New Project Protects Parish Rights
Nine months ago, the FutureChurch Leadership Council unanimously agreed to a new project designed to provide support and resources for parishioners facing the loss of their vibrant parish communities because our institutional leaders have not yet welcomed all the priestly vocations God is sending us.
In December, FutureChurch received grant funding from two Catholic foundations for our new Save Our Parish Community project. The resource provides educational and organizing resources to faith communities discerning an appropriate response to diocesan decisions to close or merge their vibrant, solvent, and apostolically effective parish. It also educates about effective diocesan processes inviting parishioner involvement in deciding the future of their parish. (For a fine model see http://www.dioceseofcleveland.org/vibrantparishlife/)
The first phase of the project is a “Crisis Kit” which is now available for free downloading from the FutureChurch website (www.futurechurch.org). The kit contains immediate information viable parish communities need when faced with unwanted closure. It includes good and bad reasons to close parishes, how to seek immediate canonical redress, information about protecting parish rights, prayer and media resources, and where to get immediate help and support.
The second phase of the project, available in the early fall, is a comprehensive education/advocacy resource packet containing more extensive information about canonical and civil redress, biblical, theological and canonical essays about early faith communities and a parish’s right to exist, a sample parish discernment process, information about parish administrators, deacons and lay ministers, information about the experiences of parishes who resisted closure, a sample parish constitution, prayers to use when your parish is closed, prayers to use for parish vigils as well as organizing and media tools.
It is important that we become knowledgeable about our rights and responsibilities for keeping our parishes vibrant and vital in a time of fewer priests. If you would like to be notified when the education/advocacy packet becomes available for purchase, email firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, download the “crisis kit” from our website (at no cost) or send $2.00 to our offices and we will send you hard copy.