler said he would like to see more people contributing to the Annual Diocesan Appeal. He said he thought participation should be at around 50 percent.

Participation might be low, he suggested, because many people may not know what services the appeal funds for them. Father Matthew Kuhn, representing the Fergus Falls/Wadena Deanery, said that people need to know that the money is being spent wisely.

Father Greg Paffel, representing the Melrose/Sauk Centre Deanery, suggested the focus be on the new evangelization and the true spirit of stewardship. Father Robert Kieffer, a representative for the Alexandria/Morris Deanery, referred to the “The Joy of the Gospel” and said that it should be addressed. “The Joy of the Gospel,” written by Pope Francis, calls for a new chapter in evangelization.

“He’s very direct on what the expectation is,” Father Kieffer said. “It’s a shift in thought, the way he presented it.”

Father Helmin to chair

In other business, the council:

Elected officers: Father Virgil Helmin, representative from the Foley/Princeton Deanery as chair; Father Kuhn as vice chair; Father Scott Pogatchnik as secretary. Father Paffel volunteered to serve as a representative to the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Bishop Kettler asked for ideas on which groups, in addition to the deaneries and religious orders, should be represented on the presbyteral council. Priests suggested Hispanic ministry, New Evangelization and various age groups.

Discussed the next step for the eulogy and funeral guidelines, which were discussed at previous presbyteral council meetings. Bishop Kettler said he would like to see guidelines written for liturgies in general so they are more consistent across the diocese. It was agreed that the eulogy and funeral guidelines could be part of that document.

• Discussed Mass offerings to apply to the Mass for specific intentions. The assumption is there are fewer Mass intentions than in the past. Father Paffel said there is a culture change in which people don’t realize the power of prayer and the value of the Mass. Father Kuhn said that he did not know what Mass offerings were until he was in the seminary. He suggested they be talked about more frequently.

• Discussed the Missionary Cooperation Plan, in which a speaker presents his or her mission experience at a parish and a collection is taken for a particular mission organization. Parishes are invited to participate in the program once every three years but may do so more often. Father Bill Vos, Catholic Relief Services diocesan director, said in a letter that most dioceses request parishes participate in the Missionary Cooperation Plan each year. Some priests said their parishes would like to host speakers more often than they do now, which is encouraged by the Mission Office. Others said that it is very important that the speakers are of high quality. One priest mentioned the cost involved in hosting a speaker.