St. Louis Archdiocese proposes 88 ‘pastorates’ as a part of downsizing plan

SHREWSBURY — After listening to pleas from Catholics to save lots of their church buildings, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has proposed new maps displaying a consolidation of half of the 178 parishes throughout the area.

New draft fashions from 15 geographic planning areas within the “All Issues New” reorganization present 88 “pastorates” — teams of a number of parishes that will likely be served by a single pastor.

The maps present the best consolidation of parishes in St. Louis metropolis and far of St. Louis County whereas most parishes in Webster Groves, Kirkwood, Valley Park and Eureka would stay intact on their very own.

There are three potential buildings for every pastorate: a single parish with a resident priest, two or extra parishes with unbiased funds that share a priest or two or extra parishes which can be merged into one.

Archdiocese and parish leaders will likely be charged with deciding how every pastorate with multiple parish is structured, together with the place and when Sunday Mass will likely be held. A few of these selections are anticipated to be introduced on Pentecost Sunday, Could 28, when St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski releases the ultimate plan.

“There are nonetheless loads of query marks,” stated Jason Bolte of Save Rome of the West, a bunch preventing to maintain church buildings open. “It does baffle me should you have a look at areas like St. Charles and components of Franklin County the place there’s loads of development, they’re being hit fairly laborious. After which areas which can be stagnating development are being left alone.”

Even parishes that seem untouched on the maps might be affected by shedding a priest or combining with different parishes’ ministries together with colleges, stated Father Chris Martin, the archdiocese’s vicar for strategic planning.

The pastorates had been created from “the fruit of the suggestions we obtained from the folks” on elements like visitors patterns and present collaborations amongst parishes, Martin stated Wednesday.

“The stability actually is about what’s the most prudent pastoral care, priest availability and long-term parish viability,” Martin stated.

The primary query to be settled is whether or not the newest parish groupings are the most effective match. Then archdiocese leaders will make suggestions for major worship websites inside every pastorate, however the selections will seemingly fall with particular person monks and their parishioners, Martin stated.

Clergymen have additionally been instructed to “count on a big reassignment within the coming months,” Martin stated.

Usually, about 20% of pastors are reassigned yearly, Martin stated. He didn’t estimate a proportion of monks that will likely be moved within the coming months.

Catholics obtained their first have a look at potential parish mergers at listening classes in November. After surveys and suggestions from the classes, the varied choices had been reworked into one draft for every space.

Save Rome of the West posted the draft fashions Tuesday after they had been leaked by a church chief.

Archdiocesan leaders have stated the downsizing is critical as each the variety of Catholic trustworthy and the monks to serve them have dwindled in latest a long time. Projections present there will likely be 130 monks in 15 years, in response to the archdiocese.

Ken Battis, president of Save Our St. Louis Parishes, anticipates a “Catholic starvation video games” situation the place parishes in every pastorate battle for survival.

“I can’t think about a extra disruptive plan than ‘We’re gonna lock the three of you parishes within the room and whoever comes out standing wins,’” Battis stated. “That doesn’t appear Christian to me not to mention Catholic or pastoral.”

The newest drafts present a Hispanic parish being established at St. Barnabas in O’Fallon as an alternative of St. Gianna in Wentzville, the place parishioners mounted a vigorous opposition to the plan.

A number of historic church buildings close to downtown St. Louis, together with St. Mary of Victories, St. John Nepomuk and Sts. Peter and Paul, will likely be spared closure.

St. Cecilia with its common Mexican fish fries within the Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis won’t be moved to a different church as initially proposed however will stay a Hispanic parish with out geographic boundaries.

The 18 parishes in north St. Louis County will likely be mixed into six teams and the eight parishes in north St. Louis metropolis will go down to 3 pastorates, with solely St. Alphonsus Liguori “the Rock” on north Grand Boulevard standing alone.

Shut to three,000 Catholics from 120 parishes have signed a “procurator mandate” in protest of large-scale parish mergers whereas making ready for potentialities together with civil lawsuits and appeals to Vatican courts by means of canon, or church regulation.

Archdiocese leaders stated “All Issues New” follows canon regulation and church buildings won’t be closed with out “simply trigger,” which doesn’t embody a scarcity of monks.

Bolte stated Save Rome of the West would proceed its work to struggle the closure of any church.

“That is God’s sacred holy floor … you don’t simply shut it down,” Bolte stated.

Initially posted at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8.