The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) provides reflection and input to the Cardinal from the perspective of Catholics throughout the archdiocese. Representatives from parishes throughout Cook and Lake counties, active in their parishes and deaneries, provide input received from local discussions and their own perspectives.
This past June, the APC met to reflect on the question that Cardinal George annually poses to the APC, which is to tell him about other issues and concerns members have been hearing about in their parishes, deaneries or other committees.
What follows, in three general categories, is a summary of some of the issues and concerns raised by the APC delegates
The discussion started with concern about the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This question was posed, “If the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Orders extended to all Catholics by the ordination of women to the Permanent Diaconate, what efforts would this action produce in our parishes, the Archdiocese, and the universal Church?”
Regarding the observance of Sunday Mass and the ongoing education of Catholics, these suggestions were made:
- Homilies need to be substantive and reflect issues and concerns in the 21st century.
- Educate people on importance of confession and the other sacraments.
- Standardize Catholic religious education, including sacramental programs/preparation for Catholic Schools and/or as part of a Religious Education program.
- Participation at mass and parish events should be stressed as key in giving back to the parish. This helps provide support for the parish.
- Vicariate or Deanery training programs should be shared with the other Vicariates and Deaneries. Multiple-parish events should be encouraged, to share resources and welcome parishes that cannot afford to go to other training.
- Increase digital communications to include inviting people to fill out cards and surveys via a website instead of in the pew.
- How do we become one parish when multiple cultures within a parish require separate ministries or have different ways to teach the Faith?
- Many parishes are having to “do more with less.”
- There is need across the Archdiocese for greater understanding of the functions of the Deanery and the APC and Parish Pastoral Councils (PPC).
- With respect to the To Teach Who Christ Is Campaign, there are concerns regarding why money is being raised by parishes for schools other than their own, or by parishes that do not have schools.
- Concerns were voiced indicating greater need for acceptance of annulment and same sex couples.
- Need for more information on the Parish Transformation initiative.