Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia
Merger of Saint Peter the Apostle Parish in Blissfield, Michigan, And Saint Alphonsus Parish in Deerfield, Michigan; Establishment of Light of Christ Parish
Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, located in the southeastern corner of Lenawee County, has served the Catholic faithful of Blissfield, Michigan, as a territorial parish since 1910. Saint Alphonsus Parish served the Catholic faithful of Deerfield, Michigan, as a parish since 1864. During that time, many people have heard the Word of God, have worshiped and 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 Lenawee 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 territorial parish of Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, Blissfield, Michigan, and the territorial parish of Saint Alphonsus Parish, Deerfield, be merged to form a new parish as of midnight on June 30, 2010. Both Saint Peter the Apostle Church and its parish complex and St Alphonsus Church and its parish complex will remain open to provide for the spiritual needs of the merged parish. The new parish administration will be located at the Saint Alphonsus Church complex as of the same date.
- Having received the recommendations of the parishioners for a name of the merged parish, I hereby name the parish: Light of Christ Parish. The feast day of the parish will be celebrated on the Solemnity of the Epiphany in which Christ is revealed as a “light to all peoples”.
- That Light of Christ Parish, including both churches, i.e., Saint Alphonsus Church, Deerfield, and Saint Peter the Apostle Church, Blissfield, make suitable provision for the faithful, providing for their pastoral care and meeting their pastoral needs. Light of Christ Parish shall include the membership of the present Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, Blissfield, and the membership of the present Saint Alphonsus Parish, Deerfield. Both church edifices shall be the places of worship of Light of Christ Parish community to meet the pastoral needs of the parish. The new boundaries of Light of Christ Parish shall reflect the merged boundaries of Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, Blissfield, and Saint Alphonsus Parish, Deerfield.
- That Father John Loughran, OSFS, the current pastor of Saint Alphonsus Parish and Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, will serve as the first pastor of Light of Christ Parish. 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 reasonable proximity of the worship communities and the churches, 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 Peter the Apostle Parish, Blissfield, and Saint Alphonsus Parish, Deerfield, containing the records of baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, marriage and deaths along with parish records and historical documents are to be forwarded to the Light of Christ Parish Offices located at Saint Alphonsus Church. 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 Peter the Apostle Parish and Saint Alphonsus Parish and their adjoining complexes 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 Alphonsus Parish and of the former Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, will become the assets and liabilities of the juridic person of Light of Christ Parish. Furthermore, ownership of all ecclesiastical goods and all objects of artistic or historical value belonging to the former Saint Peter the Apostle Parish and Saint Alphonsus Parish will be transferred to Light of Christ Parish and will be administered in accordance with the prescriptions of Church law.
The effect of the merger (unio extinctiva) of Saint Peter the Apostle Parish, Blissfield, and Saint Alphonsus Parish, Deerfield, is the termination of the juridic personality of the former Saint Alphonsus Parish and Saint Peter the Apostle Parish which it now possesses by law. Thus, neither Saint Alphonsus Parish nor Saint Peter the Apostle Parish will be subjects 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 as of midnight on June 30, 2010.
I also direct that this decree be given to the pastor of Saint Alphonsus Parish and Saint Peter the Apostle 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) on the weekend of May 22, 2010, 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.