The shape of the archdiocese’s transition to Families of Parishes is constantly adapting and has left many Lay Ecclesial Ministers and parish staff members uncertain and wondering about their role in this new structure. To alleviate some of this stress and answer pressing questions, The Departments of Missionary Strategic Planning, Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship, and Communications hosted a webinar on Friday, January 8, to outline the changing landscape of this renewal of structures and how it may impact individuals working in the parishes. Thank you to all who submitted questions; answers to the questions we were unable to answer during the webinar are available below.
For more information, refer to theFrequently Asked Questions on the Families of Parishes website , the presentations used in the webinar, or the Families of Parishes Playbook also provided below.
Is the goal to try to keep priests at their parish, or within the same family, whenever possible?
We are not reassigning all priests. That approach has been attempted in other dioceses and the results are usually far more troublesome than is desirable. While we anticipate that many priests will continue serving in their current parish communities, the ultimate goal of the priest assignment process is to find the best fit for both priest and parish.
Where is the outline of the areas that need to be covered in the Covenant?
The Covenant template is being developed by the Office for Clergy. It will be complete by March.
Is the Covenant a document that will be public or just for the priests involved?
No, it will not be made public. This will just be for the priests.
Are the family gatherings for staff/LEMs or staff with parishioners?
Family Gatherings are for everyone, including clergy, staff, and parishioners.
What is SWOT?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and SWOT Analysis is a technique for assessing a parish.
What are the One Pastor and Moderator models?
The One-Pastor Model, wherein one priest serves as pastor of the Family and others serve as associates, stands out as the best model for us to be on mission. It is efficient and allows us the greatest flexibility in deploying our people – clergy and laity – to meet the evolving needs of the Family. While we anticipate all Families will adopt this framework over time, they are not required to do so right away. It will be an option for those Families who wish to pursue it, but it is important to offer an alternative for Families who discern another path is the immediate best “fit” for them.
That need for an alternative brought forth much discussion about the In Solidum model, which is not new to the universal Church but is new to most everyone in our country. With this model, parish pastors will serve as Family-Pastors to all parishes within their Family, often with the assistance of Family-Parochial Vicars and Family-Deacons. One Family-Pastor among them is appointed Moderator, a role that is defined by Church law as a servant-leader to his parishes and brother priests. In other words, the chosen Moderator will not be permitted to indiscriminately impose his will on the team; rather, he will be there “to serve and not to be served” (Mk 10:45) and to help his team form a common mind for mission.
Both models work well for the missionary transformation of our parishes. They will renew us in our identity as leaders in the mission and will facilitate the fraternal cooperation among clergy that our mission requires. Importantly, both models also provide for a smooth organizational transformation, so that we can move expeditiously back to our missionary work with strategic planning.
Is it safe to say that one person could do multiple "coordinator" roles?
Yes. It will be up to the Family Clergy to determine the best way to fill these roles in their family.
Does Evangelical Charity include Social Justice concerns?
Will interviews be held for the various Director positions within the Families?
The hiring process for the Director positions will happen within the Family under the direction of the Family Clergy. The Archdiocese will recommend a hiring process; however, this process has not yet been defined. At this time, AOD HR may help with the recruitment for some senior level positions as time permits - mainly the Family Mission Support Director. Once the FMSD has been selected he/she along with the Family Clergy will be responsible for filling positions within the family such as the coordinators, bookkeepers, secretaries. HR will provide the necessary training for the groups in best HR practice.
If the directors aren't going to be chosen until summer or fall, what will happen to lay ministers contractual jobs, benefits, and insurance when the fiscal year starts on July 1?
Staffing at the family/parish level will ultimately be decided by the Family Clergy and the timelines of how this will happen are still unknown. In the coming months, more of these details will be worked out. AOD HR is exploring the idea of Families establishing a transition team to review in detail the requirements and operational issues of the new family.
Many of our lay ministers are taking classes at Sacred Heart Major Seminary so they can be equipped for their service. Should they wait to take classes till Wave 1 or 2, or should they continue their formation at the seminary now?
Lay ministers who are taking classes at Sacred Heart should continue their formation, as this formation will serve to strengthen their ministry.
Fr. Steve mentioned a prayer the Archbishop has asked us to pray on familiesofparishes.org . I can’t quite find it. Do you have a direct link to it?
This Prayer for Families of Parishes can be found here .
What are the educational requirements for the Director positions?
Educational requirements can all be found in the Playbook , beginning on page 18.
It appears that all the directors need a masters degree or above. Is this really feasible?
This is this the recommended level of education for these positions. We have many well-formed and highly educated lay ecclesial ministers in the archdiocese. Most director positions require a bachelor’s degree with a few exceptions where a master’s degree is required or highly preferred. It is critical to hire appropriately in all positions, but especially in leadership roles, such as directors. Potential candidates should have a proven record of strong leadership both with their work experience and academics.
How long is the Detroit Model of Evangelization course?
The Detroit Model Course consists of four 20-25 min videos with an intro and conclusion. The four videos are followed by discussion questions. The course can be accessed on learn.egwdetroit.org.
If there are Directors for each Family, what happens to the "other" Lay Ecclesial Ministers, like Youth Ministry or Christian Service Coordinators?
The five Mission Direct leaders (Discipleship Formation, Engagement, Evangelical Charity, Family Ministries, and Worship) will each lead a team that includes many of the ministries for which lay ecclesial ministers are responsible, such as Youth Ministry, Adult Faith Formation, Evangelization, RCIA, Music. More information on this is available in the Playbook.
Why are there so many sub-organizations and websites to go to, like Unleash the Gospel, Encounter Grow Witness, Families of Parishes, etc.?
The various brands help us to target different audiences in our local Church: Encounter Grow Witness (EGW) is a channel specifically for parish leaders, such as Lay Ecclesial Ministers, staff, key volunteers; the Archdiocese of Detroit (AOD) is our main channel to the lay faithful and public; Detroit Catholic (DC) is our news service; Unleash the Gospel (UTG) is our channel for joyful missionary disciples — families and individuals; and Families of Parishes (FOP) is the channel for all information regarding this structural renewal.
Some families now stretch across the vicariate border. How will that be handled? Are vicariates changing?
Vicariates will be changing, but these details will be decided by the Episcopal Council in the months ahead.
Are the areas of AOD certification going to change to match these 5 areas (e.g. there is a Liturgical Musician certification but not Worship)?
In 2021, the Department of Evangelizaiton and Missionary Discipleship will develop training/formation for the five director positions. AOD Certification will be reassessed in light of Families of Parishes.
For those of us who are in Wave 2, when do we start anything?
While the official formation period for Wave 2 Families will begin in January 2022, it is not too early to begin informal discussions with other parishes in the Family about long-term goals, possible roadblocks, and so on. To that end, Wave 2 parishes that need to fill staff positions in the near term would be well advised to do so with an eye to ministering within the context of a Family of Parishes.
Are the Director positions pulled from current parish staff or will they be open to outside candidates?
Hiring decisions will be made by the Family Clergy. AOD HR will develop a hiring process with guidelines and suggestions for how to proceed with hiring the Directors. These guidelines have not yet been developed. An evaluation of skill set within the FOP staff will be necessary to determine if there are members who have the necessary skills for required positions. If the skill set does not exist within the FOP staff then it will be necessary to recruit externally to fill positions.
Will ministries be combined into one within families? One RCIA program, one religious education, music ministry, etc.?
There are many different ways that ministries can be structured within a Family. Each Family will have different needs and resources. Ministry structures will be determined by the Family Clergy in order to best meet the needs of their geographical area. The Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship will provide tools for discussion and innovative thinking to help with this process. These tools will be developed in the first half of 2021.
Which parishes are in Wave 1 and Wave 2?
You can see a complete list of Wave 1 and Wave 2 parishes on the Families of Parishes website.
Will there be another session for Mission Support?
Yes, there will. More details on this are coming soon.
We have lost a couple of staff to retirement and we are in phase 2. Should our pastor be looking to the FOP model in replacing these positions right now?
Even though Wave 2 parishes will not begin operating as such until July 2022, there is no harm in beginning to have even an informal conversation with other parishes in the Family about long-term goals, possible roadblocks, and so on. To that end, Wave 2 parishes that need to fill staff positions in the near term would be well advised to do so with an eye to ministering within the context of a Family of Parishes.
Will there be any efforts to help the AOD grow specifically in regards to racial justice and cultural identity in this process, especially given the conversations and events going on in our country?
The Office of Cultural Ministries, in conjunction with numerous lay faithful, is working tirelessly in this regard, and will continue to do so. As Families of Parishes are formed and geographic boundaries expand, Families will be provided resources to help members to enter into conversation with those who are culturally different in order ensure that their needs are met.
Will priests be moved out of Wave 1 parishes to other parishes or will they remain in place to help in the change?
It is impossible to say at this point. The work of the Assignment Board will be to find the best fit for both priests and parishes. In doing this work, it may be possible that some priests currently assigned to Wave 1 parishes may be reassigned to Wave 2 parishes.
What are the salary recommendations for director positions?
Salary ranges have not yet been determined. AOD HR is currently in discussions with a contractor to help develop salary grade ranges for the director positions. It will be necessary to have a clear and precise job description to in order to determine the appropriate salary ranges.
Does the Moderator have day-to-day administrative responsibilities for the entire parish within the family? Is the parish pastor "eliminated"?
The Moderator will have responsibility for the judicial acts of parishes under the shared care of the priests assigned as Family-Pastors. Further details about the Moderator's responsibilities can be found on pages 6 and 7 of the Playbook. At the same time, the Family Mission Support Director will lead the Mission Support Team in parish and Family day-to-day responsibilities related to Finance/Accounting, Human Resources, Information Technology and Facility Management.
Do you anticipate alternating Mass times so that parishioners will begin attending Mass at the various parishes within a Family?
Parishes are encouraged to adjust Mass times to make best use of clergy and facility resources.
Is there a benefit to DREs within a Family to start meeting now to plan for the 2021-2022 school year, or should we wait to do this?
By all means, begin meeting now. While Wave 1 Families will begin operating, formally, as Families of Parishes on July 1, we encourage staff to come together and begin talking about and planning as soon as possible.
At the start of the new fiscal year, in July 2021, will current parish employees lose health benefits?
We are not aware of any changes to benefit structures for 2021. Individuals have already enrolled for their 2021 benefits during open enrollment in November 2020.
Will parish staff keep their benefits and seniority?
Many details still need to fleshed out when it comes to staffing. The AOD is working on guidelines to help guide Family Clergy in the area of HR. These decisions could be handled by the transition team that is established for the Family so that all requirements and operational issues associated with the family are considered.
March 24th 2021 Updates:
How should DREs move forward when the parishes in their Family are utilizing various Faith Formation programs, processes, etc.?
The decisions to manage such elements will need to be made long before the onset of wave 1 in July. Most wave 1 director positions will be named by October 2021. It is important to continue planning and programming to support your parish families.
Members of my staff think that the Family Leadership Team will automatically be made up of the 5 Directors for the 5 ministry areas in Mission Direct. Can this be clarified?
Page 12 of the Playbook states, “The Family Leadership Team (FLT) will consist of approximately 4-6 members with the Moderator/One Pastor as the leader. The Moderator or One Pastor will select the members.” Members may include lay ecclesial ministers, lay leaders, deacons or priests. The team should not be dominated by members of the clergy.
Page 17 states the 3 levels in the Mission Direct structure to be Director, Coordinator and Subject Matter Expert. The Director of Discipleship Formation will oversee catechesis in the parishes. Could that person designated for catechesis still be called a Director of Faith Formation or Director of Religious Education? Or would that person be called the Coordinator of Faith Formation or Coordinator of Religious Education?
Titles of lay ecclesial ministry roles at the parish local level will exist as each parish deems necessary.
Regarding eligibility to the new positions of Director and Coordinator: What happens to a current LEM that does not have BA or MA but has been at a parish for multiple years? Will they be eligible to even apply for these roles?
Yes, it is up to the Moderator/One Pastor to determine the staffing and pastoral needs of the family.
How will FOPs affect the vicariate budget (e.g. some vicariates budget funds for formation or for vicariate-wide missions)?
There is work being done now to determine how vicariates will be handled in the FOP structure. That decision will be made by the Episcopal Council sometime in the second quarter of 2021.
How should the current DREs and youth ministers proceed regarding planning for upcoming programming, including school, Faith Formation, and sacramental prep programs?
It is important to continue your programing as you normally would throughout the year.
If we are in Wave 1, how are we to plan ahead when we may not even have a job/position partway through the year?
While the Wave 1 Families launch in July of 2021, it will take some time to work through putting directors in place, deciding strategic direction for the family, and so on. It is very likely that many positions will continue on as they are for a time after July of 2021.
For the DREs that are currently managing two or more parishes that are in different Families and in both Wave 1 and Wave 2, how will our positions be affected in this situation? How are we to manage this at the onset of the FOP? The answer to these questions will be best addressed by the Moderators of these FOPs as well as the pastors of parishes in Wave 2.
With such diversity of income, culture, and other demographics within our Family of Parishes, how are we supposed to effectively work together?
This is an excellent time for parishes to explore their gifts, unique charisms, and culture. This will enable parishes to support one another and collaborate to best serve their geographical areas.
How are the schools affected by FOP? There is not much mentioned in the playbook.
Again, timelines are very critical. There is a team led by Msgr. Kosanke that will provide more details on schools.
What is most important for us to be reading, or developing, at this point in time in preparation for the FOP process?
Most important now is prayer, which is the underpinning for everything we do. We must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit if we are to be successful. As for documents to read, most certainly at the top of the list are Unleash the Gospel and the Archbishop’s recent Pastoral Note on Families, Led by the Spirit on Mission . In addition to these documents, participating in these courses, Detroit Model of Evangelization course and Living the Mission as a Lay Disciple: A Personal Journey of Encounter Grow Witness , would be helpful.
Where can I receive more information?
The Families of Parishes website and EGW Network are updated regularly. Also, be sure to ask questions at your vicariate meetings.
With the new position of Ministry Placement Coordinator under the Director of Engagement, can Directors or Coordinators in other areas of ministry recruit, train, and coordinate volunteers? Do they have to be selected and trained/formed by the Ministry Placement Coordinator?
Yes, they can. These volunteers do not necessarily need to be formed by the Ministry Placement Coordinator.