"Urban ministry in the City of Rochester must be a priority for the entire diocese." Thus begins an article posted last Tuesday on CatholicCourier.com.
It seems that Bishop Clark has appointed another of his committees, this one charged with determining "how best to use the diocese’s limited resources to meet the needs of Rochester's parishes and neighborhoods," and that group has now come back with its recommendations.
One of those recommendations was the hiring of additional staff. That has been implemented with the appointment of Sister of Mercy Janet Korn as urban-ministry coordinator and Thomas Kubus, chairman of Peace of Christ Parish’s finance committee, as diocesan finance coordinator focused on working with urban parishes.
According to the article, the group’s other recommendations are:
- Establish a parish advisory council, to be appointed by the bishop, to offer financial support and oversight to some urban campuses, do strategic planning and seek out real-estate expertise.
- Development of a multistage urban summit to focus on the ministerial needs of city residents and include participation of community agencies and other churches. Meeting the needs of urban parishioners "is not just a problem for the Catholic Church," Grizard said.
- Explore other models of ministry, such as the House of Mercy that serves the homeless, and provide education and support to parishioners who want to be engaged in ministry.
- Enhance the relationships between urban and suburban parishes. "What’s occurring in the city is not an issue to be addressed only by people working within the city," Grizard explained. "These are our issues, our challenges. We can’t continue to be church in the suburbs if we ignore the urban churches."
- Study potential areas of further parish or ministry consolidation.
- Generate funding through new assessments on parishes throughout the diocese's 12 counties, based on their level of income. The assessments would be levied on parishes with assets greater than $200,000 or collections totaling more than $200,000.
With respect to that last point I suspect that "assets greater than $200,000" means liquid assets; otherwise, every parish in the diocese would qualify for this new tax.
My take on this: It's too bad that the bishop doesn't consider the proper formation of the next generation of Catholics (i.e., Catholic schools) to be important enough for a similar diocesan-wide assessment.