Overview of All Focus Groups
Each Focus Group will act to move the work of CCOC forward, to effect positive change in our Church, and to meet the perceived needs of the Body of Christ. When any other need is discerned, another Focus Group may be created to address it. In all that we do, we are committed to six basic principles: co-responsibility, transparency, accountability, competency, justice and trust.
Supporting Abuse Victims/Survivors and Their Families
This Focus Group is dedicated to supporting all people who have suffered traumatic abuse by priests, brothers and lay officials of the Church, and their family members. The goal is to instill healing and empathic environments to address the needs of survivors, their families and parishioners, at the individual, parish and diocesan level. Action plans include education and awareness related to sexual abuse, advocating for support structures for survivors, and implementing healing models. Read more
Improving financial transparency at all levels within the Church, starting with Parishes and our diocese, is imperative to the financial viability of the diocese. This Focus Group wants to work with the Diocese to create independent, lay oversight of financial functions that adhere to best practices and provide detailed accountability to all Catholics in the Diocese. Read more
Clericalism (the concept that priests and bishops can be seen as superior to and exempt from accountability to others) has been put forward as the root of many of the ills that plague our Church today. This Focus Group seeks to bring about a healthier balance within our parishes and diocese by: (1) exploring and promoting the concept of shared responsibility between the laity and the clergy, and (2) by encouraging the laity to have a greater understanding of and participation in the formation of the clergy that is trained to serve the People of God. Read more
Strengthening and Diversifying the Clergy
This Focus Group aims to facilitate discussions and actions to diversify the clergy, in order to enhance and strengthen it. Any person who is called to serve the Church, should have the opportunity to fulfill that call, whether they are a man or woman, married or single. This service could be in the lay leadership of the Church, or as an ordained clergy member. Read more
Pathways to Lay Leadership
We are committed to the Vatican II ideal that the Church is the People of God. The laity, the clergy, the hierarchy – we are all The Church. Our Church can only be sustained if both lay and ordained Catholics share a co-responsibility for the leadership and culture of the Church. To that end, this Focus Group seeks to educate, encourage and prepare the laity to identify concrete ways that they can use their gifts and talents in leadership roles, for the purpose of furthering the Church’s mission, both at the parish and diocesan levels. Read more
Engaging and Empowering Youth
This Focus Group is committed to ensuring a vibrant, spirit-filled future for our Church by encouraging and giving a voice to the next generation of our faith – our youth and young adults. We look to engage and empower through education, service and fellowship, and to seek solutions both from traditional Church structure as well as other successful organizations. Read more
Lay Oversight of Diocesan Functions
There are many areas within our Church that would benefit from more and better Lay Oversight. Other Focus Groups are investigating lay oversight as a component of their work. This Focus Group is currently putting energies into how lay oversight can be a part of reviewing the bishop’s selection and performance, as well as making sure lay involvement is a part of the process of holding bishops accountable when there is wrongdoing. We welcome those who wish to join us in researching and advocating other Lay Oversight possibilities, for instance, whistleblower protections. Read more
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Public Statement on FIRST Anniversary of the Release of the PA Grand Jury Report