Pastoral Council Retreat & Broncos Defeat

Ah yes, so another week has passed and another week of neglecting my blogging… Do you see a pattern now? As I’m writing this, I’m still getting over the shock of the Broncos losing the AFC Championship and watching our trip to the Super Bowl go down the drain. In some ways I’m glad I didn’t blog about my excitement earlier this week, because now I don’t have to compare it to the disappointment I have now… Last week the build-up was amazing. In honor of Jake Plummer’s grizzly beard I decided to stop shaving and grow my own beard. By Sunday morning I was beginning to get pretty hairy, and I was imagining what the beard would look like by Super Bowl, but now that hope has passed, and I went home and cleaned my painted face and shaved the whole face, including the goat… It feels weird, but so does not winning the Championship game and going to the Super Bowl… Argghh….

A few pictures though:

Emily, Bethany & I in front of Mile High before the game

Bethany and I at the end of the game, being "Sad Bronco Fans"

Of course this week has been busy with all sorts of activities…

Pastoral Council Retreat

So it’s official, I am no longer in Pastoral Council!! My tenure as Pastoral Council Chair and as a student representative ended last weekend with the Pastoral Council Retreat. To finally be done with Pastoral Council – I cannot convey the level of relief that I now feel.

Please don’t take my relief and excitement as a negative reflection of Pastoral Council, or the members that have been and are currently part of the group. I think the intentions of Pastoral Council are noble, and the Council is lucky to have the members they have today. There are many great minds around that table, and I’m privilege to have been a part of that. However after 3 & 1/2 years on Council my departure was long overdue, especially after some of the events that transpired during my time on the Council. The leadership hardship and struggles that took place over the last three years have resulted in my ultimate disenfranchisement of the decision-making process at John XXIII. I have attempted to reconcile my struggles and feelings, but ultimately I think what will be best for both myself and PC is my bowing out.

Throughout our retreat this weekend I spent a lot of time thinking about where things are going – the opportunities and the potential struggles that exist. I do admit that part of me will miss being informed on the issues, participating in the discussions and deliberations and the idea of shaping our Parish. However my feelings of relief were reinforced by an event that happened on Saturday morning:

One of the primary goals of this retreat was to better understand how exactly leadership in our Parish works with our Pastor, and to define the process and expectations as to what Pastoral Council will do and what capacity they will function in. We had a facilitator graciously give of his time to come mediate the discussion, and offer guidance on how we go about defining our leadership structure. The morning started off with great potential – the discussion was very fruitful. However when we got ready to do a round table brainstorming session of our expections of each other, the Pastor got up and said "Well, [the other Priest] and I need to go hear Confessions at [another Parish]. We’ll be back later."

You have got to be kidding me! Here we have 25 people that gave their early Saturday morning to be here, and you essentially made the rest of the morning meaningless! How can we define the appropriate expectations of leadership between the Pastor and leadership groups when the Pastor isn’t present to take part in the discussion.

I appreciate the efforts of the facilitator and the group to continue the brainstorming session. I thought the discussion was very fruitful and the participants definitely benefited from the discussion. At the same time, because the Pastor wasn’t there leads back to the same problem of lack of communication which leads to making uninformed decisions and not communicating them!

Obviously I’m not suggesting that a Priest should not offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but when he agreed to volunteer for the other Parish did he not think about the impact of this decision? We planned this date in the early fall for the sole purpose of offering a time that would work for everyone. If you’re going to schedule around this retreat then the least you can do is inform us with more than a 10 second notice! By double-booking this event and not informing anyone, I interpreted this action as a statement about Pastoral Council’s value in the leadership process. It’s actions like these which convince me that things are not going to change at J23 any time soon, and remind me that one can only bang their head against that wall so many times before you can’t get up.

I’m going to keep praying for Pastoral Council, the J23 staff, the Pastor and everyone involved in this leadership process. I see the potential, enthusiasm and energy that was present throughout the weekend – and I realize how much my experiences have caused me to lose those qualities. I hope that a change occurs while Pastoral Council is still abundant in those gifts. Right now – I feel at peace with my departure…

On the other hand, my NCSC Involvement continues to be life-giving and a positive source of energy. Since Conference it seems like things have been fast-paced with no signs of stopping. I still feel comfortable with the workload, and I only get more excited with all of the projects we have ramping up. Something interesting : I am 22 days into being the PR Chair and as of tonight I’ve sent 124 emails. By comparison for the entire year as Western Regional chair I sent 678 emails. I don’t think it’s so much that I’m busier, as much as that I’m shifting the kind of work I’m doing. I am now spending a lot of time on email though…