Last Monday evening a meeting was held in our Parish Center with the first halting steps being taken in the journey toward collaboration between St. Anthony Parish and St. Mary Parish in Hull. Directed by representatives of the Archdiocese, the meeting was composed of members of the Parish Pastoral Committees, the Finance Committees and the staffs of the two parishes and was in compliance with the directives in the document "Disciples in Mission" about which we have spoken in the past. This document, addressing the declining number of mass attendees and the diminishing number of new priests devised a plan of two or more parishes collaborating into one new parish with one administration, but each parish retaining its own identity, its own finances and finance committees, but sharing one parish pastoral committee. Father Mark Derrane, administrator of St. Mary Parish and I welcomed the sixty or so attendees to the meeting and then we were summarily excused from the group so that those in attendance could be free in their views, their thoughts, complaints and visions for the new parish and pastor which will be established beginning June 1st.
The diocese was divided into seven phases originally, although three more phases were added, consisting mostly of single parishes. Once the announcement was made that our parish was in Phase 7, any priest interested in being considered for Pastor could apply to the Cardinal. All names submitted would be "vetted" (I think that's the new word), and given to the Cardinal. He will make the final decision and the names of the new pastors in Phase 7 will probably be announced around Valentine's Day. Please keep the plans and the future for the collaborative parish in your prayers and ask God to watch over our two parishes which will become one collaborative parish.
Fr John R. Mulvehill