Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake,
This past Labor Day I was blessed to visit my newborn niece on my way back down to the parish. As the first baby born on Labor Day at the hospital, I thought they should win a prize but thus far none has been forthcoming. (After fourteen tries I also once again failed to win the $25 dollars for guessing the right gender and date in the family betting pool. Hopefully my luck will be better whenever number 15 is announced!) I hope you all had a blessed weekend before the Fall begins in earnest.
For those who were not able to attend in person or virtually, I encourage you to watch the video of the meeting held at the end of August with the Diocese’s proposed plan from the Realigning Resources for Mission committee: https://www.dioceseoflansing.org/office-bishop/realign-resources-mission
A part of that plan is looking at grouping of parishes throughout the Diocese to make it easier to share resources. These are groupings- not merging and not clustering. The proposed parish grouping we are in is one that is already very familiar. It is Sacred Heart, St. Mary on the Lake, and St. Anthony in Hillsdale. I would include the college ministry at Hillsdale College as well since that is in our area.
In some ways we have already been practicing what is being proposed because we are already working to share resources and work together. Fr. Ginu is serving at all three of our parishes where two priests alone would not be enough to cover the needs of our region. I have been very happy with the cooperation that is already evident with shared programs like our Confirmation program, Youth Group, and other special events like the Women’s Night of Reflection this past summer and the Marriage Retreat coming up this October. For all of these events we advertise them at St. Anthony’s, and St. Anthony’s advertises major events with us. We are so blessed with a staff that works seamlessly together.
One of the major temptations the Realigning Resources for Mission committee is trying to address with these proposals is the temptation to operate as silos- parishes strictly separated. The committee has a vision of what they want each parish in the Diocese to be: “A healthy parish in the Diocese of Lansing is led by a priest who strives for health and holiness, equips and empowers parish staff, makes and forms missionary disciples, and seeks the lost and serves the poor.” We have a shared mission of forming us and helping us live as faithful Christians. Why not do as much together as makes sense, rather than duplicating in that common mission?
This is still a proposal. After presenting it to the Diocese, the committee will be taking feedback and revisiting their proposals. There are elements of it that still need to be defined. I know processing this feedback will help fill in some of those gaps.
Again, I feel like we are already living some of what is being proposed and I consider it a blessing. I think some of what would flow from this grouping is living more intentionally what we are already doing. Please keep all this in prayer and pray that it would help us achieve what that Vision laid out: “A healthy parish in the Diocese of Lansing is led by a priest who strives for health and holiness, equips and empowers parish staff, makes and forms missionary disciples, and seeks the lost and serves the poor.”\