Bishop Donald Kettler initiated a pastoral planning process back in 2017 as the landscape of our diocese began changing. He stated "The overall Catholic population of our 16-county diocese has been declining over the last 30 years, and it also has been shifting. Our rural, western counties are shrinking in population, while our eastern counties, closer to the Twin Cities, are growing."
After much planning in 2019 Bishop Kettler activated our new grouping system called Area Catholic Communities. He explained, "Every parish in the Diocese of St. Cloud will be part of an Area Catholic Community comprised of two or more parishes in a given region. There will be 29 ACCs spread throughout the diocese. These ACCs will be different than the “clustering” arrangements many of our parishes are currently a part of. Clustered parishes negotiate Mass times and shared bulletins but often think of themselves as independent from one another.
As part of an ACC, however, parishes will be called to new levels of collaboration and resource-sharing. Pastors will work closely with lay staff, deacons, volunteers and all the baptized from the ACC’s parishes to meet the area’s spiritual and pastoral needs.
Our diocesan planning office and planning council will offer guidelines and suggestions for how ACCs might approach this, but in many ways the ACCs will only be limited by their own creativity. For example, a parish with a vibrant faith formation program or growing social concerns committee might offer this gift to the other parishes of the ACC."
Our ACC is the Sherburne County Area Catholic Community, and is comprised of us here at Mary of the Visitation, Christ our Light Catholic Church of Princeton and Zimmerman, and
St. Andrew Catholic Church and School. Below is what's happening within our ACC and opportunities to engage in the larger Sherburne County Catholic Community!