WHY IS THIS PARISH TRANSITION PROJECT NECESSARY?
The status quo regarding parish life in the 235 current parishes in the Archdiocese of Newark is no longer sustainable. A Task Force was commissioned to study parish life throughout the four-county area in 2002. In the final report provided to Archbishop Myers in 2003, the Task Force stated:
"At this moment in time the above recommendations are an effort to address immediate difficult situations. . . The Task Force has come to the realization that each recommendation is difficult. Each new direction impacts many individuals with emotional ties to an established structure. The Task Force also sees the need to exercise stewardship with the limited resources that are available to the parish and the Archdiocese. It is in light of what a parish is called to be in this particular geographic area and in recognition of limited resources that the Task Force makes its recommendations."
In announcing the beginning of a process of conversation and decision-making moving toward implementation by all ministers and parishioners impacted by the proposed realignment of parishes, the Archbishop emphasized that no final decisions have been made on any of the recommendations of the Task Force.
Archbishop Myers has stated:
We approach these recommendations with a high degree of sensitivity to the cultural identity of each parish and its parishioners. In addition, we must be concerned most of all with the spiritual health and vitality of each parish as outlined by the 28 Principles. I believe that in order to grow and thrive, some parishes will need to merge or link with others for the sake of the spiritual health of the people, and so that we can realize our mission as a Church more effectively.
As good stewards, we have an obligation to search out and implement the best options for parish organization consistent with these realities and the needs of our Catholic people.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS FOR THIS PARISH TRANSITION PROJECT?
The New Energies Parish Transition Project for the Archdiocese of Newark is inspired by the following six goals.
1. To enhance quality parish life, both territorial and national, throughout the Archdiocese.
2. To support increased understanding of and action on the 28 principles related to quality parish life in the areas of Spiritual Life, Educational & Formational Life, Service Life, Parish Community Life, Administrative Life, and Pastoral Life;
3. To strengthen the presence and ministry of the Church in urban and suburban areas;
4. To increase collaboration between and among leaders, parishes and the whole Archdiocese of Newark;
5. To act as good stewards of all human, financial and facility resources;
6. To build a greater sense of unity within the rich ethnic, cultural and age diversity present within the local Church.
The achievement of these desired outcomes will result in significant “new energies” within the Archdiocese of Newark as well as in the capacity of Catholic parishes and individual Catholics to move forward more confidently into the future.
HOW WERE THESE PARISHES SELECTED?
The Task Force identified parishes from all four counties as meeting one or more of the following criteria:
28 Parish Principles which examine viability of a parish;
Proximity of parishes to each other;
Weekend liturgies with total attendance of 500 or fewer parishioners;
Poor fiscal condition of the parish;
Decreasing number of priests;
Aging facilities requiring capital improvements;
Total population of parish community decreasing;
Stewardship of Archdiocesan resources (personnel, property, finances).
To read more, please go to: http://rcan.org/offices-and-ministries/new-energies-project