In the early twentieth century the Polish-American Catholic community in Lansing, Michigan, initially consolidated within the parish that would become Saint Mary Cathedral. There, sermons were preached in the Polish language and the faithful received the ministrations of the Church in keeping with the patrimony they brought from the land of their ancestors. From these beginnings, this community was established as a mission in October 1920 and was soon elevated to parochial status in September 1921 and placed under the patronage of Saint Casimir. In subsequent generations, many people have heard the Word of God, have worshiped, and have received the sacraments of the Church in Saint Casimir Parish. Now, in an effort to strengthen the preaching 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 decreasing number of priests available to provide pastoral care, the assistance of the sacraments, or the celebration of divine worship; an inability to continue to provide for the catechetical needs of the children, youth, and adults of the parish; financial unsustainability; and the demographic shift of Catholics away from the parish. At the same time, we recognize that Saint Casimir is geographically close to other parishes in the city of Lansing, 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 weekly 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 November 17 and 19, 2019.
Thus, a petition of the Saint Casimir Parish Council, dated March 2, 2020, signed by Very Reverend Karl Pung, Administrator of St. Casimir Parish, and the council members, was presented to me, having likewise consulted the Presbyteral Council on May 5, 2020, and listened to the Diocesan Pastoral Council on May 28, 2020, 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 Casimir Parish in Lansing, Michigan, and Saint Mary Cathedral Parish in Lansing, Michigan shall form one territorial parish, with the resulting extinctive union of the present Saint Casimir Parish. This shall take effect at midnight at the end of Sunday, August 2, 2020. The consolidated parish shall include the membership of the present Saint Mary Cathedral Parish and the former Saint Casimir Parish, and the current Saint Mary Cathedral Church edifice shall be the place of worship for the unified parish community. The edifice of the former Saint Casimir Parish will be relegated to profane, but not sordid use. The new boundaries of Saint Mary Cathedral Parish shall include the current boundaries of Saint Casimir Parish, in addition to the current boundaries of Saint Mary Cathedral Parish.
- That the consolidated parish shall retain the name of Saint Mary Cathedral Parish, the cathedral church shall likewise retain its formal title, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
- That the Very Reverend Karl Pung 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 Sunday, August 2, 2020, 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 Casimir 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 Casimir 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 Casimir Parish with Saint Mary Cathedral Parish is the termination of the juridic personality of the former Saint Casimir 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 Casimir Parish and Saint Mary Cathedral 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 Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, that is, Saturday, July 4, 2020 and Sunday, July 5, 2020. 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 Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, the 29th day of June, in the year of our Lord, 2020.
Most Reverend Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing
Mr. Michael Andrews