Bishop’s final decisions near after yearlong study of parishes

Catholics of the Diocese of Peoria will soon learn the results and implications of the yearlong “Growing in Faith Together” study that will impact all parishes.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, is now studying the final recommendations made by the Diocesan Planning Commission following a two-day meeting in late June. The advisory group weighed recommendations on how parishes might better work together surfaced by the grassroots work of 45 parish “clusters” formed from the 160 faith communities in the diocese.

“The cluster committees took their role very responsibly and returned to us very good modifications, which were thoroughly discussed and many adopted,” said Msgr. Paul Showalter, vicar general and diocesan project coordinator for GIFT.

Msgr. Showalter said Bishop Jenky will have a final consultation regarding the recommendations with the Presbyteral Council and Diocesan Consultors on Aug. 8. He is expected to announce his decisions shortly after that meeting.

Msgr. Showalter praised “the fine cooperation of the priests of our diocese and excellent participation of our laity” throughout the process, which began last September with regional training sessions to familiarize parish core teams with the goals and timeline.

The GIFT process was guided by the Seattle-based consulting firm The Reid Group.

It called on all parishes to study their strengths and weaknesses with the goal of further cooperation with neighboring parishes.

The work of the Diocesan Planning Commission was “amazing,” said Msgr. Showalter. He said the group, comprised of persons from all areas of the diocese, was “thoroughly honest and caring” as it regarded the people and parishes of the diocese and the impact their recommendations for the future would have.

The generous service of the hundreds of volunteers involved in the process will result “in a plan that will take us through the next 10 or 15 years” and help Bishop Jenky and priests “better serve the needs of the diocese,” he said.

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