View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gates Clustering: Part 2

The Gates/Chili clustering plan was officially unveiled at church this morning. It was as internet leaks said: St. Theodore's and St. Pius will remain as individual parishes for now, and St. Helen's, St. Jude's and Holy Ghost will cluster as of next June with two priests: A pastor and a parochial vicar.

Father spoke briefly about it at the announcements, and I also nosed around (the reporter in me) after Mass.

The vote on the committee for the plan was unanimous, so representatives from all the parishes apparently bought into it.

But will Father Mike and Father Eloo - pastor of St. Jude's and administrator of St. Helen's respectively - be the two priests in the cluster?

First, the two positions will be open for applicants, so they could choose not to apply, or someone else may apply and be picked over them (though, pastorally, I think that would make little sense).

Further, Father Eloo is not incardinated in our diocese. He is still officially a priest of a Kenyan diocese. He could request to be incardinated and then he could be assigned to the cluster, but he could just as easily not apply to be so. After all, the U.S. is not his home. Maybe he has ties in Kenya to draw him back. If he is not incardinated, his home diocese could also just call him back to Kenya at some point.

Second, once the three parishes are clustered, the pattern in previous clusterings has been for the parishes to merge into one parish. A cluster can only have three parishes maximum, but if they merge into one parish with three worship sites, then they could have a fourth worship site as well. Thus St. Theodore's or St. Pius could come into the mix in a few years.

The plan still has to be finalized and submitted to the diocese, and Bishop Clark has to approve it. There are still other circumstances that could interfere as well. But at least we have an idea where things are going at this point.


Anonymous Richard said...

I can't find the reference right now, but at an Eucharistic Conference in Guadalajara a couple years back (just before JP-II died), there was serious consideration given to the question of whether the sacraments could be administered electronically.

My friend Esther, over in Veracruz State, has an interesting post on some other interactive outreach programs being used by the Church in Mexico. (

And, at least in suburban Rochester, all your churches have electricity.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Some of that may be permitted already.

I do know that Mass for shut-ins has been around for a long time for the people who can't get to Mass due to illness or some legitimate cause. Communion can be brought home to them by relatives or Eucharistic ministers. Masses by television, radio, even the internet for people in remote regions where there are not priests is already available

Other sacraments? I can imagine a Confession could be done over a phone or radio under the right circumstances (thought I don't know the rules on this one). Marriage? Maybe, again, perhaps under the right circumstances.

But, back to the topic at hand, even with closing parishes there are so many parishes around here still that except for unusual circumstances (like someone who is too ill to get to Mass, or is taking care of someone) there would be no reason why a Gates resident could not get to Mass. I'm an overweight 54-year-old, but there are five different Catholic churches within a 30-45 minute WALK from my home if my car broke down.

9:36 AM  

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