pastoral planning

Diocese of Winona-Rochester Pastoral Planning


A Message from Bishop John M. Quinn

Prayer for Pastoral Planning

Almighty God, we the people of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester prayerfully look to the future. During this time of pastoral planning, we implore the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us the gifts of wisdom, courage and hope.

May we exercise the virtue of prudence by opening our hearts and minds to be good stewards of the legacy of faith inherited from those who built the Church on the prairie, the hills, and in the valleys.

May we exercise the virtue of justice by opening our hearts and minds to assure that the voices of people from all generations, all vocations and all areas of the Diocese are welcomed and respected.

May we exercise the virtue of fortitude by opening our hearts and minds to understand and acknowledge the spiritual and practical realities of our day and prepare for the days to come; and

May we exercise the virtue of temperance by opening our hearts and minds to accept the changes in diocesan, parish and personal life that the Holy Spirit, through this planning process, is guiding us to make.

Under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Mother, may we discern and implement what is best for the diocesan Church and all the faithful of southern Minnesota.

We pray this through Christ, our Lord.




Pastoral Plan Contact Information

Parish Specific Inquiries:
Contact your parish priest

General Inquiries:
Kat Larson
Assistant to the Office of Pastoral Planning

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a parish pastoral plan?

A parish pastoral plan is a process by which a local faith community — with a deep appreciation of its past, and an understanding of its present strengths and weaknesses — seeks to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the people within, and beyond, its community. This is accomplished through consultation and dialogue that leads to action. Vision 2016 provides clear descriptions of key goals for each parish in its Parish Pastoral Plan concerning ministry roles, worship, stewardship, faith formation, etc.

What defines a parish?

A parish is defined as a gathering of the people, a community of the faithful; it can include one or more worship sites, properties, etc.

What is a cluster?

A cluster is group of individual parishes that each retains their respective corporations, assets, liabilities, worship sites and property, yet may share their staff, ministries and resources.

What is a deanery?

A deanery is the joining together of several neighboring parishes and clusters in a regional arrangement for support and communications.

What does it mean to “merge”?

A canonical merger is when two or more parishes canonically and civilly consolidate their assets, liabilities, worship sites, ministries, staff, and property (and perhaps corporations).

What is an oratory?

An oratory is a worship site that no longer holds Sunday or Vigil Mass. The building, however, may be used for local Catholic weddings, funerals and other specified events.

What were the criteria to determine recommended status changes for parishes? 

The following criteria guided the recommended parish changes for this draft plan. They are based on a 2004 survey of diocesan priests.

  • The minimum threshold for sustainability of a parish is an average of 91 households.
  • The conversion of a parish to an oratory is based on an average threshold of 70 households or worshippers at Mass; and 50 or fewer sacramental activities within a 4-year period.
  • Plans should not require more than three Sunday/Vigil Masses per priest (plus weddings, funerals, etc) for the sake of their health and well-being, and in hopes of encouraging prolonged full-time service.

What do you mean by Canon Law?

Canon Law refers to the legal system and laws of the Catholic Church.

How can Parishioners become involved in this process?

Parishioners are invited to become involved in the Vision 2016 process in the following ways:

  • To learn more about the proposed plan, attend deanery level meetings as an appointed parish leader between February and May of 2015; or attend facilitated community meetings at parishes recommended for oratory status.  Dates, times and locations of these meetings will be announced in the Courier and Church Bulletins. 
  • Offer to assist in your parish’s pastoral planning process between June 2015 and February 2016. See your parish bulletin or contact your parish office for opportunities and details starting this coming Spring of 2015. 
  • Pray for your parish, the people, the priests, the diocese, and the Church.


Very Rev. William Thompson

Director of Pastoral Planning

55 W. Sanborn Street
PO Box 588
Winona, MN 55987
Phone:  507-858-1267
Fax: 507-454-8106


Kathryn Larson

Assistant to the Director of Pastoral Planning

55 W. Sanborn Street
PO Box 588
Winona, MN 55987
Phone:  507-858-1267
Fax: 507-454-8106