With solicitude for the care of souls, my predecessor, the Most Reverend Joseph Albers, the first Bishop of Lansing, in August 1953 requested of the Reverend Luke M. Powers, O.S.A., pastor of Saint Matthew Parish, Flint, that a survey of the Catholic faithful in the vicinity of West Court Street and West Corunna Road be taken to determine the number of Catholics and to invite them to make known their spiritual and pastoral needs. From these beginnings, this community was canonically erected on June 29, 1955 and placed under the patronage of Pope Saint Pius X, with its church being dedicated by Bishop Albers on September 23, 1956. In subsequent generations, many people have heard the Word of God, have worshiped, and have received the sacraments of the Church in Saint Pius X Parish. Now, in an effort to strengthen the proclamation of the Gospel and to ensure the vitality of parish life, with concern for the salvation of souls, for the best stewardship of resources, and the right of the People of God to receive assistance from the Church, especially the Word of God, spiritual sustenance, and the sacraments, it is necessary to make new provisions for the spiritual care of the faithful of this parish.
This decision is based upon a number of grave circumstances. These include the demographic shift of Catholics away from the parish, financial unsustainability, and the decreasing number of priests available to provide pastoral care, the assistance of the sacraments, or the celebration of divine worship. At the same time, we recognize that Saint Pius X Parish is geographically close to other parishes in the city of Flint and in surrounding communities, and that the faithful will be able to approach the sacraments and participate in the full life of the Church without any undue burden. Indeed, this action is motivated principally by concern for souls (Christus Dominus, no. 32) and is required for the good of the faithful (Apostolorum Successores, no. 214).
To that end, information regarding the future of this parish has been consistently communicated to parishioners in the parish bulletin, on the parish website, and at announcements during weekend Masses. To inform parishioners on the state of the parish, and to encourage them to make known their needs and desires, and to receive the insights of the faithful regarding a possible extinctive union, parish meetings were held on June 22, 2022 and May 10, 2023.
Thus, a petition of the Saint Pius X Parish Council, dated October 10, 2023, signed by the Reverend Anthony Strouse, Pastor of St. Pius X Parish, and the council members, as well as a petition by the Saint Pius X Finance Council, dated October 24, 2023, were presented to me, and having likewise consulted the Presbyteral Council on November 7, 2023, in observance of canons 120, §1; 121; and 515, §§2-3 of the Code of Canon Law, and with no harm coming to the good of souls and indeed for the spiritual benefit of the faithful, and all the requirements of canons 50, 51, 127, 166, and 515, having been fulfilled, I, the undersigned, in virtue of my authority as Bishop of Lansing, do hereby decree:
That the territories of Saint Pius X Parish in Flint, Michigan, and Saint Matthew Parish in Flint, Michigan, shall form one territorial parish, with the resulting extinctive union of the present Saint Pius X Parish. This shall take effect at midnight at the end of Saturday, January 20, 2024. The consolidated parish shall include the membership of the present Saint Matthew Parish and the former Saint Pius X Parish, and the current Saint Matthew Church edifice shall be the place of worship for the unified parish community. The edifice of the former Saint Pius X Parish will be relegated to profane, but not sordid use. The new boundaries of Saint Matthew Parish shall include the current boundaries of Saint Pius X Parish, in addition to the current boundaries of Saint Matthew Parish.
That the consolidated parish shall retain the name of Saint Matthew Parish, Flint.
That the Reverend Anthony Strouse shall be pastor of the consolidated Catholic community to foster the pastoral care of the new Catholic community, bearing in mind the provision of canon 519.
Before Saturday, January 20, 2024, the parish registers containing the records of baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, marriage, and deaths, along with all parish records and historical documents, are to be forwarded to the Diocesan Archives where they will be faithfully preserved and maintained in accord with canon 535, §§1-5. According to the norm of canon 121, all assets and liabilities, whether movable or immovable, of Saint Pius X Parish will become the assets and liabilities of the consolidated Catholic community. Furthermore, ownership of all ecclesiastical goods and all objects of artistic or historical value belonging to Saint Pius X Parish will be transferred to the new Catholic community and will be administered in accordance with the prescriptions of ecclesiastical law.
The effect of the extinctive union of Saint Pius X Parish with Saint Matthew Parish is the termination of the juridic personality of the former Saint Pius X Parish, which it now possesses by law. Thus, it will no longer be a subject of obligations and rights in canon law corresponding to its nature as a juridic person, nor will it be capable of acquiring, retaining, administering, or alienating temporal goods according to the norm of law.
I direct that this decree be given to the pastoral leadership of Saint Pius X Parish and Saint Matthew Parish, and that its contents, especially the dispositive part of this decree, be communicated in an appropriate manner to parishioners on the weekend of the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, that is, Saturday, November 18, 2023. This may be effected by posting this decree in a public space of each church. The “Process to Initiate Recourse against an Administrative Decree” is to be made available as needed. I further direct that this decree be published on the website of the Diocese of Lansing (www.dioceseoflansing.org) which will be presumed to be the official notification of this action.
Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at the Curia of the Diocese of Lansing on this, the memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious, the 17th day of November in the year of our Lord 2023.
Most Reverend Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing
Mr. Michael Andrews