For the first time in recent history the Regina Archdiocese has produced an Annual Report that was made public at a first-ever Annual Meeting, held at the Regina Archdiocese office.
“We are doing two new things here,” said Archbishop Donald Bolen. “First of all, we’ve produced a good report, not a comprehensive view of where we are as an archdiocese, but an honest overview. Reports have been produced in the past but they haven’t been made public and, secondly, having an annual meeting is a new initiative and it was good. A number of people came out and I think as we face some current challenges, next year at the annual meeting, more people will come out. I think it’s a good start.”
About a dozen people plus staff were in attendance. One of the attendees questioned how the meeting was advertised, suggesting more would have attended had they known about it. The notice was on the web site and more avenues and communication vehicles will be used next year, was the response. “What we really need is not just people coming out to meetings but to be engaged in the challenges that we face as a Church and work together,” said Bolen.
Brief verbal reports were given by the Archbishop, Robert Kowalchuk Executive Director for Pastoral Services, Eric Gurash, Coordinator for Lay Ministry and Evangelization Programs, Youth Coordinator Michelle Braden and Chief Financial Officer Reverend Deacon Barry Wood.
“We decided we needed to communicate much more with all of our faithful. We do need to be much more transparent with all the people in the Archdiocese. It’s something we’ve talked about for a long time,” said Kowalchuk
Simply titled Annual Report, it is available on the Archdiocese web site. It contains detail of the various ministries including some financial information with accompanying explanatory notes which shows revenues declining and expenditures increasing.
The financial situation is one of the challenges the Archbishop referred to. “We have major financial challenges but we are not in a state of crisis. We’re just in a time of challenge. Much of the Church’s history has been lived in a time of challenge. Many of our parishes are in a time of challenge and when our parishes are financially challenged so is the Archdiocese.” The Archbishop also referred to declining attendance at Mass and especially young people not being visible in the Church. “Perhaps it shows we are not working close enough with Catholic schools.”
There are signs that the Archdiocesan Church is spiritually healthy; ten seminarians, the most since the early 1950’s, are at various stages in their journey to the priesthood. Nine of the ten permanent Diaconate candidates (One withdrew because of health problems) are completing their third year in the four-year program and 550 Lay Ministry Formation alumni are actively working and serving the Archdiocesan Church.