Sunday, May 10, 2015

Making All Things New

"Making All Things New" is the banner under which the Archbishop of New York is merging some parishes.  For the first official document, dated 11.2.2014, please see this link, which itself contains two more links to lists of mergers.  If the link becomes out-of-date, please try
As of mid-February, 2015, the actual canonical degrees may be printed from this link.  On February 13, 2014, the New York Times ran a lengthy article on the delay in public access to the decrees.
On May 8, 2015, the archdiocese released another document concerning the project "Making All Things New."  I have linked the May 8th document here.
The changes are scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2015, but according to the May 8th document some things are still in flux.  I have tried to edit the list as more news comes out.

List 2 tells that certain churches will be used only on special occasions.  The sacraments will not be offered there on a regular basis.  August, 2015, is the goal date.
Nativity of Our Blessed Lady, East 233rd Street and Dyre Avenue.  The parishioners are directed to Holy Rosary, two miles south, but one or two Mount Vernon Catholic parishes appear equidistant.  Nativity school remains open.
Visitation, on Van Cortlandt Park South.  This parish is merged with St. John's, Kingsbridge. Both Visitation school and St. John's school remain open.
St. Ann, Bainbridge Avenue, near Montefiore Hospital.  This parish is merged with St. Brendan on East 206 Street. Both schools, St. Ann and St. Brendan, remain open.
St. Roch, on Wales Avenue, Morrisania.  This parish is merged with St. Anselm, Tinton Avenue. Both are architectural masterpieces.  The stained glass windows of St. Roch provide color and light; St. Anselm's structure is heavy, dark.  It turns out that St. Roch is a personal parish (formerly termed a national parish).  Hence, it seems that St. Anselm gains no new territory.
St. Pius V on East 145 Street, Mott Haven, is merged with St. Rita of Cascia to the west.
St. John Vianney, 0.6 mile from the foot of Castle Hill Avenue, is merged with Holy Family at Watson Avenue another 0.6 mile north on Castle Hill Avenue. The Bx22 bus on the avenue has five trips scheduled each hour on Sunday mornings. Some parishioners probably live a distance east or west of the bus stops. 
On December 14, 2014, The New York Times printed a list of further closings, a list that resembles this undated document on the archdiocesan website.
St. Joseph on Bathgate Avenue would be merged into St. Simon Stock, 0.7 mile to the north.  I note that the 2014 Official Catholic Directory states that St. Joseph parish had 22 students in religious education, while St. Joseph's elementary school across the street had 465 students, a remarkable number, probably as of 2013. The school remains open.
Our Lady of Grace on Bronxwood Avenue would be merged into the parish of St. Frances of Rome (per the May 8th document).  Our Lady of Grace elementary school remains open.
St. Francis of Assisi (Baychester Avenue) and St. Anthony (Wakefield) would be merged into St. Frances of Rome.  However, an almost similar arrangement has been the situation for a few years recently, with one pastor tending to three parishes. With the addition of Our Lady of Grace, he now will tend four parishes, two open on Sundays, two mainly unavailable.  The school at St. Francis of Assisi would remain open.  The small church is attached to the school.
Those are the nine mergers in which one parish is effectively closed for regular worship.
List 1 explains four pairs of mergers in which both churches remain open.  The one with the asterisk is designated the parish church.  I am uncertain about sacramental records, but I suspect that by August, 2015, the priests and the records will be moved to the church with the asterisk.
*St. Margaret of Cortona and St. Gabriel, both on the highland called Riverdale.
*St. Jerome and St. Luke, both on East 138th Street, Mott Haven. However, the May 8th document suggests this may not occur, as a Ghanian Catholic community may share St. Luke's. Also, St. Luke received a new pastor according to the Catholic New York 8.5.2015.
*Holy Family, Watson Avenue, and Blessed Sacrament, Beach Avenue.
*Our Lady of the Assumption, Pelham Bay, and St. Mary Star of the Sea, City Island.
The canonical decrees that were finally released in early February, 2015, have two pages of standard language (a common narrative of events, ignoring particular situations), plus a single page of what-will-happen and where-the-records-will-go.  

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