Update on the Parish Merging Exploratory Committee
The Exploratory Committee met most recently on August 30th, and again on October 4th. These have been positive meetings and the group works well together and addresses issues candidly. Most of the discussion in these last two meetings has centered on the question of what we can do as a single parish community that we cannot do separately. So far, the committee has proposed the following as benefits of a possible merger:
Having a unified vision and mission for the future for a larger newly formed Catholic community: together seeking to become more committed disciples of the Lord.
Pooling our resources (people, ideas, money, etc.), we should be able to do more, and more efficiently. E.g., coordinating larger parish fundraising and social events, and having a larger volunteer pool for Pastoral and Finance Council subcommittees.
Sharing a single staff: pastor, administrative assistant, finance person, director of evangelization and catechesis to oversee a Religious Education program in one or more locations, as well as coordinate youth engagement events, maintenance person(s).
Greater pastor involvement and oversight, especially in catechesis and evangelization. E.g., it is easier to have direct oversight and involvement in one centrally organized Religious Education program (even if separate locations are maintained) than to have three completely distinct programs.
Sense of belonging to one parish community even while attending Mass at different churches.
If three separate parishes remain, we would still have to face the greater likelihood of one or more of them closing in the future if they are not sufficiently supported by the decreasing number of practicing parishioners.
Having discussed both the benefits and challenges of merging, the committee will begin to work on making proposals for an organizational structure to implement if the parishes decide to merge.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the merging process, don’t hesitate to ask any of the committee members, or Fr. Burish. Committee members include: Judy Carlson (AU), Mary Strigel (AU), Jeremy Karaliunas (AU), Mary Bauer (AU), Pete Mancl (HE), Julie Trudeau (HE), Jerry Litwaitis (HE), Al Ashbeck (BL), Dale Marth (BL), Terri Hamus (BL), Randy Dorshorst (BL)