Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia
Suppression of Saint Agnes Parish in Flint, Michigan with the
Consolidation of its territory to St John Vianney Parish in Flint, Michigan
Saint Agnes Parish has served the Catholic faithful on the north side of Flint, Michigan since 1928. Saint John Vianney Parish has served the Catholic faithful of the northwest side of Flint, Michigan since 1941. During that time, many people have heard the Word of God, have worshiped and have received the sacraments of the Church in these 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 Genesee-Owosso 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 consolidated territories of Saint Agnes Parish in Flint, Michigan, and St. John Vianney Parish in Flint, Michigan form one territorial parish with the resulting suppression of the present Saint Agnes Parish. The consolidation shall take effect at midnight at the end of Friday, August 22, 2008. This consolidated parish shall include the membership of the present Saint John Vianney Parish and the former Saint Agnes Parish, and the current Saint John Vianney Church edifice shall be the place of worship for the unified parish community. The new boundaries of Saint John Vianney Parish shall include the current boundaries of Saint Agnes Parish, in addition to the current boundaries of Saint John Vianney Parish.
- That the consolidated parishes consider a new name of the new parish community, but that the name of the current Saint John Vianney Church building will remain unchanged.
- That Father Thomas Firestone will be appointed pastor of the consolidated Catholic community to foster the pastoral care of the new Catholic community, 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 Agnes Parish, 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 August 22, 2008, 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 Agnes 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 Agnes Parish will be transferred to the new Catholic community and will be administered in accordance with the prescriptions of Church law.
The effect of the suppression of Saint Agnes Parish is the termination of the juridic personality of the former Saint Agnes 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 Agnes Parish and Saint John Vianney 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 on the weekend of Saturday, July 19, 2008 and Sunday, July 20, 2008. 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 8th day of July, in the year of our Lord, 2008.