ST. LOUIS — We continue to delve into the lengthy All Things New decision made by the Archbishop of St. Louis over the weekend.
There are 15 parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that will be merged together to create five new parishes:
- • St. David Parish in Arnold and mmaculate Conception in Arnold will become a single parish.
- • Our Lady of the Holy Cross in St. Louis, St. Elizabeth, St. Augustine in St. Louis, St. Matthew the Apostle in St. Louis, and Mother of John the Baptist in St. Louis will become a single parish.
- • Church of the Magdalen in St. Louis, Our Lady of Sorrows in St. Louis, and St. Joan of Arc in St. Louis will become a single parish.
- • St. Angela Merici near Florissant, Holy Name of Jesus in Bissell Hills and St. Norbert Parish near Florissant will become a single parish.
- • Most Holy Trinity in St. Louis, Sts. Teresa and Bridget in St. Louis and St. Nicholas in St. Louis will become a single parish.
In that merger, there will likely have to be a decision made on which church is the primary church.
“Over the next several months, our priests will be discerning with their people what the best use of our facilities should be to provide the sacraments and necessary pastoral care to all who live within their boundaries,” Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski said.
Attorney Brody Hale, consulting with Save Rome of the West, says this process could be very hard for parishes and even traumatic for parishioners.
“The parish church is the primary location within any parish where liturgical, sacred activity has to occur. That's the place where you're guaranteed to be able to get married. You're guaranteed to be able to be baptized, have your kids baptized, should be baptized yourself if you're entering the faith,” Hale said.
Hale says as a result there’s no real guaranteed fate of the churches that are left behind.
“They can have as many masses set within them as an archbishop wishes, but they are only guaranteed two masses per year,” Hale said.
There are also two parishes that are being suppressed -- or in other words, effectively closed altogether.
The first is St. Cronan in St. Louis.
“Rome has been pointing out for the last 17 years that the suppression Canon, Canon 123, is not a Canon which is supposed to be used to eliminate parishes,” Hale said.
The second is Saints Peter and Paul in St. Louis.
Hale says the decree or decision sent to these parishes is confusing especially when it comes down to the assets.
“If we're suppressing these two parishes, specifically St. Cronan and Saints Peter and Paul, how is that the case that their property and moneys and all of that are still going to be held by them? That doesn't make logical sense, let alone canonical sense,” Hale said.
Archbishop Rozanski says the buildings and properties no longer being used as they were in the past will not go to waste.
“We have different organizations, Catholic charities and other organizations who are also looking for spaces to be able to operate. So we will do whatever we can to help the community,” Rozanski said.
All appeals to these decisions are supposed to be postmarked by June 12.
Attorney Hale says this is not something someone should tackle on their own. Parishioners should reach out to Save Rome of the West to start writing an appeal.
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