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.
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.
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.
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. Hyacinth Basilica Parish
- Our Lady of Grace Parish
- St. Sylvester Parish
The structure of Our Lady of Grace School and St. Sylvester School are outside the scope of the RMC conversation in our grouping based on how Big Shoulders Fund is financially and administratively supporting both schools. Through an agreement between the archdiocese and Big Shoulders Fund beginning in late 2019, Big Shoulders Fund has taken an increased leadership role on administrative and strategic support for a number of schools, including these two schools. Parish and archdiocesan financial support for these schools continue at current levels. Big Shoulders Fund will provide the funding for any increase in financial needs.
Key data for each parish are listed on the next 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
Scenario 1: OLG + St. Sylvester unite as 1 parish with 2 active church sites.
- Our Lady of Grace and St. Sylvester unite to form 1 parish. Both churches would continue to hold a regular schedule for Mass (specific schedule determined by the pastor after consultation with parish leadership).
- St. Hyacinth Basilica Parish remains in its current structure.
- Both parishes work together on local evangelization efforts and explore opportunities to share resources, e.g., staff who support operations and administration.
Scenario 2: OLG unites to become part of St. Hyacinth Parish as a second site.
- If the Resurrectionists are able to support some Spanish language ministry, this scenario would consider Our Lady of Grace becoming part of St. Hyacinth Parish as a second church of St. Hyacinth Parish.
- St. Sylvester would explore possibilities with the grouping that includes St. Aloysius, St. Hedwig, St. John Berchmans, and St. Mary of the Angels.
|Avg. weekend Mass attendance (October Count)|
|Year||St. Hyacinth||Our Lady of Grace||St. Sylvester||Combined|
|Oct. 2009 (10-yr)||3,508||1,474||1,637||6,619|
|Oct. 1999 (20-yr)||6,425||1,769||1,439||9,633|
|% at Spanish Masses||–||85%||64%||43%|
|% at Bilingual Masses||–||–||8%||3%|
|% at Polish Masses||71%||–||–||29%|
|Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals (July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019)|
|Year||St. Hyacinth||Our Lady of Grace||St. Sylvester||Combined|
|Baptisms under 7 yrs old||77||172||165||414|
|Church seating capacity||2,000||800||700|
|Annual church operating revenue|
|Fiscal Year 2019 revenue||St. Hyacinth||Our Lady of Grace||St. Sylvester||Combined|
|Operating revenue, inclusive of collections||$706,087||$361,915||$399,341||$1,467,343|