By Katrina Genereux/Staff Writer, OND
Fosston, Minn. – On Oct. 28, St. Mary, Fosston, hosted around 45 people for the first meeting of four newly formed Diocesan Commissions. There are 72 commission members representing 24 parishes throughout the diocese. Commission members will advise the diocese in the areas of marriage and family, justice and life, evangelization and discipleship, and youth ministry.
Pastors were invited to nominate parishioners to take part in the commissions.
“Membership was generated this way in order to help those of us in the Bishop’s Curia to hear many voices from a variety of parishes and to help us meet the needs of people in the parishes,” said Deacon Mark Krejci, Director of the Office of Marriage, Family and Life.
Deacon Krejci and AJ Garcia, Director of the Office of New Evangelization and Justice, also visited a few parishes this past year to briefly share about the commissions at weekend Masses.
The October meeting at St. Mary’s included Mass and a ceremonial blessing by Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner; prayer before the Blessed Sacrament; an introduction to resources available on FORMED.org; and discussion involving each commission’s area of focus.
“They were established around the ministry areas in the diocese and represented by offices in the Curia,” said Deacon Krejci. “Members will be playing a more active role in the diocese by helping to guide the work of diocesan staff, but they will also have an impact through prayer for their area of ministry.”
“Another goal is to normalize and broaden the understanding of ‘missionary discipleship’ by focusing on three key areas: having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; authentic friendships; and a clear understanding and zeal for the great commission found in Matthew 28:18-20,” said Garcia.
Commission members are encouraged to build and strengthen their relationships with fellow parishioners and work towards inviting, encouraging and training ministry leaders on the parish and diocesan levels.
While welcoming commission members to the gathering, Bishop Hoeppner said, “The Holy Spirit is gifted to everyone in the Church through baptism and confirmation and you agreed to share your gifts. I encourage you in that. Be part of a commission, but don’t just sit there; use your gifts. Share your wisdom; share your experience; bring forth the power and courage of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for doing that, it enriches us all.”
“It was a wonderful morning of prayer and getting together with other individuals that have the same passion for youth that we have and knowing that we are making good connections for the future to help grow in our faith and help our youth grow in their faith,” said Becka Nubson of St. Mary, Badger. She is a member of the Youth Ministry Commission.
Brenda Posch is part of the Life and Justice Committee at St. Joseph, Moorhead, and is a member of the Life and Justice Commission.
“I’m excited that as a diocese we’re going to start working more together,” she said. She added that it was nice to gather with others from around the diocese who have the same passion to work on life and justice issues.
Corrine Dostal and her husband, Frank, are from St. Mary, Badger. They belong to the Evangelization and Discipleship Commission. She said the idea of being ambassadors of mercy stuck with them.
“We’d like to bring this back to our parish at St. Mary’s and see our parish grow in evangelizing, getting to know Jesus and having a personal relationship with him and having the ability to teach others. We’d like to bring some zeal to our parish,” she said.
The four Diocesan Commissions will gather individually and communicate as needed throughout the year.
“I hope that over time, the topics discussed and resources shared at meetings will be passed on to parishes so the faithful can increase their understanding of missionary discipleship,” Garcia said. “The commissions, especially this first, larger meeting will be a great way to start the conversation about what this discipleship means for individuals and our local Church.”