FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2015
FINAL MAKING ALL THINGS NEW DECISIONS ANNOUNCED
The Archdiocese of New York today announced the last decisions reached by Cardinal Timothy Dolan for the final 16 proposed parish mergers that have been under consideration and deliberation by the parish clusters and the archdiocesan planning board over the last year-and-a-half. These 16 proposals arose during the Making All Things New pastoral planning process, and in November the cardinal requested additional input and honest response of the clusters and the advisory committee before making any decisions about these parishes. After the clusters and advisory committee completed their work, the Priest Council of the archdiocese reviewed their responses and offered their own counsel to the cardinal for his consideration.
As a result of this long process of consultation and review, the cardinal has decided that 31 parishes will merge, resulting in 14 new parishes (some mergers involve more than one parish). In 11 of these 14 newly formed parishes, two church buildings will be used, with one church designated as the parish church and the other site used for Masses and sacraments. There will be six churches where Masses and sacraments will no longer be celebrated on a regular basis.
There were two other proposals, one each on Staten Island and in Harlem, where, following this period of consultation and review, the cardinal has decided there will be no merger.
Today’s announcement brings to a conclusion this phase of the Making All Things New pastoral planning process. Cardinal Dolan said, “From the beginning, this process has been about helping the archdiocese to better accomplish the work of evangelization and outreach, preach the Gospel, perform works of charity, and educate people in the faith, all of which is at the heart of the Church’s mission. For too long we have been in the business of maintaining buildings and structures that were established in the 19th and early 20th centuries to meet the needs of the people of that time, but which are not necessary to meet the needs of the Church and its people as it exists today.”
Because of Making All Things New, the archdiocese has also identified several potential areas for increased pastoral ministry and growth, including:
The pastoral planning process began in 2010, and involved surveying the parishioners of every parish of the archdiocese; meeting with priests, deacons, and religious throughout the archdiocese; consulting with the archdiocesan pastoral council; and reviewing the observations offered by Cardinal Dolan from his own extensive parish visits since his 2009 appointment as archbishop. The formal phase of Making All Things New was launched in September 2013, with every parish doing a self-examination, before joining with other nearby parishes to form a parish “cluster” to develop proposals for the future of the Catholic church in that area. These proposals were then reviewed by the 40 person advisory committee comprised of clergy, religious men and women, and the faithful from across the archdiocese, and, finally, by the priest council and other close advisors and key staff.
Implementation of the decisions, both those announced today and those announced six months ago on November 2, 2014, are scheduled for August 1, 2015. Transition teams have been working throughout the archdiocese to assist the parishes with the practical steps that must be taken for the implementation, as well as with the process of coming together with another parish to form a new parish family; particular attention is being given to those parish mergers in which one of the church buildings will not be used on a regular basis for Mass and sacraments.
The merger of Saint Luke parish with Saint Jerome parish in the Bronx, announced in November, has been reconsidered. As Cardinal Dolan said at that time, if there were substantial new information or a change of circumstances that had not been foreseen, then a decision could be looked at again. In the case of Saint Luke, it will now become the parish home for approximately 700-800 Ghanaian Catholics who were looking to join an established parish. With this influx of new parishioners, Saint Luke will be able to remain a vibrant, stable parish.
Also promulgated today was the decree concerning the merger of Saint Charles Borromeo parish and All Saints parish in Harlem. This decision was made back in November, but the cardinal held the decision in abeyance while the other proposal for Harlem was considered by the cluster and the archdiocesan planning board. Now that this process is concluded, the decree is being issued.
Finally, the archdiocese announced in November that the religious order, the Salesians of Don Bosco, had agreed to undertake pastoral ministry in all of Port Chester, and that they would develop a proposal for configuring and merging the four parishes that currently serve that community. They have developed such a proposal that will be presented to Cardinal Dolan, who will review the plan and discuss it with the priest council for their advice and guidance at the end of May. Because this remains a proposal, and no decision has yet been made, no details can be announced today.
Parish List 1 - Masses and Sacraments celebrated at both churches
Parish List 2 - Masses and Sacraments to be celebrated at the designated parish church; the other church may be used on special occasions.