ST. LOUIS — In a newly released draft, the Archdiocese of St. Louis outlined the proposed changes coming to the church as part of its "All Things New" restructuring plan.
In the plan, the archdiocese said its 178 parishes will be consolidated into 88 pastorates, which the archdiocese described as a community overseen by one pastor and pastoral team.
Maps included in the announcement show instances of multiple current parishes becoming one pastorate and others where existing parishes remain unchanged. The announcement said the parishes that appear unchanged on the maps may still experience changes due to priest availability.
How existing parishes merge into a single pastorate will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The announcement said if a parish property is ever sold, the money from the sale will "follow the people into their new parish," and the archdiocese can't and won't acquire any funds under canon law.
"In some cases, an individual parish may remain as its own pastorate, but may have to adapt some of its ministries and Mass times due to priest availability and coordinate with other parishes, ensuring vibrant evangelization and social outreach initiatives. In other cases, it may be that two or more parishes remain financially independent of each other but will become a new pastorate sharing one pastor and pastoral team. Finally, in some cases it may be that parishes merge their resources together and become a new pastorate under one pastor and pastoral team," the announcement said of the pastorate process.
A possible example of a parish that becomes its own pastorate and largely stays the same is Immaculate Conception Dardenne in Planning Area 10.
Another possible example of separate churches being independent but sharing one pastor is St. Gianna's in Wentzville and Immaculate Heart of Mary in New Melle which are both shaded in green in Planning Area 10.
Elisabeth Meinecke, with Friends of St. Gianna, said she feels like in this new plan they did not listen to their concerns.
"Trying to put one pastor, possibly an associate as well, but essentially one pastor in charge of a growing parish like, St. Gianna, that has over 500 registered families and is continuing to grow, and a very large parish, I believe there are over 1,200 or around 1200 in Immaculate Heart of New Melle, and that that's a lot to try to argue that that is good for increasing people's access to sacraments," Meinecke said.
Meinecke said they believe this plan is not about a shortage of priests.
"I think it's time to dispel the notion that this is about a priest shortage. We have enough priests in the archdiocese to cover all of the parishes for the next several years. If this were about a priest shortage, why would they be trying to change the status of a parish like St. Gianna, which is actually producing vocations? We are the newest parish in the archdiocese and we're already producing vocations. Why aren't we looking at ways to produce vocations in this archdiocese so that maybe we don't have to close all of these parishes?" Meinecke said.
An example of the third pastorate option where they would merge parishes together to create one new parish is in Planning Area 3 where there are a lot of churches right next to each other.
In Planning Area 4, St. Ambrose, The Epiphany of Our Lord, and St. James The Greater are all in one pastorate.
St. Louis Alderman and Member of St. Ambrose Joe Vollmer said he hopes St. Ambrose will remain its own congregation even if they share a pastor.
"We've been through this before when other parishes have closed their schools and the school took in the other students. So, yes, it's a very welcoming situation. I think everyone will find it to be workable," Vollmer said.
He said St. Ambrose, like many other churches, is the life of the community.
"Without the church, this would just be another neighborhood, I believe. The church, it's what they call a heart of The Hill here," Vollmer said.
The plan does not say how Catholic schools will be affected. Last year, the archdiocese said it would postpone restructuring its Catholic elementary schools until the 2024-25 school year.
The draft was created after thousands of parishioners responded to the archdiocese's call for input.
The maps showing the proposed pastorates are marked Winter 2023, but no date is set.
The archdiocese said this will be the final set of draft models. They are asking parishioners to provide feedback to their parish leaders by Feb. 15. That will be the final chance to provide feedback.
Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski will announce a final decision on Pentecost, which falls on May 28.
- St. Angela Merici, St. Norbert and Holy Name of Jesus
- Sacred Heart, St. Rose Phillippine Duchesne and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
- St. Sabina, St. Ferdinand and St. Martin de Porres
- Our Lady of the Holy Cross, St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist and St. Augustine
- St. Matthew, Sts. Teresa and Bridget, St. Nicholas, Most Holy Trinity
- St. Alphonsus Liguori
- St. Francis Xavier (College Church)
- Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
- St. John, Apostle and Evangelist
- St. Margaret of Scotland
- St. Vincent de Paul, St. Pius V
- St. Anthony of Padua and St. Cecilia (remains Hispanic Church)
- St. John the Baptist, Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Stephen Protomartyr
- St. James the Greater, Epiphany of Our Lord, St. Ambrose
- St. Joan of Arc, Church of the Magdalen and Our Lady of Sorrows
- St. Gabriel the Archangel and St. Raphael the Archangel
- St. John Paul II, Seven Holy Founders and St. Simon
- St. Michael the Archangel, Cure of Ars, Annunciation and Our Lady of Providence
- St. Andrew, St. Mark, St. Martin of Tours, St. Matthias and St. Bernadette
- St. Elizabeth of Hungary Maronite Partnership Parish and St. Justin Martyr
- St. Francis of Assisi
- Queen of All Saints
- St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
- St. Catherine Laboure
- Immaculate Conception, Little Flower, St. Mary Magdalen and St. Luke
- Annunziata and St. Genevieve du Bois
- Our Lady of the Pillar
- Holy Redeemer
- Mary Queen of Peace
- St. Peter
- St. Clement of Rome
- St. Gerard Majella
- St. Ann, St. Rita, Our Lady of the Presentation, All Souls and St. Jude
- Christ the King, All Saints, St. Roch, St. Joseph and Our Lady of Lourdes(St, Louis County)
- Holy Spirit
- St. John Bosco, St. Monica and St. Richard
- St. Jude, Our Lady of the Presentation, St. Rita, St. Ann and All Souls(All Souls remains a Latino/Anglo parish)
- St. Paul
- Sacred Heart (Valley Park)
- St. Joseph and Christ Prince of Peace
- Holy Infant
- Most Sacred Heart (Eureka)
- St. Alban Roe and St. Clare of Assisi
- St. Anselm
- Incarnate Word and St. Andrew Kim (St. Andrew Kim will remain a Korean church as long as a Korean language priest is provided.)
- St. Francis of Assisi and St. Charles Borromeo
- St. Cletus
- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Peter and St. Robert Bellarmine
- Sts. Joachim and Ann
- All Saints
- Assumption and St. Barnabas (St. Barnabas becomes Hispanic personal parish)
- St. Joseph (Cottleville)
- Immaculate Conception
- St. Patrick
- St. Gianna and Immaculate Heart of Mary
- St. Paul and St. Joseph (Josephville)
- St. Theodore
- Immaculate Conception (Old Monroe)
- St. Alphonsus, Sacred Heart (Elsberry), Sacred Heart (Troy) and St. Mary (Hawk Point)
- Holy Rosary
- St. Ignatius (Concord Hill), St. Vincent (Dutzow) and Immaculate Conception (Agusta)
- St. Paul (Berger), Assumption (New Haven), St. Francis Borgia (Washington) and Our Lady of Lourdes
- St. John the Baptist (Gildehaus), St. Bridget of Kildare (Pacific), St. James (Catawissa) and St. Mary (Moselle)
- Immaculate Conception (Union), St. Joseph (Neier) and St. Claire (St. Clair)
- Holy Family (Port Hudson), St. Ann (Clover Bottom), St. Gertrude (Krakow) and St. Gerald Mission
- Mary Mother of the Church, Immaculate Conception(Arnold) and St. David (St. Louis/ Jefferson County)
- St. John the Beloved Deciple (Imperial) and St. Joseph (Imperial)
- St. Anthony (High Ridge) and Our Lady Queen of Peace (House Springs)
- Good Shepherd (Hillsboro), Our Lady (Festus) and Sacred Heart (Crystal City)
- Holy Martyrs of Japan and St. Anthony (Sullivan)
- St. Francis of Assisi (Lubbering), St. Stephen (Richwoods), St. Joachim (Old Mines), St. Joseph (Tiff) and St. James (Potosi)
- St. Rose of Lima (DeSoto), St. Joseph (Bonne Terre) and St. Anne Mission
- Immaculate Conception (Park Hills), St. John Mission, St. Joseph (Farmington) and St. Catherine (Coffman)
- St. Agnes (Bloomsdale), St. Lawrence (Lawrenceton) and St. Joseph (Zell)
- Ste. Genevieve (Ste. Genevieve), Our Lady Help of Christians (Weingarten), Sts. Philip and James (River Auz Vases) and Sacred Heart (Ozora)
- Our Lady of Victory (Sereno), Christ the Savior (Brewer), St. Rose of Lima (Silver Lake), St. Vincent de Paul (Perryville), St. James Mission and St. Joseph Mission
- St. Maurus and St. Joseph (Apple Creek)