Together in Faith is a process through which parishes and Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese will assess their ministries and resources in the context of their communities and in collaboration with their neighboring parishes and Catholic schools. Due to shifting population and a shortage of priests, some parishes may ultimately closure, merge or cluster.
We are currently in the second phase of the planning process. Four to five lay leaders from each parish are meeting in regional planning groups over the course of this year. All parishes are again examining their sacramental activity, finances, and demographic projections. They are being asked to reflect on the hopes and dreams of their Catholic community, and how to best reach their goals.
This second phase of Together in Faith is necessary because the economy has worsened, the regional population has shifted, and several parishes continue to struggle with limited human and financial resources. When Together in Faith began its implementation in 2001, few could have anticipated the current state of the local economy and real estate market. Since 2005, 29 parishes in the archdiocese have clustered, merged, or closed.
Archbishop Vigneron was quoted in The Michigan Catholic on January 14, 2011 as stating that “Together in Faith Phase II has no pre-determined outcome. It is my hope that innovative, new models will emerge to serve the current and future needs of our communities, and to help the Church fulfill her mission.”
After the planning groups submit their initial plans to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in July of 2011, the APC will forward its recommendations in December to Archbishop Vigneron for his review and implementation.
More detailed information is available at www.aodonline.org.