There are several issues facing progress for the Regina Archdiocese Pastoral Plan and one of them is support of pastors, said Archbishop Daniel Bohan in a recent address to Chancery office staff. 

One of his jobs in moving the plan forward, he said, is to keep the pastors interested. “Stewardship is the first major step in bringing the Pastoral Plan and my job is to keep encouraging the pastors to promote the plan,” he said.

Unveiled in November, 2008, it calls for decentralization of many of the services provided by the Chancery Office with more responsibility to the 9 archdiocesan deaneries.

One of the first Plan recommendations is for every parish to establish an active stewardship committee. It describes stewardship as a way of life, sharing time, talent and treasure, as Jesus said, to go out and teach the world.

“A major problem is, people in general, are relatively ignorant of what the Catholic Church teaches,” said Archbishop Bohan. “Because of this there is an inability of lay people to witness the Catholic Faith.” There is a need, he said, to catechize not only the children but adults as well. “There is a poor understanding of the Sacraments.”

One third of Catholics do practice the faith but only one third of those regularly attend Sunday mass. 

Schools, he said, can impart the knowledge but the parish and the home is where the child learns to live as a Catholic.

He noted that there are attacks against Catholic schools and against the Catholic health system and generally Catholics are not defending them. He spoke particularly about St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Humboldt ceasing to be a Catholic institution. “The community with a large Catholic population didn’t oppose the conversion.”

The hospital, the only one in Humboldt, refused to allow abortions, tubal ligations and other procedures opposed by the church. A few doctors rebelled and other groups protested and the Saskatchewan government eventually took it over. It is now known as Humboldt District Hospital and a new hospital is to be built.

He suggested other Catholic hospitals in the province may eventually suffer the same fate. “There is a real need to address in a concerted way the ignorance of our adult population.”

The Pastoral Plan and all that flows from it will only be successful if “we’re in it for the long haul,” said Archbishop Bohan. “We’re building a foundation that will go on for years.” In diocesan life, he said, many things flow from that.

He reminded everyone that Jesus said ‘You shall be my witness … the end of the Earth.’ “My job is make Catholic people those witnesses,” he said, “but I can’t go everywhere and that’s why I have you,” he said referring to the office staff.

Frank Flegel

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