The Diocese of Rochester’s Office of Parish and Clergy services has made some changes within its department in order to better meet the changing needs of the local church, according to the office’s director, Bernard Grizard. These changes include a shift in the focus of pastoral planning as well as new assignments for certain staff members, Grizard said June 17.
The changes are being made to enable the office to continue providing relevant and helpful services to parishes and respond to the future needs of the local church, he said.
"I think it’s very exciting. I think good things should come out of all this," Grizard said.
Deb Housel, the office’s coordinator for chaplaincies at health-care and correctional facilities, has been named associate director of the Office of Parish and Clergy Services. She will continue to coordinate chaplaincies, but in her new position also will support the diocesan offices of Priest Personnel, Deacon Personnel and Vocations.
Housel also will take over as the diocese’s victims assistance coordinator, a position Barbara Pedeville had occupied from 1993 until her retirement March 31. The diocese will be distributing revised information pamphlets with Housel’s contact information in the near future, Grizard said.
Housel also will continue to facilitate parishes’ sales of duplicate religious items. When two or more parishes combine to form a single new parish, they’re often left with more sacred items, such as crosses and chalices, than they actually can use, Grizard explained. Housel connects parishes with companies that can make sure those items are resold to Catholic churches and will not be abused or misused. She also makes sure the parishes receive a fair price for these duplicate items, Grizard said.
As part of pastoral planning’s shifting focus, staff members Karen Rinefierd and Tom Kubus will take on new positions. Grizard noted that pastoral planning always has been intended to create, sustain and increase the vitality of parishes and faith communities so that they can continue their missions and be responsive to changing circumstances. After several years of focusing on parish reconfigurations, Grizard said it’s time for the process to put greater emphasis on the human elements of leadership, strategic planning and financial management.
"We believe the emphasis rightly turns now to developing the leadership capabilities of pastors, pastoral administrators, staff and consultative bodies so that these more complex parish entities can fulfill their mission of word, worship, community and service through forming disciples of Christ," Grizard said. "Tom and Karen will work together to provide parishes the support needed in their planning efforts. This structure is more in line with the reality of where parishes are at in terms of planning their future."
Rinefierd, who had been diocesan pastoral-planning coordinator, will take on the new role of coordinator of leadership formation for parishes, and her office will move from the diocesan Pastoral Center to St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Pittsford. She will be responsible for coordinating leadership development for first-time pastoral leaders and those in new assignments, and for and providing training and development to strengthen the effectiveness of pastoral leaders and staffs. Rinefierd also will develop leadership, provide professional assistance to pastoral councils and support active planning groups focused on collaborative ministries.
"It’s a very good step to ensure the vitality of parishes by focusing on the leadership and making sure they have the right tools. We believe St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry is the perfect place to locate leadership development as it already provides training, professional education and formation to many," Grizard said.
Kubus, who had been working as a financial analyst with urban parishes, will become associate director of strategic planning and parish finance. In this position he will help parishes develop strategic plans and corresponding viable financial plans. As single-site parishes have merged and formed new parishes with multiple sites and sometimes schools, the financial picture at many parishes has become more complicated than ever before.
"Because financial viability is critical to the vitality of all our parishes and faith communities, (Kubus) will be a resource and facilitator for parish and cluster pastoral planning focused primarily on finance and administration," Grizard said.
Kubus also will create a Web-based seminar that will introduce the concepts of strategic planning to interested parties, and another online seminar, titled "Effective Finance Councils." This second seminar will help pastors, lay trustees, finance directors and business managers make the most of advice provided to them to assist in the administration of their parishes’ temporal goods.
Grizard also announced that Sister of Mercy Janet Korn will retire at the end of June from her position as coordinator of mission and outreach in Parish and Clergy Services’ Cultural Diversity Office.
"She will be greatly missed, as she has worked tirelessly to serve in many capacities in the diocesan community. Sister Janet has been a great asset and a very special person to our department. We are most grateful for her service and many accomplishments on behalf of the diocesan mission," Grizard said.
As more and more city parishes have undertaken outreach efforts to people in their neighborhoods, there’s less of a need for Parish and Clergy Services to offer such outreach efforts, Grizard said. There is a growing need, however, for more outreach to the various cultural communities within the local church, he said. Grizard’s office is seeking to fill the newly created position of intercultural program specialist. This person will assist the diocese in developing and implementing pastoral plans for ministry to Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and the deaf community. He or she also will work with parishes to develop evangelization and outreach initiatives for these cultural groups, Grizard said.
"With this position we may be able to target particular groups and make sure they’re actively involved and served within our diocese based on their cultural needs and the gifts they bring to the table," he added.