(this announcement was read at all our Sunday Masses on May 21, 2023)
As you are aware, representatives of the Parish Renewal Committee met on May 10, 2023 with members of the Finance Committee to discuss the results of the four Town Hall meetings.
They also met on May 18, 2023 to firm up a recommended approach. Today, we wish to update you on our recommendation.
Regretfully, our Catholic Faith is showing strong declining trends and it is clear that the status quo is not working. Some changes are required. Our recommendation to the Archdiocese is as follows:
- That the parishes formally unite as one Parish with one new name noting that the buildings can retain their existing name.
- St. Catherine of Sienna would close. We would anticipate this closure early in the new pastoral year. The new Parish would be responsible for the building while its future is being determined.
- St. Anthony and St. James would become Missions of the new Parish.
There are a number of details which will have to be worked out. It is our intent to update all parishioners as things develop. We understand that this announcement will be emotional for many and ask for prayers for guidance and prayers for support.
This recommendation will be discussed with the Deanery, the College of Consultors and the Presbyteral Council before being presented to the Archbishop. We do not know how long it will be before we have an approval.
Let us continue praying for each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is it just St. Catherine of Sienna closing?
A: The local population is not large enough to continue supporting the costs of an older building. Its proximity to the other three churches ensures adequate alternatives for celebrations of the Eucharist.
Q: Are other parishes in the Archdiocese closing?
A: There are many parishes in our Archdiocese who need to have similar discussions. Some are looking at it right now, others should and over time will have to do so.
Q: What happens to the money in our bank or investments?
A: The savings are transferred to the new parish but remain available to each parish/mission as they earned these savings.
Q: Other dioceses are bringing in international priests so they can keep parishes open. Why can’t we use this option?
A: St. Anthony’s, St. Catherine of Sienna and St. James do not have the revenue to support a Missionary Priest. The Archdiocese does have some international priests and are thankful for their missionary work.
Q: What will happen to a church building if it is closed?
A: If it is not going to continue in use as a Catholic church, a building must first have its consecration or blessing removed. At that point it is no longer a church. After all of the sacred furnishings have been removed, the parish can use the building for purposes other than sacred worship, or it can be rented or sold under certain circumstances, with permission of the Archbishop.
Q: What is the difference between a Mission and a Parish?
A: There is no difference at the congregation level. A Parish has a Priest whereas a Mission is serviced by a Priest from a Parish. As well a parish has a number of administrative requirements under Canon Law whereas a Mission reports as a part of a Parish. This enables us to reduce some administrative costs such as one bank account (less fees), one set of accounting and one annual report to the Archdiocese.
Q: Why can we not just wait another year before making changes?
A: The factual overview which we presented clearly demonstrated that the Catholic Faith in North Glengarry is in serious decline. We are acting now to change this disturbing trend so that we will have Faith to pass on to our children and grandchildren. It is now time that we move to make the infrastructure serve our mission and stop making it our mission to preserve the infrastructure.
Q: How are we going to help those who are grieving and overcome by emotion?
A: We will put together a program to reach out to all but reaching out to those who are overcome is all of our responsibility. Prayer is a strong medicine for grieving.