Strategic Plan for the Five Star Catholic Community

Dear Bishop and ACC Planning Commission,


The Five Star Catholic Community, consisting of the parishes of St. Joseph in Clariss, Christ the King in Browerville, St. John the Baptist in Swanville, St. Joseph in Grey Eagle and St. Mary of Mount Carmel in Long Prairie, humbly present the encclosed planning goals.


These goals were formulated with much effort and prayer by the ACC planning committee. The committee consists of the three pastors, two members of each parish and a representative of the Hispanic community.


Early on, committee members were successful in growing in mutual respect for one another, and the parishes they represent. The ACC began meeting monthly at first and later began meeting bi-weekly. Committee members came to realize the uniqueness of each parish and the challenge of collaboration amongst organizations that historically operated almost autonomously.


The committee initially proposed many ideas and plans for changes to be made in the parishes but recognized that, although change may be needed, it is necessary to proceed incrementally and with guidance, prayer, and discernment. The goals which are here proposed are not the only goals which we considered but were discerned to be foundational. We began building the ACC plan with the elements of Liturgy, Worship, Communication and Hospitality.


All Catholic life flos from the Sacraments and primarily the Eucharist. Sunday Mass is of first importance to the faithful, so we didn't want to overlook liturgical details. For this reason, we have prepared two carefully considered Mass schedules for your consideration: one using three priests (as we have now) and another plan using two priests. The administration of a parish, its staff and volunteers, aids in communication among the members and enabling evangelizaing efforts. For this reason, we are also submitting goals to foster the newly formed Five Star ACC identity. Lastly, we are also submitting an initial inter-parish event to foster unity and community among the parishioners.


Faith Formation among all ages is a necessary component to our ong-going, evolving plan. Faced with the complexity of two Catholic Elementary schools, five parish locations, numerous current faith formation programs and separate Faith Foramtion Directors, we realized that some programs will requires assessment before they can begin significant and sustainable changes. Consolidation in parish administration is also being considered but still needing further assessment, therefore it has not been included at this time.


Effective evangelization and the safety of our parishioners is a priority during this COVID-10 pandemic. We have, to the best of our ability, implemented those practices articulated in the guidelines received from the Bishop's office. The pastors and parishes of the Five Star ACC collaborate so to provide a live stream of the (Sunday) celebration of the Mass each weekend; some are providing their weekday celebrations, also. Parishioners have voiced their gratitude for providing these opportunities which promote both their safety and spiritual health.


Many thanks to Bishop Kettler and the Diocesan ACC Committee. The vision and direction you have provided has been invaluable, especially during these trying times. We are eager to hear from you soon that we may begin takin gthe first steps in this pro-active, pro-mission, pro-evangelizing initiative.



Father Mitchell Bechtold, Father Ron Dockendorf, & Father Omar Guanchez


Five Star Catholic Community Planning Committee

Pete Bleess                                                 Mark Brinkman

Linda Bleess                                               Linda Gohman

Karen Busch                                               Al Wessel

Beverly Gereats                                          Julie Hollerman

Deacon Jim Schulzetenberg                      Maria Cervantes

Doug Schmidt





ACC-Worship (Mass Schedules)