Photo by Ron Chapple Stock/Ron Chapple Studios / Getty Images
Photo by Ron Chapple Stock/Ron Chapple Studios / Getty Images

GIFT Cluster Proposal Accepted by Diocese

Back in March 2014, we reported to you the suggestions that were sent to the Diocese for the Growing In Faith Together (GIFT) program. The cluster of St. Mary’s Pontiac, St. Joseph’s Flanagan, St. Paul’s Odell, St. Patrick’s Dwight, Sacred Heart Campus and St. John’s Cullom recommended that Campus be linked with Dwight, and that Pontiac, Flanagan, Cullom and Odell be linked as well, with all six parishes working in partnership with one another. 

We are pleased to announce that the Diocese has approved our plan.

Implementation of this plan will not officially begin until 2013, but one change you will see in the near future is the sharing of a Principal between St. Mary’s and St.Paul’s Schools.  Mr. Ed Condon, principal of St. Paul’s will be retiring at the end of this school year. The Diocesan Education Office recommended that we seize this opportunity to share a principal and work together on staff in-services and training, curriculum development, and student enrichment. Mr. Richard Morehouse, current principal of St. Mary’s will assume the principalship of St. Paul’s this summer and will begin to formulate a plan in the best interest of both schools. St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s Schools WILL REMAIN SEPARATE ENTITIES.
If you have any questions about the GIFT program, please contact one of the Cluster Team members (see below for list of names).

GIFT Cluster Makes Recommendation to Diocese

The Growing in Faith Together (GIFT) cluster for our part of the Peoria Diocese has formulated a recommendation to present for approval in regards as how to best utilize the assets of the parishes in Livingston County. 

The cluster of St. Mary’s (Pontiac), St. Paul’s (Odell), St. Patrick’s (Dwight), Sacred Heart (Campus), St. John’s (Cullom), and St. Joseph’s (Flanagan) met on several occasions since December, sharing ideas, discussing the future, and finalizing plans that are designed to provide all of the parishioners the best opportunity for success.

Here is the plan submitted to the diocese: 

A)   Sacred Heart (Campus) will be linked to St. Patrick’s (Dwight). The priest in residency at Dwight will oversee Campus as well.  In thefuture, CCD, youth group, and adult education programs currently at Dwight will be available to Sacred Heart parishioners. Each parish will maintain its own identity and finances, but will work together on ministries, programs, and sharing the cost of a priest.

B)  The parishes in Pontiac, Odell, Cullom, and Flanagan will become In Solidum (“For the Whole”) parishes served by a team of hopefully three priests. RCIA, CCD, youth group adult education, liturgy training, sacramental celebrations, and many other programs and ministries will be a cooperative effort among these parishes. Each of the parishes will maintain its own identity and finances, but they are to consider cost saving for each parish by working cooperatively. Both St. Mary’s School (Pontiac) and St. Paul’s School (Odell) should remain open at this time, but collaborate as possible to conserve finances and resources. In the future, it may be necessary to have one principal oversee both parishes.

C) The Cluster hopes that all of the aforementioned parishes remain open for the foreseeable future; however, based on the number of priests the Diocese is willing to provide will eventually determine if a change in the number of Masses offered by a parish or a reorganization of Mass times might be merited.
These initial suggestions will be evaluated and reviewed by the Diocesan Planning Commission who will, in turn, return their recommendations to the cluster for further action. Members of the St. Mary’s Core group who have volunteered their time during this process include Chan Gill, Vicki Trainor, Chuck Hanley, and Patti Zehr, who also serves as chairperson for the cluster.

Pastoral Planning for the Peoria Diocese

The parish planning project for the Diocese of Peoria is inspired by the following goals:

1. To enhance the vibrancy of parish life in the Diocese of Peoria.
2. To strengthen the presence and ministry of the Church in the city and rural areas of the Diocese.
3. To foster an appreciation for and participation in Sunday Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance.
4. To help make Stewardship a Way of Life throughout the Diocese.
5. To promote vocations to ordained and lay ministry.
6. To ensure that all parishioners have opportunities for quality, lifelong Christian Formation, including supportting new initiatives for youth and young adults.
7. To strengthen service to those who are marginalized.
8. To build a greater sense of unity among the English speaking and Spanish speaking people within the local Church.
9. To increase collaboration among all entities in the local, national and universal Church.
10. To advocate for peace and justice in the Church and in the world.

The Core Group from St. Mary's Parish working with other Core Groups in the Cluster of Core Groups created by the Diocese include Chan Gill (chair), Patti Zehr (secretary), Vicki Trainor, and Chuck Hanley.