Dear Sacred Heart Family,
Over the past year, the Diocese of Lansing has been working to align the ownership of its property and assets under Canon Law with the treatment they receive under civil law.
Under Canon Law, every parish is a public “juridic person” with ownership and control of its property and assets subject to the supervision of the Bishop. In order to clearly align the civil law status of the parishes in the Diocese of Lansing with their Canonical status, Bishop Boyea has directed the civil incorporation of each parish in the Diocese. In this way, each parish will be a separate “civil” entity and can own and control its property and assets for the benefit of its parishioners.
As part of the process, the Bishop will be transferring legal ownership of all parish real estate, personal property, and accounts to the “new” parish corporation. All pastors, parish staff and committees will continue to function as before. Neither the pastor’s nor the Bishop’s authority or responsibilities will be enlarged or diminished by the new “civil” structure. The names of the parishes will not change, with the exception of adding a geographic designation for identification purposes and the formal legal paperwork (essentially the name and city where the parish is located will be added to the parish name).
As a civil corporation, each parish will have its own Board of Directors. The Board will have three members consisting of the Bishop, the Diocese Chief Financial Officer, and the pastor. The pastor will also take on the role of “president and chief executive officer” of the parish corporation – a role he currently has as pastor under Cannon Law.
A pilot set of parishes made this transition to the civil model last year without issue. This process was recently completed in January for both Sacred Heart and St Mary on the Lake with the signing of separate Articles of Incorporation for each parish. All parishes in the Diocese will similarly transition to the civil parish corporation structure in the coming months.
If you have any questions on the parish corporation structure, please feel free to contact me or Deacon John.
May you have a Blessed week!