Pastoral Planning Task Force

Members of Task Force

Holy Cross/Our Mother of Sorrows: Fr. William Coffas, Fr. Joseph Martuscello,

Holy Cross: Joseph DiVincenzo, Ryan Snyder,

Our Mother of Sorrows: Marc Boeh, David Witkoski,

St. Charles Borromeo: Fr. John Firpo, Gina Reeder, David Steklenski, 

St. John the Evangelist: Fr. Peter Enyan-Boadu, Paul Parkman, Nick Verdino,

St. Lawrence: Fr. Lee Chase, Steve Amico, Jeri Rombaut,

St. Leo the Great: Fr. Joseph Catanise, David Jones, Barbara Surash,

St. Mark: Deacon Frank Pettrone, Peter Blind, Kimm Wesley.

 

“All shall be well…for there is a force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.”

Saint Julian of Norwich

Charlotte/Greece/Hilton Pastoral Planning Task Force Members with Contact Information
(updated December 22, 2022) 

 

Pastoral Planning Task Force Update 1.22.23

The Charlotte/Greece/Hilton Pastoral Planning Task Force met again on December 12. After opening prayer and faith-sharing, here were the highlights:

  • Members from each parish or clustered parishes worked together to begin creating emergency plans in the event any weekend Masses need to be canceled because of weather or a priest’s sudden illness. They identified how the parish currently communicates sudden changes to parishioners as well as other methods of electronic communication that should be considered.
  • Members created more specific ideas of how our 7 parishes can collaborate to encourage local vocations to the priesthood and permanent diaconate. Also, as part of the task force’s work to prepare for an expected smaller number of priests serving our parishes, specific ideas were developed for ways to invite, train, and support parishioners to take increasing roles.

During early 2023 we will be seeking parishioners to work on 3 collaborative initiatives of our 7 parishes: reaching out to inactive parishioners, a shared vocation approach, and developing a shared website to communicate what is happening in all our parishes. Task force minutes and previous bulletin articles are now available at https://holycrossrochester.org/index.php/taskforce

 

Charlotte/Greece/Hilton Pastoral Planning Task Force Meeting Notes  Wednesday, November 16th at 6:30 PM -Holy Cross Parish Hall

ATTENDING: Holy Cross/Our Mother of Sorrows: Fr. William Coffas, Fr. Joseph Martuscello, Our Mother of
Sorrows: Marc Boeh, David Witkoski, St. Charles Borromeo: Fr. John Firpo, David Steklenski, St. John the
Evangelist: Fr. Peter Enyan-Boadu, Nick Verdino, St. Lawrence: Steve Amico, Jeri Rombaut, St. Leo the Great:
David Jones, Barbara Surash, St. Mark: Deacon Frank Pettrone, Peter Blind, Kimm Wesley, Facilitator: Karen
Rinefierd, Minutes Scribe: Maryanne Sutton
EXCUSED: St. Lawrence: Fr. Lee Chase, St. Leo the Great: Father Joseph Catanise, St. Charles Borromeo: Gina
Reeder, Holy Cross: Joseph DiVincenzo, Ryan Snyder, St. John the Evangelist: Paul Parkman


AGENDA:
6:30 Prayer (Luke 23:35-43): Faith sharing, Intercessions, The Lord’s Prayer

6:50 Discussion: What can we do internally to prepare for a reduced number of priests serving our parishes and what should we begin preparing to present to the next Bishop?
• How do we distribute the Masses over the seven parishes? Do several models. It might be as simple as a mathematical equation based on the number of priests available at a given time. The number of Masses would reduce across the seven parishes as the number of priests declines.
• Short-term versus long-term absence; planned versus unplanned absence; emergency absences.
• Have all the Mass times at all parishes at the same time so people can go to other parishes/ Have a priest go to another parish in need
• Have one church, a “Mega Church”
• Look at how other areas handle fewer priests—e.g., Florida churches are larger in size, fewer churches per mile, no rectory; Buffalo is doing a family of parishes approach
• Keeping all the churches open is not a long-term reality (given the financial resources available, maintaining a number of buildings is very daunting)
• This should be done slowly
• Can we pair-up churches now so people are familiar with the different parish communities?
• This must be broken down to short term vs. long term goals
• There are many things to consider in criteria when considering parishes to cluster (housing, space, schools)
• Fr. Bill Coffas: Pairing can be done very well, but people must change their perceptions. Be proactive rather than be reactive. Expose parishioners to other clustered parish communities.
Communication is essential, including keeping the pulse on what parishioners are thinking. The more interaction between parishioners of the different parishes, the better the integration. Create new traditions (e.g., having one Thanksgiving Mass that rotates between the parishes). The cluster moved from having two Triduums to just one—gradual change. The biggest challenge we faced at Holy Cross and Our Mother of Sorrows was moving to one Pastoral Council.
• How are parishes combined without offending the parishioners?
• Father John Firpo: Make sure parishioners from both parishes are a part of Pastoral Council, Finance Council, Liturgy Committee, etc. Fr. Firpo first was appointed Administrator of Holy Name of Jesus
while already Pastor at St. Charles. There was a two-year process of bringing parishioners to understand that Holy Name was no longer viable (finances, children, ministries). If a church is closing
(e.g., Holy Name of Jesus or Our Lady of Mercy) bring over items from that church and incorporate them into the remaining church. Make sure each parishioner from the closing parish is tracked and
welcomed into whatever new parish they choose. It is a long process; it takes a while to adjust. We must listen to the closing parish. The remaining parish must be open to change and creating new traditions. Know that change will be gradual—e.g., at pancake breakfasts, at first former Holy Name parishioners were first seated together; later on separate seating was not necessary.
• Father Peter Enyan-Boadu: Had experience with clustered parishes in a prior assignment. Communication is key. Hold town hall meetings and communicate and listen. Speak to parishioners,
ask input, and listen.
• Prepare a “best practices in clustering parishes” document.
• Survey parishioners that have been through a clustering or closing.
• Our work could include developing emergency plans for when a priest is suddenly unable to preside at weekend Masses as well as more long-term situations. What would we recommend if a Pastor or Parochial Vicar were reassigned or if one of our priests will be retiring? What would we need to prepare for? What would change?
• We should recommend to the bishop responsibilities currently being done by priests that could be done by a lay person.
• Even in planning efforts where all of the involved parishes have members on the planning committee, even when there are town hall meetings, some parishioners will say they weren’t consulted.

7:35 Small group work on three collaborative initiatives: 1) Reaching out to inactive parishioners, 2) a shared vocation approach, 3) a shared electronic platform. (See notes at the end of these minutes)
8:10 Next bulletin article
- Include 3 topics we spoke about
- Underscore that the task force was not charged by the pastoral leaders with recommending parish
closures but with coming to agreement on how to prepare for a reduced number of priests
- Mention top 3 results of survey, collaborative efforts
8:20 Setting next three meeting dates and location
1) Monday, December 12th at 6:30 pm – St. John the Evangelist parish center
2) Monday, January 22, 2023, at 6:30 pm – St. Lawrence Deacon Hall main room
3) Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 6:30 pm – St. Charles Borromeo library (in school building)

NEXT MEETING DATE: Monday, December 12th at 6:30 pm St. John the Evangelist Parish Center


Pastoral Planning Task Force