May 30, 2014

Archbishop Tobin announces changes for Indianapolis deaneries; three parishes to close

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin speaks during a May 21 press conference held at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis in which he announced decisions regarding the Connected in the Spirit planning process for the four metropolitan Indianapolis deaneries. Archdiocesan chancellor Annette “Mickey” Lentz, right, looks on during the press conference. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin speaks during a May 21 press conference held at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis in which he announced decisions regarding the Connected in the Spirit planning process for the four metropolitan Indianapolis deaneries. Archdiocesan chancellor Annette “Mickey” Lentz, right, looks on during the press conference. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Speaking on May 21 in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis before some 300 clergy and lay Catholics from across the metropolitan Indianapolis area, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin announced a series of decisions that will affect the 47 parishes of the four Indianapolis deaneries.

As a result, three parishes in Indianapolis will be closed and merged with nearby parishes.

Holy Cross Parish will be closed and merged with St. Philip Neri Parish. Holy Cross Central School, which is a part of the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies, is unaffected and will remain open. Holy Trinity Parish will be closed and merged with St. Anthony Parish. And St. Bernadette Parish will be closed and merged with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

All of these changes will be effective on Nov. 30.

(Related: Parishioners, pastors express sadness over decision to close parishes | Letter from the Archbishop)

The parishes into which the closed parishes will be merged will make recommendations to Archbishop Tobin as to how the facilities of the closed parishes, including its church building, will be used in the future.

The decisions were the result of a 16-month involvement of the deaneries’ pastoral leaders and representatives of its lay members in the Connected in the Spirit planning process.

Archbishop Tobin said the goal of the process was to help parishes “discern where God is leading the Church in central and southern Indiana, and to discuss how the Archdiocese of Indianapolis should change its structures in order to carry out its mission today and in the future.”

Other parishes will be linked together in such a way that they will share a priest, other staff members and create joint programs, ministries and committees. (See a summary of all the changes here)

Two sets of linked parishes in Indianapolis already in existence will continue—Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Patrick parishes, and St. Ann and St. Joseph parishes.

Two more pairs of parishes will become linked effective on July 1. They are Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove and Good Shepherd Parish in Indianapolis, and Holy Angels and St. Rita parishes, both in Indianapolis.

The remaining parishes in the four Indianapolis deaneries will be asked to establish partnerships according to parish groupings, also called cohorts, that were established through Connected in the Spirit.

In these partnerships, parishes will retain their own pastor or sacramental minister, but they may share some staff members and will collaborate in implementing shared programs.

Archbishop Tobin asked all partnered parishes to coordinate Mass schedules, support local Catholic schools and collaborate in new ways in promoting priestly and religious vocations.

Each parish partnership also has specific ministry recommendations.

For example, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joan of Arc and St. Thomas Aquinas parishes will work to establish a joint youth and young adult ministry program, and “identify the best option for Catholic campus ministry at Butler University.”

Our Lady of the Greenwood and SS. Francis and Clare of Assisi parishes, both in Greenwood, will join forces in evangelization efforts and in meeting the growing need for Hispanic ministry in Greenwood.

Archbishop Tobin also announced that the members of Holy Angels Parish in Indianapolis should begin plans to build a new church. Its previous church was demolished in 2012 after decades of weather damage had severely weakened the wooden structure that was built in 1903.

“This decision reflects the commitment of the Archdiocese to the black Catholics of Indianapolis,” Archbishop Tobin said, “as well as our determination to work with people of all faiths for the life, dignity and well-being of the citizens on the near west side of this city.”

Archbishop Tobin also stated that a commission will soon be created to “study the mission” of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral and make recommendations regarding it.

In concluding his remarks, Archbishop Tobin noted the difficulty of implementing the changes brought about through Connected in the Spirit and expressed hope for a bright future for the Church in central and southern Indiana.

“The coming months will bring changes that, to some degree, touch all the faithful of the four deaneries of metropolitan Indianapolis,” Archbishop Tobin said. “I recognize that there will be grief for the members of the three parishes that will close and sincerely regret the pain these decisions will cause.

“While I personally know the anguish that comes when having your home parish closed, since this happened to my own family, I am also certain that God is constantly working through us to advance the work of his Church, leading us through sorrow to new and more abundant life.”
 

(For more information about Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin’s decisions regarding the four Indianapolis deaneries that resulted from the Connected in the Spirit planning process, log on to www.archindy.org/connected.)

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