The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Pastoral planning to begin in parishes soon

Five-year plans could influence ministry at diocesan level

Published: January 31, 2009   
Seven new regions, known as deaneries, were created this year to faciliate more efficicient pastoral planning and ministry in the diocese.

Pastoral planning will begin on the parish and regional level this year and could influence where the Diocese of Little Rock allocates its funding and how it organizes its ministries, Bishop Taylor said.

To make the pastoral planning more effective, the diocese has reduced its regions, known as deaneries, from 12 to seven.

"For pastoral planning, the deaneries were too small," Bishop Taylor said. "We had some deaneries where there were only two or three priests."

The bishop has asked each church to begin writing a five-year pastoral plan this year to "address the ministerial challenges." After each parish plan is written, the pastors of each deanery will come together to write a deanery plan to address issues specific to their part of the state. The plan might influence how those parishes address certain ministries, such as religious education or youth ministry, or might spur them to start new regional programs or events, the bishop said.

The deanery plans will be used to write a diocesan pastoral plan and could influence how funds are allocated for the Catholic Arkan sas Sharing Appeal, Bishop Taylor said.

The priests of each deanery are meeting in January and February for all-day working retreats with Bishop Taylor and will select a priest, known as a dean, to oversee their deanery and work closely with the bishop on diocesan planning. The bishop will appoint the deans to three-year terms.

The deans will also assist the diocese when newly ordained or international priests are assigned to their deaneries.

"They are really going to be doing some work," the bishop said.

The new regions are:

  • Central Deanery: It includes nine counties: Pulaski, Grant, Faulkner, Cle burne, White, Lonoke, Saline, Hot Spring and Gar land. The priests will meet Feb. 20 for their retreat.

  • North Delta Deanery: It includes 15 counties in eastern and northeastern Arkan sas: Randolph, Clay, Lawrence, Greene, Craighead, Mississippi, Phillips, Poinsett, Jackson, Woodruff, Cross, Crittenden, St. Francis, Lee and Monroe. The priests met Jan. 14 and chose Father Mark Wood of Jonesboro as the dean.

  • North Ozark Deanery: It includes 11 counties in northern Arkansas: Carroll, Boone, Newton, Marion, Searcy, Baxter, Stone, Izard, Fulton, Sharp and Indepen dence. The priests met Jan. 15 and chose Father Gregory Hart of Harrison as the dean.

  • Ouachita Deanery: It includes 16 counties in southwestern Arkansas: Polk, Montgomery, Sevier, Howard, Pike, Clark, Dallas, Calhoun, Ouachita, Nevada, Hemp stead, Little River, Miller, Lafayette, Colum bia and Union. The priests will meet Feb. 5 for their retreat.

  • South Delta Deanery: It includes 10 counties in eastern and southeastern Arkan sas: Chicot, Ashley, Bradley, Drew, Desha, Lin coln, Cleveland, Arkansas, Jefferson and Prairie. The priests met Jan. 8 and chose Father Warren Harvey of Pine Bluff as the dean.

  • River Valley Deanery: It includes eight counties in west central Arkansas: Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Yell, Pope, Van Buren, Conway and Perry. The priests will meet Feb. 6 for their retreat.

  • West Ozark Deanery: It includes six counties in western and northwestern Arkansas: Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Sebastian and Scott. The priests will meet Feb. 25 for their retreat.

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