A Message from Father Bober Regarding On Mission for the Church Alive! (Posted 2017)
Rationale for Action
There are currently (2017) 188 parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. There will be 150 priests available for assignment in 2018. Currently, 44 priests are serving beyond having reached retirement age and another 42 will reach retirement age in the next five years. It is expected then that in 2025, there will be approximately 80-90 priests available for assignment. To provide appropriate pastoral care (for people and priests), those 80-90 priests must be able to be assigned to less than the current 188 parishes. That is one reality that is inescapable.
One half of the current 188 parishes are experiencing operational deficits (costs exceed contributions). Solely from a financial perspective, not every current parish is sustainable. Populations have shifted and some parishes are experiencing more and more empty seats at Masses celebrated on weekends. All of this (and a good deal more) has convinced Bishop Zubik and many members of this Diocesan Church that something has to be done.
After much thought and discussion with numerous consultative bodies, the Bishop announced a plan that would consolidate parishes throughout the Diocese. New parishes would be formed from adjoining existing ones. “Models” were announced that outlined that plan. Our models included: (1) Saint Kilian uniting with Saint Gregory and Holy Sepulcher parishes and (2) Saint Kilian uniting with Saint Alexis and Saint Alphonsus. These models were announced at meetings held in every parish. Parishioners were welcomed to send in comments in writing. Each parish formed an “On Mission Team” which considered these models and made comments. Some parishes suggested alternative models. Saint Kilian Parish submitted a written “commentary” which compiled our thoughts on the positive elements and the concerns of us uniting with every parish adjoining us (Saint Gregory, Holy Sepulcher, Saint Alexis, Saint Alphonsus and Saint Ferdinand).
Most Recent Announcements
What follows is a statement sent by Fr. Samuel Esposito, the Bishop’s Vicar for the On Mission Initiative. It is important to note that it presents an additional option for a grouping for Saint Kilian Parish. It does not replace the previous option (of being with Holy Sepulcher) since the Bishop has not made any final decisions.
Since 2015, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has been engaged in a collaborative process to insure “vibrant parishes” and “effective ministries” as part of On Mission for the Church Alive! On April 26, 2018 Bishop Zubik will officially announce the Parish Groupings and Clergy Staffing. The changes will take effect on October 15, 2018.
As part of this broad collaborative effort which already includes priests, parishes, the On Mission Commission, the Priest Council, and the Diocesan Pastoral Council, there has been an ongoing examination and review of the recommended parish groupings. Keep in mind that no decisions have been made as this is still the consultation phase of the process. These proposed groupings are simply recommendations and possibilities.
It is the desire of the bishop to be transparent about the possible groupings that have surfaced in addition to what was announced to date. You know those that were published as a result of the work of the commission, but not the other possibilities that surfaced as a result of the continued consultation.
For our region, it has been suggested that the bishop consider: 1) a grouping that combines the parishes of St. John (Coylesville), St. Joseph (North Oakland), Mater Dolorosa, and St. Wendelin; 2) a grouping that combines the parishes of Holy Sepulcher, St. Joseph (Cabot), and St. Mary of the Assumption (Herman); 3) a grouping that combines the parishes of St. Gregory and Holy Redeemer; and 4) a grouping that combines the parishes of St. Ferdinand and St. Kilian.
Because the impact is for the entire Diocese of Pittsburgh and not simply one parish, it is a delicate dance to find the best fit for the parish groupings. Given the goals of On Mission and the need for a pastoral sensitivity and vision that provides care in every part of the six counties, it remains a work in progress.
Recently the pastors of these aforementioned parishes met together with diocesan officials to discuss the newly proposed models. They are currently meeting with their On Mission Teams to review these proposed amendments which, again, are just possibilities. As a matter of the transparency the bishop desires, we have prepared this unified update which is being published in all of our bulletins this weekend.
All of us pastors are committed to keeping you informed about this process as it relates to our respective parishes. Please pray for Bishop Zubik and all those associated with this widely extensive and prayer filled consultation process. May we all work together “to learn Jesus, love Jesus and live Jesus.”
- Father Bober
the Bishop announced new groupings of parishes at regional meetings. These groupings were the result of thousands of pieces of information submitted in various ways. This set of groupings takes the number of parishes from the present 188 to a proposed 49. In the latest plan, Saint Kilian Parish is to be united with Holy Sepulcher Parish in Glade Mills (on Route 8 near its intersection with Route 228). What that merged parish would look like is outlined in the following chart:
|2016 Data||Holy Sepulcher||Saint Kilian||Totals|
|General Population (Actual 2016)||11,029||29,354||40,383|
|General Population (Projected 2021)||11,240||32,035||43,275|
|Church Seating Capacity||700||1,150||1,850|
|October Count (Number Attending)||1,022||3,703||4,725|
|Full Time Lay Ministers||4||4||8|
|Part Time Lay Ministers||0||1||1|
Diocesan Next Steps
- Spring, 2018 - Bishop Zubik announces the final decisions on parish groupings as well as the priests to be
assigned to each grouping including the pastors.
- Fall, 2018 - Implementation of the announced groupings and clergy begin to take place according to the
Category A: Parishes that come together within one year from the announcement. These are chiefly those already for this action and those facing serious financial or demographic realities.
Category B: Parishes that will come together within one to three years from the announcement. This grouping will include the majority of the parishes to be formed.
Category C: Parishes that will come together within three to five years from the announcement. This smallest of the three categories will include the largest and most complex of our parishes.
Note that the placement of parishes within these categories will be announced at the same time as the groupings and priest’s assignments are announced.“Blueprints” for each of the newly formed parishes will be provided to each of the pastors selected. These blueprints will contain a general overview of what is expected of each pastor and grouping.
Further information will be posted here as available.