Real Presence, Real Future Update


Dear brothers and sisters,

Recently, as I said in my homily last weekend, we have learned of the new recent proposals from Real Presence, Real Future about how we can better organize and manage parish campuses throughout the diocese. Now before I describe what proposals specifically affect us, let’s recall that NONE of these proposals are FINAL for several reasons: 1) we do not have a bishop yet 2) these models/proposals are meant to start a conversation so that we are thinking beyond our physical boundaries, 3) the diocese will need our feedback and thoughts. Though, some ground rules about this feedback include:

  • Must be constructive, reasonable and not just “don’t change MY parish”
  • Outward focused – how do we have a sustainable and strong model of outreach through our parishes
  • Keep in mind that priests are the most limited resource we have in accomplishing any model proposal

So with those ground rules established, here are what the current round of models mean for the West Side and our parish here at St. Cecilia. Primarily, our parish will be geared to expand and accept many more new parishioners, particularly people who speak Spanish. Our parish will be starting, at the very least, an additional Mass which will be offered in Spanish on Sundays, with an eye toward further integration, sacramental preparation, and community outreach to alleviate the pressure of Hispanic ministry on the West Side.

Some areas that require our feedback: there is discussion on what to do with two parish campuses, St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes, with the understanding that both of these buildings/properties are not sustainable or suitable to house the size of the communities they serve.

The current proposal suggests that instead of building new churches on these sites, which would require a great amount of monetary resources, that these two parishes merge at St. Aloysius, with St. Mary Magdalene and St. Cecilia providing other opportunities if parishioners from St. Agnes and St. Stephen do not wish to travel as far to St. Aloysius. This is not suggesting that this is the best model, but is simply the first proposal. This is where our feedback comes back and guides the process on what is the best way forward.

One thing that is fairly certain, due to the resources that we have here, a Mass in Spanish will be starting. Regardless of what happens with St. Agnes and St. Stephen’s, we must do our part to reach out and welcome our brothers and sisters who speak Spanish, particularly those families who attend our school.

You can find this proposal and many other proposals for across the diocese at https://realpresencerealfuture.org/draft-models-spring-2022/. Our planning group is 3 South, but I would encourage you to look at the other models and please provide feedback on the survey they have available there.

I know this was a lot of information, but I tried to keep it concise and easy to digest. Please feel free to ask me or Fr. Seth any questions.

Let’s keep each other in prayer,
Fr. Nic Ventura