Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parishioners at ten churches designated for mergers file appeals

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Parishioners at churches involved in 10 of the 14 mergers announced earlier this month are appealing the decision affecting them through a formal process provided by Archbishop John Nienstedt, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The archdiocese received more than 100 written petitions for appeal by the Oct. 27 deadline, according to a news release. There were multiple appeals by different people from some parishes.

The names of the parishes involved in the appeals have not yet been made public by the archdiocese.

“The archbishop wanted to ensure that people who are affected by a merger and who may have information which was not considered in the process have a forum for sharing their concerns,” the release said. “In fact, the archbishop expanded the process available for hierarchal recourse under church law.”

Archbishop Nienstedt has 30 days from the date he receives a petition for appeal to change either the merger decision or affirm the original decision. The appeal process for parish mergers is described at http://planning.archspm.org as well as in the printed materials distributed at all parishes the weekend of Oct. 16 and 17.

The parish restructuring is one part of a strategic plan released by the archdiocese that shapes the vision for the future of the local church. The plan is intended to ensure the church’s continued vitality for the 800,000 Catholics in the 12-county area it serves.

The plan calls for 21 parishes to be merged into 14 receiving parishes. Decisions regarding buildings and other property of the merging parishes will be made by local leaders in consultation with the archbishop and the Presbyteral Council, a representative body of priests.

In addition, 33 parishes will join together in new cluster configurations, in which one pastor leads two or more parishes (25 percent of parishes within the Archdiocese already share a pastor). And, 25 parishes are identified for structured collaboration, meaning that in the coming year they will have focused discussions about how to improve collaboration on programming and staffing.

No changes are scheduled to be implemented before Jan. 1. The changes will roll out in stages over the coming months and years.

All parishioners have an opportunity to share their thoughts in a variety of ways, including via the Strategic Plan Hotline at (651) 291-4435. People may find out more about the plan by visiting http://planning.archspm.org. Catholic Spirit

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