FORT WAYNE — After a year of study and consultation, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades has announced a major reorganization and restructuring of the curia of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend which will become effective on July 1, 2011.
“The diocesan curia consists of those institutions and persons which furnish assistance to the bishop in the governance of the entire diocese, especially in directing pastoral activity, in providing for the administration of the diocese and in exercising judicial power” Canon 469.
Last fall, Bishop Rhoades appointed a task force to study the functioning of the 21 diocesan offices and departments, all of which had reported directly to the bishop, and possibilities for increased coordination, collaboration and efficiency in operations. The bishop discussed the task force recommendations with the Diocesan Finance Council and the Presbyteral Council and made modifications before adopting the new structure.
The reorganization involves the clustering of offices within Secretariats directed by Secretaries and within the offices of two assistants to the bishop, one in Fort Wayne and the other in South Bend. Bishop Rhoades has appointed Father Jason Freiburger as his assistant in Fort Wayne and Fred Everett as his assistant in South Bend.
Msgr. Robert Schulte will continue to serve as Vicar General and as Moderator of the Curia. As Vicar General, Msgr. Schulte assists Bishop Rhoades in the governance of the whole diocese. As Moderator of the Curia, Msgr. Schulte, under the authority of the bishop, coordinates and oversees the operations of the diocesan curia. A major responsibility entrusted by Bishop Rhoades to Msgr. Schulte in the reorganized structure is to assist him in matters relating to the clergy. This responsibility is entrusted to a Vicar for Clergy in most other dioceses.
The Diocesan Curia will include four Secretariats with particular offices and ministries situated within each Secretariat. Bishop Rhoades has appointed a Secretary to oversee each of the new secretariats. Dr. Mark Myers will head the Secretariat for Catholic Education. Mary Glowaski will head the Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries. Joseph Ryan will head the Secretariat for Administrative Services. Harry Verhiley will head the Secretariat for Stewardship and Development.
Some diocesan offices are also being consolidated in the new structure. The Office of Youth is being combined with the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry. The Cathedral Bookstore and Diocesan Services Agency are being combined into one office. The Office of Communications and Today’s Catholic will also be joined.
Bishop Rhoades has also decided to add three ministries to the Diocesan Curia which will be part of the Secretariat for Evangelization and Special Ministries: Disabilities Ministry, Prison Ministry, and Project Rachel. Though new offices will not be established, the Secretary for Evangelization and Special Ministries will oversee these areas.
Bishop Rhoades anticipates cost savings from the restructuring, particularly through sharing of personnel and resources within each Secretariat. He also looks forward to new efficiencies in communications with him and within the curia.
Bishop Rhoades will meet regularly with the Secretaries and Bishop’s Assistants, together with the Vicar General and the Judicial Vicar. These eight people will constitute the new “Bishop’s Cabinet.” This Cabinet, under the bishop’s direction will ensure the coordinated pastoral activity of the curia and provide the forum for regular communication with the bishop and among diocesan offices.
Bishop Rhoades commented that the diocesan curia exists to assist him in the governance of the diocese and ultimately serves the needs of the people of God in our parishes, schools, and other institutions of the Church. “The changes are being made to foster good service, good communication, and good stewardship,” the bishop added. He expressed gratitude to all who serve in the curia as well as the members of the task force and all involved in the consultation process: “I have been edified by the hard work and cooperation of everyone involved.”
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