Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia
Suppression of Saint Joseph the Worker (Personal) Parish, Establishment of Saint Joseph the Worker Oratory, Jackson Attachment of Saint Joseph the Worker Oratory to St John the Evangelist Parish in Jackson
Saint Joseph the Worker Parish has served the Polish Catholic faithful as a personal parish on the north side of Jackson, Michigan, since 1902. Saint John the Evangelist Parish, served the Catholic faithful of the center of Jackson, Michigan, since 1856. During that time, many people have heard the Word of God, have worshiped and have received the sacraments of the Church in their respective parish communities. Now, in an effort to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel and to ensure the vitality of parish life, with concern 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 parishioners of these parishes.
To that end, having asked parishioners to make known their needs and desires, having received the recommendations of the Diocesan Coordinating Commission: Planning Tomorrow’s Churches, under the careful direction of the Office of Pastoral Planning, which reviewed the recommendations of the parishes involved and the Jackson Regional report, and having consulted the Presbyteral Council, and listened to the College of Consultors, the Council of Vicars, received reports from the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Diocesan Finance Council, and in accord with canons 120, §1; 121; and 515, §§2-3 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, I, the undersigned, in virtue of my authority as Bishop of Lansing, hereby decree:
- That the personal parish of Saint Joseph the Worker, Jackson, Michigan, be suppressed. Saint Joseph the Worker Church and parish complex will remain and its administration be transferred to the Pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, effective at midnight at the end of Wednesday, June 30, 2010.
- That Saint Joseph the Worker Church edifice be reduced to an Oratory, according to the provisions of canons 1223 – 1225.
- That Saint John the Evangelist Parish assume the administration of Saint Joseph the Worker Oratory and adjoining complex and make suitable provision for the faithful formerly of Saint Joseph the Worker (Personal) Parish providing for their pastoral care and meeting their pastoral needs. The consolidated parish shall include the membership of the present Saint John the Evangelist Parish and the membership of the former Saint Joseph the Worker (Personal) Parish, to the extent that the parishioners of the former Saint Joseph the Worker (Personal) Parish wish to affiliate. The current Saint John the Evangelist Church edifice shall be the principal place of worship of the parish community, and Saint Joseph the Worker Church will be the auxiliary place of worship for the parish community. Any liturgical rites for the proper functioning of the parish may be celebrated at the Saint Joseph the Worker Oratory to meet the pastoral needs of the faithful, as necessary. The new boundaries of Saint John the Evangelist Parish shall remain unchanged.
- That Father James Shaver, the current pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, remain as pastor. He is to foster the pastoral care of the Catholic faithful entrusted to him, bearing in mind the provision of canon 519.
This decision is based upon a number of factors, among which are the decline in the Catholic worshiping community at Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, the reasonable proximity of the worship communities and the respective church edifices, the desire to avoid duplication of services and the increasing expenses associated with necessary repairs and maintenance to aging structures, the spiritual welfare of the parish communities, the spread of the Gospel, the promotion of unity among the People of God, the enhancement of collaborative ministry and the better utilization of available priest personnel. In light of the challenge of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, this decision is taken to strengthen “the proclamation of Christ to reach people, mould communities, and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture.” (n. 29)
Before June 30, 2010, the parish registers of the former Saint Joseph the Worker (Personal) Parish containing the records of baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, marriage and deaths along with parish records and historical documents are to be forwarded to Saint John the Evangelist Parish where they will be faithfully preserved and maintained in accord with canon 535, §§1-5. Any registers, records and historical documents not needed for continued administration of Saint Joseph the Worker Oratory and the adjoining complex are to be forwarded to the Diocesan Archives. According to the norm of canon 121, all assets and liabilities, whether movable or immovable, of the former Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, will become the assets and liabilities of the juridic person of Saint John the Evangelist Parish. Furthermore, ownership of all ecclesiastical goods and all objects of artistic or historical value belonging to Saint Joseph the Worker (Personal) Parish will be transferred to Saint John the Evangelist Parish and will be administered in accordance with the prescriptions of Church law.
The effect of the suppression (unio extinctiva) of Saint Joseph the Worker Parish is the termination of the juridic personality of the former Saint Joseph the Worker 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 Joseph the Worker Parish and Saint John the Evangelist Parish, and that its contents, especially the dispositive part of this decree, along with the “Process to Initiate Recourse against an Administrative Decree” be communicated to parishioners of both parishes on the weekend of Saturday, May 22, 2010 and Sunday, May 23, 2010. I further direct that this decree be published on the website of the Diocese of Lansing (www.dioceseoflansing.org) which will be presumed the official notification of this action.
Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at the Curia of the Diocese of Lansing on this the 1st day of May, in the year of our Lord, 2010, the Memorial of St Joseph the Worker.