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Diocesan Consultative Groups

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Diocesan Consultative Groups

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Planning is an essential element for any diocese, and especially important for the Oakland Diocese which includes Alameda and Contra Costa counties. We maintain three council or consultative groups composed of both lay and religious representatives who volunteer from the five regions of the Oakland Diocese. In addition to the Director, a top Chancery administrator—ordinarily the Vicar General or the Chancellor — consults with each group.

Diocesan Pastoral Council

The Diocesan Pastoral Council meets quarterly with the Bishop to discuss guidelines for comprehensive pastoral policy.  Through listening, studying, analyzing parish reports, and with ongoing prayerful reflection, the Council assesses the changing needs of the diocese. The Council’s ministry is to “discern and advise” and, with the Director, be available for guidance to the 5 regions, 18 deaneries and the 84 parishes comprising the Diocese of Oakland. The Council convenes ordinarily four times a year.  The Diocesan Pastoral Council conducted regional hearings on the information needed in the current pastoral plan and prepared the text.

Diocesan Planning Board

The Diocesan Planning Board is a smaller working group which takes a more “hands-on” approach to particular pastoral planning challenges. Assisted by the Director, the Board compiles a “signs of life” baseline from information sent by all parishes in the diocese to the Bishop’s Office.  This baseline, updated annually, includes: attendance, sacraments administered, active ministries, volunteers, finances, and demographics.  By reviewing this compilation, the Board can assess growth or diminishment within churches and regions.

Churches in transition are monitored. The Board, or the Director, meets with churches facing major change. This process may include examining the strengths and resources of the parish while taking into consideration its limitations and needs in the context of the surrounding neighborhood. After extended listening and fact-finding — and applying the standards set forth in The Ten Essentials (link), the Board recommends an appropriate plan of action and forwards it to the Priests’ Council and the Bishop.  Their months’ long process usually involves the pastor, parish council, parishioners, and possibly neighboring parishes.

Diocesan Board of Finance Councils

This group organizes materials and hosts workshops for pastoral staff and parish finance councils.

OPPORTUNITY:  This Finance Council Board is presently revising materials and recruiting new members.  If you work in finances of churches or nonprofits or have a professional background in this area, consider applying for this extremely important Board.

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