Dear Friends in Lord,
As you know, the Catholic family of the Archdiocese of New York has for the last five years been engaged in an extensive pastoral planning process, Making All Things New. This process intensified over the past fourteen months, as we asked even more specifically for the input of our Catholic faithful, through parish clusters, for their assistance in helping plan for our future. Thanks to all of you who were part of it.
We listened to your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions; we evaluated all the material and input presented by our parish clusters; and we sought the recommendations of others as well, such as an advisory board comprised of clergy, religious women and men, and members of the faithful from the nineteen vicariates (deaneries) of the archdiocese; our archdiocesan pastoral council; the college of consultors; our auxiliary bishops; key staff members; and the priests’ council.
Today we have announced the decisions on parish mergers that I have made based on the recommendations that have been presented to me.
As parishioners of the Archdiocese of New York, I want you personally to know what is going on and to be the first to know when I have an important announcement like the one today. I will use this communication channel on a limited basis when I feel there is something you should hear straight from me. This will also help your pastor reach you more effectively when he needs to. You can, of course, opt out of these at any time.
If you would like to read the full press release that we will be issuing to the media today, you can do so here. It is available in both English and Spanish, and has a list of the parishes that are involved.
The goal of Making All Things New was simple: to ensure that all of our parishes are active, vibrant communities of faith. With your continued help, I know that we will be successful in our efforts.
With prayerful best wishes for a blessed fall, Thanksgiving, and Advent, I am,
Faithfully in Christ,
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
The Cluster Group phase will soon be completed, each subcommittee met twice to consider one of the four topic areas of Making All Things New: Sacramental Life, Effective Administration, Evangelization and Catechesis and Stewardship and Outreach. Our Parish Core Team had at least one member on each subcommittee. At the full cluster group meeting on February 8th, each subcommittee's points were considered and then formed into a series of recommendations. These recommendations will be sent to the Reid Group during the last week of February. The Reid Group is the consulting firm that has set up and is monitoring the Making All Things New process. They will get back to us within a few days with their input and then the cluster group will finalize the recommendations. These will then be sent to the Archdiocesan Advisory Group by March 1st. All the recommendations we are proposing will initiate or increase collaborative activity among all the parishes so that the spiritual and temporal life of each parish and the cluster group in general will be enriched. The Advisory Group will consider the recommendations and get back to us with their input by March 31st. At that point, the cluster group will begin the Conversation and Response phase of the project which is to be completed by June 1st. During this phase, the Core Team intends to hold a town hall meeting so that the parishioners will get some idea of what is being proposed. Once the cluster group sends in its response, the Archdiocesan Advisory Group will draw up its final recommendations by June 30th and send them to Cardinal Dolan. The Cardinal will announce his decisions in September.
A 40 person Archdiocesan Advisory Group has been established from all regions of the Archdiocese and will review the recommendations now being prepared by the 368 parishes. The 75 parish clusters have been working since September 2013 to examine all aspects of parish life and recommend the changes they feel need to be made. Final recommendations will be presented to Cardinal Dolan in June. The pastoral leadership, clergy and laity are resolved to work together. In March the Clusters and Parish Core Teams will have submitted their reports.
The Archdiocese of New York has been blessed with many parishes which have served millions of people for more than 200 years. Now, given changing demographics, the increasing needs of the parishioners, the anticipation of fewer priests to serve the archdiocese, diminishing resources, and the fact that the archdiocese has more parishes than are needed in some areas and may need to add and/or strengthen parishes in other areas, we are called to consolidate resources so that we can truly and in the best way possible meet the needs of Catholics who are longing to be nurtured by the richness of the Church’s sacraments and traditions.
As we look to the future, new models for parishes are needed. Clusters are being asked to consider models related to the best ways to serve the Catholics in the archdiocese. An overall principle of Making All Things New is that parishes are more effective if they work together in ministry areas. It is envisioned that every parish community will collaborate with other parish communities where appropriate and feasible.
The Archdiocese of New York has announced the creation of a 40 person Archdiocesan Advisory Group, as part of the next stage in its pastoral planning process, Making All Things New, an archdiocesan wide initiative for its parishes and people to help shape the future of the Catholic Church here in the archdiocese. The Archdiocesan Advisory Group, which consists of 20 lay and religious members and 20 clergy from all regions of the archdiocese, will review the recommendations that are now being prepared by the 368 parishes in 75 parish clusters. The parishes and parish clusters have been working since September 2013 to examine all aspects of parish life and recommend the changes they feel need to be made. These parish cluster recommendations will be carefully studied by the Advisory Group, with the possibility of further modification and input from the clusters, before final recommendations are presented to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, in June 2014.
MAKING ALL THINGS NEW
ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH
Parish Core Group
Dear Fellow Parishioners:
Our Parish Core Group for "Making All Things New" met with our Pastoral Area 6 Ulster Group in December. At that time, each parish was placed in a cluster group to discuss our parish surveys and determine plans for the future. Our cluster group includes our parish, St. Mary's in Kingston, St. Peter's in Kingston, Immaculate Conception in Kingston, Presentation Church in Port Ewen, Sacred Heart in Esopus and St. Peter's in Rosendale. We have formed sub-committees to discuss each criteria area that was included in the parish survey. Those four major areas include Sacramental Life of the Parish, Catholic Schools and Lifelong Religious Education, Stewardship and Outreach and Effective Administration. All of these sub-committees met and discussed issues that pertained to their specific criteria area. On January 7, 2014, the entire cluster group met here at St. Joseph's and each sub-committee presented a report. During the month of January, the sub-committees will meet again to discuss specific plans for the future. This will be developed into a comprehensive plan which will be sent to the Archdiocese of New York in February. Our St. Joseph's Parish Core Group will continue to share information with you during this evaluation process. Specific details of this process as well as further reports will be shared with you within the next few weeks.
This weekend, we are asking you to complete the Ballot forms for St. Joseph's Parish Council. Please vote for SIX people and place forms in the collection baskets. Results will be announced at the end of January. Any questions, please call the Parish Office at 338 -1554.
Parish Core Group, Anna Brett, Chair
We read in the Acts of the Apostles how the first Christians planned the best ways to evangelize, preach the Gospel, celebrate the sacraments, and organize the communities of faith. The mission of the Church, then and now, is precisely the same: the salvation of souls. This mission is accomplished as the Church and her members proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God and, with the help of God’s Grace, witness to that coming by the quality and character of their lives. Since the beginning of the Church in New York 205 years ago, we have been committed to this very same mission. The proclamation of the mission, the carrying out of Jesus’ mandate to “Go, and make disciples” has been influenced by the signs of the times, and the Church in New York has always adapted to changing situations, while at the same time proclaiming the fullness of the Gospel message and the dignity of each and every human person. There has been a constancy in mission and service that has inspired millions and renewed the Church for the better time after time.
~Timothy Cardinal Dolan