Dear St Ann Parish family,
You are hopefully already aware that the archdiocese is coming to an inflection point in our pastoral strategic plan, All Things New. This weekend the Archbishop will announce his plan for the reorganization of the parishes of the archdiocese.
I join the Archbishop in his gratitude to all who have participated in this process through listening sessions, surveys, and individual letters to the Archbishop or the All Things New team. I am deeply grateful for your robust, thoughtful, and honest participation. As a parish family, we have embraced this process as best as can be expected. I am proud to be your pastor.
The Announcement Process:
I will receive an email around noon on Saturday, the 27th. That email will contain a letter from the Archbishop to you, the people of St. Ann, to be read at the pulpit at all the Masses. I will not share the contents of that letter with anyone before it is read at the 5:00 PM mass this coming Saturday, May the 27th. The letter will share which parishes we’re joined with, who will be the pastor/associate, and if there are any canonical changes. That is, we’ll find out if any parish is merging. The letter will also say what my assignment will be.
At 6 o’clock, the entire plan will go live on the Archdiocese website. Anyone on an Archdiocese mailing list will receive an email inviting them to go to the All Things New website shortly after 6 PM, accompanied by a video of the Archbishop outlining his decision.
What we can expect:
I honestly do not know what the announcement will say. We will almost certainly be part of a pastorate. The drafts can give us an idea, but they are only drafts. There might be a merger of parishes. I don’t know. All this goes into effect on August 1st, but the implementation will take place over a year or more.
The letter will also outline the formal appeals process for parishes that experience a change. In the spirit of transparency, this will be included in every communication about the decision.
There are something we know will not change:
- Ann School will open for another year of record school enrollment in August.
- The church building will be open for prayer and the sacraments. Churches would have to be closed as a separate process from the closing of parishes. These announcements will not close churches.
- The cemetery will remain open and maintained in perpetuity.
- Our friendships among the parish family will continue.
- Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has died, risen from the dead, and will come again in glory.
Specifics to St. Ann:
- We will live-stream the 5 PM Mass.
- I will read the letter at the end of Mass.
- We will open the parish center after the 5 PM Mass and provide some refreshments as a place to process what we have heard together.
I would like to invite those interested to join their fellow parishioners on Tuesday the 6th of June at 6:30 PM for a general parish meeting. This meeting will allow me to review what the decision means, answer some questions, and start building a list of important questions for the parish leadership to consider going forward. To keep a constructive spirit in what may be a time of mourning, on the advice of the Parish Council, I am requiring that all questions for the meeting be submitted in writing, either before hand or on the day itself. There is an appeals process for the Archbishop’s decision, but it does not involve yelling at a parish meeting. It involves writing a letter promptly and respectfully to the Archbishop.
Let us pray for each other and our parish family. St. Ann, pray for us.
Fr. Nick Winker