Divina Miseratione et Apostolicce Sedis Gratia
Decree to Relegate All Saints Oratory, Flint, to Profane but Not Sordid Use
By a decree of July 7, 2016, “Merger of All Saints, a Personal Parish in Flint, with Saint John Vianney, a Territorial Parish in Flint,” the church of the former All Saints Parish was designated as an oratory of Saint John Vianney Parish.
This decree was issued fully in accord with the provisions of law, and its prospect had been anticipated by the extensive consultative study that preceded the promulgation of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan in 2008.
By virtue of canon 1214, however, this edifice possesses the character of a church. Nevertheless, grave causes now require that it be relegated to profane but not sordid use in accord with canon 1222 §2.
A letter of petition, dated February 15, 2017, has been received from the pastor and the parish pastoral council of Saint John Vianney Parish, Flint, serving to request that All Saint Oratory, a sacred edifice belonging to the parish, be relegated to profane but not secular use.
This petition expressed a number of reasons whose existence has been verified after examination:
“The site is no longer needed as the remaining faithful can receive sacraments at the main parish church.”
“The spiritual needs of the faithful are able to be met at the main parochial church.
“Maintaining All Saints site puts the burden of upkeep on St. John Vianney Parish which it cannot sustain.”
The “burden on the priests assigned to the Catholic Community of Flint” was also presented.
The petition was accompanied by a laudable plan, that “Many of the religious objects and stain glass windows of All Saints Parish will be moved to the future All Saints Chapel at Powers Catholic High School. This will allow the memory of the community of faith to live on in the Diocese of Lansing and the Catholic Community of Flint.”
To the reasons above must be added a consideration of the good of the entire diocese, the better utilization of the decreasing number of priests, and the desire to promote the unity of the parish.
Now, the reasons have been evaluated with due consideration of the canons and the letter to ordinaries from Congregation for the Clergy, “Procedural Guidelines for the Modification of Parishes, the Closure or Relegation of Churches to Profane but not Sordid Use, and the Alienation of the Same’ (April 30, 2013).
Cumulatively taken, these reasons present the grave reason to relegate the oratory to profane but not sordid use (cf. can. 1222 §2).
In satisfaction of canon 1222 §2 and attentive to canons 127 and 166, the Presbyteral Council was informed of the situation and its counsel was sought. Its members were polled individually and unanimous support was given for this action (minutes of the Presbyteral Council, March 14, 2017).
This matter was also brought to the Diocesan Pastoral Council at its meeting of March 16, 2017, and the minutes reflect unanimous agreement with this action.
Having judged that sufficient causes exist according to canon 1222 §2, and satisfied that the good of souls will not be impaired, I decree that All Saints Oratory be relegated to profane but not sordid use and closed permanently. It is thus made available for sale, within the provisions of canon and civil law, and with the stipulations that it may not at any time be used for sordid purposes.
I direct that it be notified to the pastoral leadership of Saint John Vianney Parish, and that its contents, especially its dispositive part, be communicated to parishioners of this parish on the weekend of Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11, 2017. This may be accomplished by printing in the parish bulletin, or by posting in a public space of the main parochial church and the oratory.
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 (cf. canon B §2). The “Process to Initiate Recourse against an Administrative Decree” is to be made available as needed and placed at https://www.dioceseoflansing.org/office bishop/process-recourse-against-decree.
Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given with immediate effect at the Curia of the Diocese of Lansing on this the first day of June, in the year of our Lord, 2017.