Several years ago the Archdiocese of Milwaukee began planning for the priest shortage anticipated in the coming years. The results of this planning yielded a document called Vision 21st Century – also known as the Archdiocesan 2020 Plan. On the weekend of April 20th-21st, members of the committee will be sharing this plan and where they are in the process of implementing it.
The Vision 21 document starts out as follows:
There are three principal factors which will impact parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee over the next decade:
- From 2010 to 2020, the number of priest retirements will exceed ordinations resulting in a projected 40% reduction in the number of priests serving in parish ministry.
- The costs of operating parishes and funding ministries are escalating rapidly and parishes can gain economies of scale by collaborating with other parishes.
- The one mission of the Church, shared by all parishes, can be carried out more effectively by combining efforts and sharing resources.
This document is also based on certain assumptions:
- All current parishes will continue to operate as separate parishes or as partners in clusters unless a parish petitions the Archbishop to merge with another parish or parishes. (There has been no discussion to petition the Archbishop to merge our parishes)
The definitions of collaboration and cluster need to be clearly understood:
- Collaboration is “the willing cooperation of two or more entities to work together on common projects for mutual benefit.” All parishes, regardless of size, should explore ways of providing the most effective ministries by working with other parishes or clusters.
- A cluster is “a grouping of geographically bordering parishes working together on a shared vision and ministry plan.” Clustering involves collaboration but is a formal relationship between parishes leading to the sharing of personnel, ministries, programs and resources.
We are here this morning to talk about the collaboration in our cluster of parishes, St. Charles, St. Joseph and St. Mary.
Over the past year, the leadership of your parish, along with St. Mary’s and St. Charles Parishes, has been meeting regularly to talk about the future of our greater Catholic community here in Lyons, Burlington and the surrounding area. We recognized that we could spread the Good News of Jesus together much better than alone.
For years we’ve worked together successfully on many ministries. Last month parish leaders met, along with our three pastors, to see where the Holy Spirit was leading us in our journey. The result of that retreat was a Tri-Parish Covenant that essentially is a commitment from each parish to the shared work of the Holy Spirit. Our pastors have endorsed this Covenant and our Pastoral Councils have affirmed it.
The benefit of this collaboration between our parishes has been and will continue to be:
- To explore ways to share resources in the spirit of good stewardship
- To explore ways to work together to spread the ‘good news’ of Jesus in the Archdioceses ‘new’ Evangelization
- To strengthen and expand our Tri-Parish Youth Ministry, such as ‘Life Teen’, to include more youth and age groups.
- To better understand and appreciate our unified support of our Hispanic Ministry
We are in a very blessed situation. We have three unique, independent, healthy parishes all working to celebrate Christ and share His teachings. We move forward respecting each other’s unique identity working together to serve our greater Catholic community.
We ask for your prayers as our three parishes continue to work together. Thank you.
This covenant was created in 2013 to enrich our parishes and to serve as a vibrant sign of Catholic presence in our communities and beyond.
In an ad hoc capacity, the Trustees and Pastoral Council chairs of St. Charles Borromeo, Immaculate Conception (St. Mary) and St. Joseph Parishes will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to carry out the covenant. With the endorsement of the pastors and affirmation of the Pastoral Council, we will support this covenant to continually explore ways to work together and to implement Archdiocesan vision.
Below is the link to the Archdiocese website for more information on the Vision 21st Century-2020 Plan