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Archbishop approves merger for four parishes

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Friday, April 2, 2010

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES DEANERY — In a March 25 letter to four Cincinnati parishes, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr informed parishioners of St. Agnes, St. Andrew, St. Mark and St. Martin de Porres that following four years of consultation and study he has approved the merger of those parishes.
“As you know, an executive committee representing your four parishes recommended to me that the parishes merge, becoming one new parish worshiping at the site of the current St. Agnes,” the archbishop wrote.

“After studying both the recommendation and the supporting documents — the fruit of four years of extensive consultation in and among your parishes — I have decided to approve the merger.”

Archbishop Schnurr consulted with the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council about the merger on March 22, and indicated he will be seeking consent of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the Archdiocesan College of Consultors in the coming months.

“Although I believe this long-expected parish consolidation is a necessary move in the face of pastoral and financial realities, I am very much aware that it will be painful for many of you,” Archbishop Schnurr told the members of the four predominantly African-American parishes. “My prayers are with you as you face a future that will look very different than the past.”

A pastoral region executive committee consisting of Precious Blood Father Jerry Steinbrunner, pastor of St. Mary Parish; Precious Blood Brother Hugh Henderson, pastoral associate at St. Mark; Deacon Royce Winters, director of the Office of African-American Catholic Ministries for the archdiocese; Father Thomas DiFolco, pastor of St. Martin de Porres and St. Agnes parishes; and John Jones, volunteer business manager at St. Andrew Parish, presented the archdiocese with a consensus recommendation in early March.

This followed information that went to parishioners in 2007 about the pastoral region, a first recommendation to Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk in 2008; a March 2009 letter to parishioners that updated them on decisions; a vision statement developed by the four parish councils; and other meetings and materials over the course of the past several years.

St. Agnes was determined as the site for the combined parish, which will eventually be given a new name to reflect its new community, because of its location, physical capacity and the condition of the physical plant. No timeframe for the merger has been announced.

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