Merger of St. Mary Parish, Charlotte and St. Ann Quasi-Parish, Bellvue


Divina Miseratione et Apostolicce Sedis Gratia


Merger of Saint Mary Parish in Charlotte, Michigan and Saint Ann Quasi-Parish, Bellevue; Establishment of Saint Ann Oratory, Bellevue, Michigan; Attachment of Saint Ann Oratory to Saint Mary Parish in Charlotte, Michigan

Saint Ann Mission Church was established in 1923, serving the People of God in southern part of Eaton County. In 1995, it was designated as a Quasi-Parish. Saint Mary Church served the Catholic faithful in Charlotte and surrounding communities since 1868. 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 pastoral 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 Lansing 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:

1. That Saint Ann Quasi-Parish, Bellevue, Michigan, be merged (unio extinctiva) with St Mary Parish, Charlotte. Saint Ann Church building and hall will remain. Its administration will consequently be transferred to the Pastor of Saint Mary Parish, effective at midnight at the end of Friday, November 30, 2012

2. That Saint Ann Church edifice be established as an Oratory, according to the provisions of canons 1223 -1225. It shall more commonly be known as Saint Ann Church.

3. That Saint Mary Parish assume the administration of Saint Ann Oratory making suitable provision for the faithful formerly of Saint Ann Quasi-Parish, providing for their pastoral care and meeting their pastoral needs. The consolidated and unified parish shall include the membership of the present Saint Mary Parish and the membership of the former Saint Ann Quasi-Parish. The current Saint Mary Church edifice shall be the primary place of worship of the parish community, with provision made for Sunday (and weekday -insofar as possible) Masses and liturgical rites at Saint Ann Oratory to meet the pastoral needs the Faithful in southern Eaton county, and the nearby village of Olivet, including the faculty, staff and students of Olivet College. The new boundaries of Saint Mary Parish shall incorporate and annex any territory included in the former Saint Ann Quasi-Parish.

4. That Father Francis Mossholder, the current pastor of Saint Mary Parish, will be named as pastor of the consolidated parishes. 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 streamline the pastoral care of central and southern Eaton County, the spiritual welfare of the parish communities, the spread of the Gospel, the promotion of unity among the People of God, the easing of the administrative burdens of the pastor through 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 Millennia 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 December 1, 2012, the parish registers of the former Saint Ann Parish containing the records of baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, marriage and deaths, along with parish records and historical documents, are to be forwarded to Saint Mary Parish. 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 Ann Oratory 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 Ann Quasi-Parish, will become the assets and liabilities of the juridic person of Saint Mary Parish. Furthermore, ownership of all ecclesiastical goods and all objects of artistic or historical value belonging to the former Saint Ann Quasi-Parish will be transferred to Saint Mary Parish and will be administered in accordance with the prescriptions of Church law, with due regard for the intention of donors.

The effect of the merger (unio extinctiva) of Saint Ann Quasi-Parish and Saint Mary Parish is the termination and extinguishing of the juridic personality of the former Saint Ann Quasi-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 in accord with the norm of law.

 I direct that this decree be given to the pastoral leadership of Saint Ann Quasi-Parish and Saint Mary Parish, and that its contents, especially the dispositive part of this decree, be communicated to parishioners on the weekend of November 3 -November 4, 2012. The "Process to Initiate Recourse against an Administrative Decree" is to be made available as necessary. Furthermore, I direct that this decree be published on the website of the Diocese of Lansing ( This publication 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 1st day of November, the Solemnity of All Saints, in the year of our Lord, 2012.