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Pastoral planning remains on pace for two rural deaneries

Pastoral planning that began in October is on target to wrap up in July or August for the first two of the archdiocese’s six rural deaneries, with initial observations, demographic and other data being shared and discussed.

"It’s been a pretty good process," said Deacon Stephen Luna, director of human resources and pastoral planning for the archdiocese. "It’s been a learning process for all of us."

Deacon Luna and officials with Wisconsin-based Meitler consulting have met with pastors, principals, parish and school leaders in all 31 parishes of the rural southwest and rural central deaneries, areas that include Columbus, Duncan, Lindsay and Clarkson in the southwest; and Norfolk, Schoolcraft, Clearwater and Pierce in the central deanery.

Deadlines are being met, and a similar process will begin in September for the rural northwest and rural north-central deaneries, which encompass 24 parishes, he said.

The goal for each deanery is to develop and coordinate parish plans for facilities and other needs for the next decade and beyond, with an emphasis on evangelization that tracks with the archdiocese’s pastoral vision: "One church: encountering Jesus, equipping disciples, living mercy."

The rural planning process has included meetings at the parish, deanery and archdiocesan levels, with meetings at the chancery in Omaha held March 28 and Aug. 6, Deacon Luna said.

The archdiocesan team includes Archbishop George J. Lucas; Deacon Luna; Father Scott Hastings, vicar for clergy and judicial vicar; Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor; Father Jeffrey Lorig, pastor of St. Ludger Parish of Creighton and St. Ignatius Parish of Brunswick; Father Michael Swanton, pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Columbus and dean of the rural southwest deanery, and Father Daniel Andrews, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk and dean of the rural central deanery.

Long-range plans for the rural southwest and rural central deaneries should be in place by late summer, and five-year plans for each parish will be completed by the end of this year or early in 2018, Deacon Luna said.

Plans for all six rural deaneries should be completed by the end of 2019.

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