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Renew My Church: Parish Conversation to Discuss our Future

As Jesus Christ calls us to constantly renew His Church, we must be prepared to lend our voice and efforts to the possible ways in which we bring about that needed renewal. Included here is a summary of where we are today, but much more will be shared in our next parish meeting. Please come to learn more and share your feedback and input.

Process Overview
Renewal requires envisioning, planning, and new means to bring Jesus Christ to others. There are nearly 100 groupings of parishes and schools across the Archdiocese engaging in a process to address necessary questions of structure, how to work together across communities within each grouping, and to establish a strong foundation for vitality through focused evangelization and faith formation efforts. Supporting our parishes with the best structures enables us to breathe renewed life into our efforts to make disciples, build communities, and inspire witness.

Initial Scenarios
To initiate discussion, the Archdiocese has offered a set of initial scenarios that show potential models of how our parishes and schools could be configured in the future. These initial scenarios have been developed accounting for data such as demographics, Mass attendance, financial and facility conditions. The scenarios reflect input from archdiocese staff, vicariate leaders, and local pastors.

These initial scenarios, which will be shared in detail at our next parish meeting, are conversation starters only. No decisions have been made. The Grouping Feedback & Discernment team may propose additional scenarios they believe merit discussion as long as they would be viable.

These scenarios will be evaluated against a set of criteria determined using data across the Archdiocese for how a structure would support vitality and ensure viability, such as: 

  • Ministerial and spiritual needs of the parish: To enliven the work of evangelization, formation, worship, and pastoral care in today’s time and culture, parishes ordinarily will build a strong a staff team to support the pastor. Staff teams will be professionally trained and justly paid. To support this staffing and basic operations, such as paying utilities, parishes generally will need operating revenue of $750,000 or more (excluding rental income).
  • Parishioner count and Mass attendance: Based on the number of pastors expected to be available across the Archdiocese in the future, a minimum of 800 parishioners attending weekend Mass is generally needed to be assigned a full-time, resident pastor. In addition, parishes need enough people power (i.e, parishioner count) to support vibrant ministries. 
  • Pastoral manageability: It is critical that our structures support our pastors and pastoral teams to focus as much time and energy as possible on ministry. These structures need to be realistic to manage, considering potential travel between campuses, sacramental coverage, and administrative, facility, and ministerial needs.
  • Parish financial stability and facilities: Parish financial stability and adequate, accessible and safe facilities with capacity for growth and affordable ongoing repair/maintenance.
  • School quality and financial stability: The school should be best positioned to provide the very highest quality of faith formation and academic quality in a manner that is financially sustainable. A key measure is the potential to enroll a minimum of 240 students in PK-8, considering area demographics and parish student population.

Note on Foundational Principles in relation to the challenges posed by COVID-19
The foundational principles written above remain the benchmarks against which to consider the viability of structural scenarios. Parish data will need to be compared against the foundational principles considering both pre-COVID data (i.e., Fiscal Year 2019 financials and October 2019 Mass attendance) and how COVID has impacted the financial sustainability of each parish and potential scenario. What is important is how those financial implications affect the future. Short-term financial challenges should not significantly influence decisions. However, where it is clear the effects will continue into the future, that reality will need to be included in evaluation of each scenario.

Additional Information and Definitions for Reading the Initial Parish Scenarios:

The next page includes the initial scenarios for our grouping, which consists of:

  • St. Andrew Parish and School
  • St. Benedict Parish and School
  • St. Mary of the Lake Parish and School
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Parish

Additional ministries such as the Kateri Center housed at St. Benedict are not addressed in the scenarios unless the scenario may have specific impact on the ministry.

Key data points for each parish are listed on the final page of this document.

Reading the scenarios, it is important to distinguish between the words parish and church. 

Parish = The People, Community, Organization       

Church = Building; the sacred space in which we worship

A united parish has one pastor, budget, staff, Finance Council, etc. – but may have multiple churches. The assets of each parish uniting as one parish become the assets of the united parish.

A united parish may take the form of a new parish with a new name (Parish A and Parish B form New Parish C) or Parish B becoming part of Parish A. In either case, the church buildings retain their names. So Church B would still be Church B even if it becomes part of Parish A.

When a parish would have two churches, one of the churches would be designated as the parish church where the sacramental records would be kept.

As we review the scenarios, it is important for all us to do so prayerfully keeping in mind that the spiritual and structural renewal to which we are called to foster are connected. The best and most effective and efficient stewardship of our resources (structural renewal) can allow us to invest more into the ministries that directly work toward making disciples, building community and inspiring witness (spiritual renewal). 

Just as Jesus asks us to pray always, He also invites us to trust always. Together, we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to determine how Our Lord will use existing structures to create new ones that bring more people into relationship with Him.

Your input is needed
Again, these initial scenarios are conversation starters only. No decisions have been made. We are asked to provide feedback on the initial scenarios from the Archdiocese and propose alternative scenarios and configuration models. 

Please come to our next parish meeting to learn more and share your feedback and input.

Initial Parish Scenarios for Discernment 

Please note that unless called out specifically in a scenario, school structures, programs, and governance are not proposed to change in the scenarios.

In each of the scenarios, Spanish language ministry could be located at one campus to provide the best focus and resourcing for ministry.

Scenario 1a: 3 parishes, 4 active church sites

Parish 1: St. Mary of the Lake and Our Lady of Lourdes unite as one parish.

  • Both churches continue to hold Sunday Mass(es).
  • Auxiliary buildings (i.e., buildings other than the church) at both locations to be evaluated for potential sale to generate income / reduce expenses for the united parish.

Parish 2: St. Andrew remains in its current structure.
Parish 3: St. Benedict remains in its current structure.

In this scenario, St. Andrew and St. Benedict would develop a plan and covenant for ministry between the two parishes.

Scenario 1b: 3 parishes, 3 active church sites

All details the same as Scenario 1a except Our Lady of Lourdes Church would move toward formal closure and St. Mary of the Lake would be the location for all of the united parish’s regular schedule of Masses.

Scenario 2a: 3 parishes, 4 active church sites

Parish 1: St. Andrew and Our Lady of Lourdes unite as one parish.

  • Both churches continue to hold Sunday Mass(es).
  • Auxiliary buildings (i.e., buildings other than the church) at both locations to be evaluated for potential sale to generate income / reduce expenses for the united parish.

Parish 2: St. Benedict remains in its current structure.
Parish 3: St. Mary of the Lake remains in its current structure.

Scenario 2b: 3 parishes, 3 active church sites

All details the same as Scenario 2a except Our Lady of Lourdes Church would move toward formal closure and St. Andrew would be the location for all of the united parish’s regular schedule of Masses.

Scenario 3a: 3 parishes, 4 active church sites

Parish 1: St. Benedict and Our Lady of Lourdes unite as one parish.

  • Both churches continue to hold Sunday Mass(es).
  • Auxiliary buildings (i.e., buildings other than the church) at both locations to be evaluated for potential sale to generate income / reduce expenses for the united parish.

Parish 2: St. Andrew remains in its current structure.
Parish 3: St. Mary of the Lake remains in its current structure.

Scenario 3b: 3 parishes, 3 active church sites

All details the same as Scenario 2a except Our Lady of Lourdes Church would move toward formal closure and St. Benedict would be the location for all of the united parish’s regular schedule of Masses.

Scenario 4a: 2 parishes, 4 active church sites

Parish 1: St. Benedict and Our Lady of Lourdes unite as one parish.

  • Both churches continue to hold Sunday Mass(es).
  • Auxiliary buildings (i.e., buildings other than the church) at both locations to be evaluated for potential sale to generate income / reduce expenses for the united parish.

Parish 2: St. Andrew and St. Mary of the Lake unite as one parish.

Scenario 4b: 2 parishes, 3 active church sites

All details the same as Scenario 4a except Our Lady of Lourdes Church would move toward formal closure and St. Benedict would be the location for all of the united parish’s regular schedule of Masses within a united St. Benedict + Our Lady of Lourdes.

Scenario 5a: 2 parishes, 4 active church sites

Parish 1: St. Mary of the Lake and Our Lady of Lourdes unite as one parish.

  • Both churches continue to hold Sunday Mass(es).
  • Auxiliary buildings (i.e., buildings other than the church) at both locations to be evaluated for potential sale to generate income / reduce expenses for the united parish.

Parish 2: St. Andrew and St. Benedict unite as one parish.

  • The two schools would remain separately operated.

Scenario 5b: 2 parishes, 3 active church sites

All details the same as Scenario 5a except Our Lady of Lourdes Church would move toward formal closure and St. Mary of the Lake would be the location for all of the united parish’s regular schedule of Masses within a united St. Mary of the Lake + Our Lady of Lourdes.

Parish Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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