Faith in Our Future Update

Message From Fr. Mike:

Our Cohort 5 Faith in Our Future Implementation Team has been hard at work in recent weeks preparing an implementation plan and timetable for our upcoming linkage with Saints Francis and Clare parish in Florence and collaboration with Saint Katharine Drexel in Burlington.  A Vision and Values Statement and Implementation Plan was recently completed and submitted to the Trenton Diocese for their approval.  It covers such areas as youth ministry, evangelization, faith formation, support for St. Paul School, prison ministry to the Albert Wagner correctional facility and coordination of Mass schedules.  We are most grateful for the hard work of the members of our parish implementation committee for helping prepare these documents.

The following working definitions will apply to the phased transformation of St. Mary’s Church & Parish:

COLLABORATIVE PARISHES Model:

Parishes within a Cohort enter into formal, collaborative relationships, working together on specific, agreed-upon shared  areas of ministry, shared programs, shared staffing, shared resources; parishes remain distinct with their own pastor, pastoral and finance councils, finances, census and sacramental books; collaborative parishes work together whenever possible to do what a single parish cannot do effectively alone.

LINKAGE PARISHES Model:

Two or more parishes within a Cohort share one pastor for all parishes involved but remain distinct with their own pastoral councils (linked parishes may prefer to share a pastoral council together) and finance councils (must remain separate), finances, census and sacramental books; whenever appropriate and possible, linkage parishes work together to share   ministries, programs, services, etc.  Linked parishes should collaborate with other parishes in the Cohort.

MERGED PARISHES Model:

Two or more parishes within a Cohort merge to become one new parish in order to minister more effectively to one newly combined population with one pastor; the new parish may have more than one worship site with each church site retaining its current name; all organizations, ministries, programs, finances, assets and liabilities belong to the one new parish; one new staff is formed; one new finance council and one pastoral   council are formed; a new name may be established to be approved by the Bishop or the combined names of both parishes can be used.  Merged parishes should collaborate with other parishes in the Cohort.