The Second Year

The Second Year

We have now completed the Second Year of the diocesan Uniting in Heart Plan.

What has your experience been? Let us know your answers to these questions:

1. Do you see your parish growing more strong, vibrant, cohesive, effective?

2. Has there been increased involvement & participation, financial support, volunteering, enthusiasm?

3. Have there been improvements in any area (liturgy, staffing, pastoral care, so on)?

4. Use 3 or fewer words to describe the mood at your parish.

5. Overall, is your opinion of UiH better or worse than it was at this time last year? Why?

27 Replies to “The Second Year”

  1. I don’t know any other dioceses participating in this Uniting In Heart Plan.

    I visited the Diocese back in mid-2003. Different Bishop (Higi) and this program wasn’t in effect.

    If priests are becoming burnt out because of this program, the bishop should at least know but seems like he doesn’t.

    1. Different names, same plan. All these stupid plans stem from Leadership Roundtable as earlier RedWolf articles explain. Loads of dioceses have drunk the Kool-Aid and now are getting sick. The current bishop doesn’t care about burnt-out priests because he’s never gotten to know them. It’s arguably his biggest character flaw. Anyway, these plans are nothing but cheap smokescreens run by weak, checked-out clergy who wouldn’t know what a lost sheep looked like if it bit them in their “pastorates”. The only difference between this plan and plans from past years is that there are even less people around who care anymore.

  2. Well, I can tell you at our AMAZING parish, the second year of this AMAZING plan has been nothing short of…well, AMAZING!

    First, our AMAZING parish has never been more vibrant. We have so much more elbow room in the pews now to spread out and social distance since at least one of our five vaccinated/quadruple-boosted parishioners gets covid every week. Each one of us gets at least six pews to themselves! It’s AMAZING.

    Second, enthusiasm has never been higher! Since we made every AMAZING mass “for the vulnerable” back during covid, we finally managed to drive out the last young family with screaming kids. It’s never been more peaceful. Now it’s so much easier to catch up on gossip from six pews away.

    Third, our AMAZING parish is saving so much money since all the staff was laid off. Sure, Monday through Saturday are considered “Candle Days” since the power shuts off, but boy we sure make up for it on Sunday! I bring extra AMAZING tambourines so we can play along when we put on our AMAZING Marty Haugen mixtape for the music at mass (the organist was laid off a year ago).

    Fourth, it’s not hard to find three or fewer words to describe the mood at our parish. I’ll use one: AMAZING!

    Fifth, the AMAZING plan has created everything I’ve ever wanted in my church; a place just for me and my friends to gather and just be “church” together! It really is AMAZING. In fact, with our new pastor hardly ever at the parish since he has to attend training meetings all the time, I’d love to crank up that AMAZING Marty Haugen mixtape music right now in the church to celebrate, but it’s a “Candle Tuesday” so I guess I’ll have to wait until Sunday.

  3. 1. No, I see my parish as weak, dead, and empty. I can remember when it was once vibrant and full but this leadership or lack would be a better word has turned it into a decaying pile of humanity. 2. People have quit coming let alone volunteering, They are putting their money into other groups that represent the true Catholic faith instead of corporate greed. How can you have enthusiasm when you walk into a church and it is lifeless? I took a friend with me to Mass (that was a mistake) She said there is no life in this place and will not be back. Sadly, I have to agree. 3. The liturgy is there but I can’t say any effort to make it reverent only with the exception of one priest. The priests everywhere are overworked. I don’t blame them but the ones that go with the same outlook as the bishop are only harming what is left of the parish. I get tired of people saying if it is that way travel to another church outside of your parish area. Many people do not have that option to travel and are stuck with what passes for a Catholic church in their area. Consequently, many have quit going at all. There really needs a survey done with fallen away Catholics they have plenty to tell and should be listened too.
    4. Depressing, lifeless and hollow. 5. Uniting in Heart has been nothing but a failure. It hasn’t brought people closer together but divided them into the ones that listen to all the crap from the bishop and the ones that follow Jesus but can’t find Him in the Catholic church anymore. If I wanted entertained I would have went to an amusement park. One Mass I was at you couldn’t even pray the people were having such a great time visiting with each other not visiting God. Thank you Bishop Doherty and friends you took a great Church and have made it into just another corporate, come lets have fun joke.

    1. Unfortunately if you go into most Catholic churches and really most all denomination’s services, you’ll see far fewer people and ministers than a few decades ago. Faith is and has been dying in the US for many years. Many studies by Catholics and others have confirmed this. My parish was shoulder to shoulder in the pews with people standing in the aisles in the 60s and 70s. Since then the gap between shoulders has increased each year. To blame UiH for that would be a misrepresentation. In fact if I recall correctly UiH is a tool to try to help refill pews through evangelization. Time will tell if it works.

      1. True, there was already a fire blazing in the church for decades that was emptying the pews. But I’m sorry, concerning UiH, time has told. It has done nothing but throw gasoline on the fire. Two years in and things are more broken than before: Overstressed and ignored priests, parish taxes, an out-of-touch and disrespectful leadership, inefficient administrative centralization, financial bleeding, disillusioned employees, constant turnover, insulting fundraising drives, and it just goes on and on…

        At this rate, in another two years, the diocese is likely looking at bankruptcy and serious hard-asset liquidation.

        Hey diocesan leadership! You want to grow the church? Drop the stupid slogans and secular business models. Let priests be priests. Drop the fake word “pastorate”. Let parishes be parishes. Ignore the errors spewing from Rome and the USCCB. Respect your flock. Defend your flock. Respect Sacred Tradition. Teach Sacred Tradition. Behave like you’ll be judged by Almighty God at a higher standard than others (because you will be). Do these things and you’ll be unable to count the swelling numbers of defenders that are following you.

        Good grief! It’s so simple. You just need the courage to be willing to lose your life for our Blessed Lord.

        Come, Lord Jesus.

      2. Sorry, it is not misrepresenting anything blaming Uniting in Heart and the people behind it. I guess it would depend on what parishes you are looking at. Across the country there are parishes that are flourishing with guess what just teaching the truth of the gospel without all the fancy gimmicks. You can try to evangelize all you want but if you are not living it by your example is meaningless. I can think of many in the catholic leadership that do not show the love of Christ to their flock let alone bring in others. It becomes a fake message not the message of the gospel. I can guarantee you that the leadership knows the name of the biggest contributors by name and the face of the poor they do not know only to say look who we are helping and pat themselves on the back. You might check out St. Mary of the Pine Bluff in Wisconsin for a good example of a flourishing church. They didn’t hire an outside organization to make it so either.

      3. UiH is not a thing. It’s a bunch of adjectives. Like all the other “programs” with effeminate, meaningless names being implemented around the country, UiH is just cover for faithless clergy in leadership. They don’t want to grow the church. They’ve given up on the faith. Subscribing to these worthless “plans” just exposes them for they really are: Blind Guides.

        Fortunately, God’s not fooled. An accounting will be made.

        1. About thirty years ago, my beloved pastor told me not to worry about the enemies outside the Church. As always, he was right.
          Like a bad horror movie, the call is coming from inside the house.

          1. That’s the worst part. The faith we love; The faith we cherish; The faith we’d die for, is not the faith the leadership of our church has. This was never felt more horribly than during covid when we saw our churches close and our bishops turn their backs on us and agree with Caesar that church isn’t “essential”. Traitors.

  4. Is it Just me, or has our bishop’s Twitter posts of late gotten more modernist in tone. Perhaps he feels emboldened by the actions of the modernist cardinals of late?

    UiH? Yeah, no thanks.

  5. 1. Do you see your parish growing more strong, vibrant, cohesive, effective?

    It’s hard to be strong when you’re a little parish and you know they want to close you. We’re vibrant. No one seems to care. We’re cohesive because we’re Catholics who believe, and we pray that a miracle will happen. All this diocese wants now is our money. The Bishop hasn’t been around because he doesn’t want to listen to his flock.
    2. Has there been increased involvement & participation, financial support, volunteering, enthusiasm?

    We know our parish is under a death sentence. It’s hard to be enthusiastic. But we continue on because we do it for God and the Church. Whoever has caused so much pain will have much to answer to God for all the pain.
    3. Have there been improvements in any area (liturgy, staffing, pastoral care, so on)?

    The priests are running from one place to the next. They have no idea who we are. Furthermore at a recent meeting one of them told my spouse they were being forced to be “the face of Uniting in Heart” and they despise it too. As he said, “Follow the money.”
    4. Use 3 or fewer words to describe the mood at your parish.

    Dejected – Angry – Determined
    5. Overall, is your opinion of UiH better or worse than it was at this time last year? Why?

    WORSE. We knew something was rotten because it was all so secretive. And then in the Catholic Moment these stories would appear written as though we – the – people wanted this money scheme. Ridiculous.

    My spouse found out that when they introduced Uniting in Heart to the clergy, they had to sign for numbered packets and turn them in at the end of the meeting. This horrible plan was conceived in secrecy, plotted in secrecy, implemented in secrecy…

    How could anyone with a conscience work for this diocese?

  6. 1. Do you see your parish growing more strong, vibrant, cohesive, effective?

    Absolutely not. The group of parishioners that were strong before UinH remain strong… determined to continue running the race even with the hurdles put up by their own Bishop and pastor.

    2. Has there been increased involvement & participation, financial support, volunteering, enthusiasm?

    No. Many families that I know have redirected their tithe, and work within smaller circles to teach their children the Faith.

    3. Have there been improvements in any area (liturgy, staffing, pastoral care, so on)?

    Our Liturgies are beautiful- but they were beautiful before UinH. The new staffing of UinH is a mess. No parishioner knows anything about how/why things are run the way they are. Communication is horrible.

    4. Use 3 or fewer words to describe the mood at your parish.

    Confused, angry, hurt.

    5. Overall, is your opinion of UiH better or worse than it was at this time last year? Why?

    The same. It was as bad as it could get and it hasn’t gotten any better.

  7. 1. No
    2. No. Any staff with “memory” and experience was quickly replaced. I would say the intention in our place was to wipe the slate clean. Very demoralizing for everyone.
    3. Our liturgies have always been great and remain so, thanks be to God.
    4. We have no information about what is going pastorate wise. No minutes from Pastoral meetings like the parish council minutes we used to get. We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors and people on the finance council or pastorate council seem reluctant to answer our questions. The feeling in the parish is one of being disconnected to the pastorate pastor.
    5. Uniting in Heart is a disaster. It has cost us good priests who were our pastors when this started. It continues to cost us priests who can’t bear the burden. And it has cost us parishioners who are tired of the Disaster at the top. Let’s pray that the bleeding of the diocesan heart stops soon.

  8. If you put the promises of UiH through the filter of “the inverse is the truth”, then all the destruction that is happening now makes sense. The plan is and remains a cynical, platitude-drenched, decline-management business program that steadily consolidates diminishing financial resources into the hands of a centralized, indifferent bureaucracy led by an unaccountable, amateur autocrat. Such a plan assumes the whole house of cards will fall one day; It just counts on that fall happening long after the current regime has left the stage and sailed comfortably into retirement. So…..

    1. Do you see your parish growing more strong, vibrant, cohesive, effective?

    No. My parish is weaker. The priests are overburdened. Staff morale has collapsed. The whole plan is largely dismissed by the laity as another lame fundraising scheme. We don’t even pray the dumb fundraising prayer before mass anymore. Apathy has set in.

    2. Has there been increased involvement & participation, financial support, volunteering, enthusiasm?

    The poor treatment of priests by the diocesan leadership has finally taken its toll. Everything in this category is down. So many of our good priests are our friends. And when our friends are constantly bullied, hurt, and ignored by a callous leadership, why on earth would anyone want to give their time and treasure to such an organization that mistreats them so? You reap what you sow.

    3. Have there been improvements in any area (liturgy, staffing, pastoral care, so on)?

    Our good priests do what they can, but the stress is palpable. Nothing presently going on can be sustained for very much longer.

    4. Use 3 or fewer words to describe the mood at your parish.

    See John 11:35

    5. Overall, is your opinion of UiH better or worse than it was at this time last year? Why?

    Like I said earlier, apathy has set in. The destruction that is happening was so predictable before UiH started and it’s frankly just depressing being right two years later. Our Blessed Lord must have His reasons for letting his Bride sink to such a low state. I wish I knew what they were. In the meantime, I’ll follow St. Paul and do the only thing I actually have control of:

    “So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
    – Philippians 2:12

  9. We rec’d a flashy brochure but that’s it. Nothing seems to be moving forward. A few new staff but all replacements. No movement regarding the Eucharist more concerned on “trappings” and process than the Eucharist.

    I believe that the overall Uniting the Heart will be a bust. Currently we have lost a 3rd of attendants including daily mass.

  10. Your reply is a large part of why I am no longer worshipping at any church. I am still Catholic in that I have my daily spiritual rituals, but you won’t find me in a pew anytime soon. Given the fact that I served in many ministerial capacities over a 20+ year span at my former parishes, it was personally a very sad day when I just couldn’t make myself set foot into another church building.

    1. Churchnomore, do not give up!
      “Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine – but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight” Hilaire Belloc
      Come home and love us anyway! We need people who want to serve God in His Church!

    2. Don’t let the modernists drag you down. You’re still obliged to attend weekly mass. If you can’t stomach the Novus Ordo anymore, travel to a TLM.

  11. 1. No increase, significant decrease esp mass attendance, people not attending mass or are changing parishes
    2. Little info provided to parishioners especially financial except when more $ needed. New programs started but not great participation
    3. Paid Staffing has changed but luckily little at knowledge levels. Pastoral care so so – 3 priests, 1 deacon, but only one that is healthy or young enough to do all that needs to be done. – homilies are terrible, mumbled, read, think most come from dial-a-sermon. Music is ok at best, liturgy average, fewer parishioners volunteering for liturgy roles . Lots of bells and whistles (and candles) added, but little in significant liturgy, and as mentioned homilies are terrible.
    4. Present, non-participating, fed-up
    5. Worse! surprisingly as I couldn’t believe it could be worse. No leadership in diocese, bishop and pastor in over their heads. charter members leaving,
    bishop has already retired-counting days i am sure.
    The Catholic church as a whole has a lot of problems in its hierarchy, including many evil and corrupt men and women. Until those problems are resolved the Church, and our Country will continue to deteriorate.


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