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June 6, 2008

ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA IS RECOGNIZED WITH
NATIONAL AWARD FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW

The 2008 Lumen Gentium Award was presented by the national Conference for Pastoral Planning and Council Development (CPPCD) to four authors, including Dr. Robert J. Miller, Director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Research and Planning, for A National Study of Recent Diocesan Efforts at Parish Reorganizations in the United States: Pathways for the Church of the 21st Century. The award was presented at the CPPCD's national meeting held in late April in Orlando, Florida. In previous years, the Lumen Gentium Award recognized individuals for their work and this year the recipients represent a group of people that worked on a research publication.

The 2003 study was the first nationwide survey of dioceses and parishes regarding structural and leadership changes in parishes. A copy of the study was provided to every diocese in the country. The findings have inspired the CPPCD to pursue further research in Multi-Parish Pastoring. For more information about the Conference for Pastoral Planning and Council Development, please visit www.cppcd.org.

Robert J. Miller, Ed.D, Director of the Office for Research and Planning, said, "For me the importance of the Lumen Gentium award this year was that it recognized an important empirical study that clearly documents the trends to restructure parishes in many dioceses in the U.S. that has been going on at least since the mid 1990's. With this research, Church leadership will be better able to assess what needs to be done to do these restructurings well and ensure a strong Catholic Church in the future." Dr. Miller is a member of Saint James Parish in Elkins Park, Montgomery County.

The term "parish reorganization" pertains to both structural changes to parishes themselves (mergers, closings, establishment of new parishes, and the "linking" or "clustering" of parishes) and to changes in parish administration (change from a resident pastor to a non-resident pastor, entrusting a parish to a team of priests, or to the assignment of parish life coordinators).

This is the second year in a row that the Office for Research and Planning was honored with this award. Last year they were recognized for their leadership initiative and creativity in responding to planning changing parish and diocesan needs. For more information about the Office for Research and Planning please visit http://archphila.org/pastplan/index.htm.

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