As one parishioner pointed out, the situation is not unlike the story of the Loaves of Bread and Fishes, where Christ fed thousands with only seven loaves of bread and five fishes. Father Peter Riani, Essex Dean, pointed out that the discussion needs to be focused on maintaining a vibrant parish community regardless of the location residence of the priest. It is expected that lay members of the church will need to assist in greater ways than in the past. Currently, the diocese has more than 800 commissioned lay ministers.
Discussion from those in attendance touched on subjects such as allowing priests to marry, women priests, the need for more deacons and their role in a communion service, Episcopal priests who are married and have converted to Catholicism, using technology that would allow for the Mass to be viewed live via the Internet at churches, realigning the deanery boundaries, and encouraging greater youth participation in the church.
Votraw encouraged the discussions to be taken back to each parish and continue to send their thoughts and suggestions to her in Ogdensburg.
Interested parties may find more information regarding the Diocesan Planning Committee at www.dioogdensburg.org/planning/Process.html and may email Sister Votraw at firstname.lastname@example.org.