Brooklyn, NY (November 14, 2010) – After an inclusive, eight-month process with participation from a full range of religious and lay stakeholders, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has begun implementation of a strategy designed to ensure the long-term viability of parishes throughout the Diocese. The announcement was made today on the Diocesan website, www.DioceseofBrooklyn.org.
Under the first phase of the Strategic Planning Process – called Christ Jesus Our Hope – the Diocese will close two Brooklyn churches. In addition, three Brooklyn parishes will be merged with neighboring parishes. The Diocese notified pastors in affected parishes of the decision on Friday and informed parishioners at Masses today. The changes take effect on January 31, 2011.
Since March 2010, Diocesan leadership has been actively working with all 198 parishes throughout Brooklyn and Queens to create a long-term strategic plan that would strengthen and sustain the Church in those boroughs well into the future. A deliberative and multi-tiered process, it will broadly affect diocesan, parish and school organization. Priests, religious and lay leadership in both parish and diocesan communities have been intimately involved in analyzing current structures while preparing for future challenges. The Diocese’s goal for the Strategic Planning Process is to put the diocese, its schools and all of its parishes on a firm foundation – pastorally and financially – thereby freeing more Diocesan resources to continue its mission of enrichment and expansion of faith in Brooklyn and Queens. Furthermore, the Strategic Planning Process will help the Diocese continue to deliver vital social services to those in need.
“Our hearts are filled with love and empathy for those parishioners who face the merger of their parish or the closure of their beloved church building. We will be working closely with all affected parishes to ensure that they are comforted in this time of change,” said Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn. “We remain determined to make as few changes as possible, but still do what is in the best interest of ensuring the vitality of our parishes and to address the spiritual and institutional needs of the entire diocesan community.”
Upon receiving recommendations from the Planning Commission overseeing and guiding the Strategic Planning Process, Bishop DiMarzio sought the opinions and suggestions of the Diocesan Finance Council, the Diocesan College of Consultors and the Canonical Consultation of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council.
Diocesan leadership and the Planning Commission will work with parishes throughout the implementation process to provide continued support. This announcement is the first in a series of actions in Phase I. Over the coming weeks, several parishes involved in Phase One will be assisted by the Diocese to establish a committee composed of parish leaders and diocesan representatives in order to create a strategic action plan that will address specific challenges faced by those parishes that were identified through the Strategic Planning Process.
An analysis of parishes in Phase II of the Strategic Planning Process is underway now, with reconfigurations to be announced in late winter, 2011. Additional phases of planning will continue through the fall of 2011.
Details on Phase I actions of Christ Jesus Our Hope:
Church of Our Lady of Montserrate in the Parish of All Saints will close (South Williamsburg, Brooklyn). The parish has two worship sites – Our Lady of Montserrate and All Saints.
Church of St. Edward the Confessor in the Parish of Mary of Nazareth will close (Fort Greene, Brooklyn). The Parish has two worship sites – St. Edward the Confessor and Sacred Heart.
Parish of St. Lucy/St. Patrick will be merging into the Parish of Mary of Nazareth (Clinton Hill, Brooklyn). The merged parish will go by the name of Mary of Nazareth. The Planning Commission will continue to study the long-term feasibility of utilizing the church building of St. Lucy/St. Patrick and present recommendations in the coming months.
Parish of St. Gregory the Great will be merging into the Parish of St. Matthew (Crown Heights, Brooklyn). The merged parish will go by the name of St. Matthew.
Parish of St. Ignatius will be merging into the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi/St. Blaise (Crown Heights, Brooklyn). The merged parish will go by the name of St. Francis of Assisi/St. Blaise. The Planning Commission will continue to study the long-term feasibility of utilizing the church building of Saint Ignatius and present recommendations in the coming months.
More information is available at www.ChristJesusOurHope.org/news, including background on the Strategic Planning Process, frequently asked questions, a video message from Bishop DiMarzio, and an interview with Planning Commission Co-Chairs Auxiliary Bishop Frank Caggiano and Msgr. Edward Scharfenberger.