Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski is expected to announce parish changes on Pentecost weekend, May 28, 16 months after the start of the All Things New pastoral planning initiative. Pastors are asked to read a statement from the archbishop detailing the decision regarding their parish and priest assignments at Saturday vigil Masses on May 27 and Sunday Masses on May 28. Priest assignments will be published online May 27 at stlouisreview.com. The plans will be implemented later in the year.
Why is All Things New necessary?
The goal of All Things New is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Church in St. Louis in proclaiming the Gospel and identifying opportunities for improvement and renewal within all parishes, schools and curia offices and agencies and other ministries.
“All Things New has allowed us to ask ourselves what our parishes, ministries and institutions need to look like in order to effectively share the faith in a way that is suitable and sustainable for our children and generations to come,” Archbishop Rozanski said. “We have evaluated the effectiveness of the Church in St. Louis in proclaiming the Gospel and considered what opportunities exist for improvement and renewal within all parishes, schools and curia offices and agencies.”
Four primary areas were considered when creating draft models for the future restructuring of parishes: evangelization, pastoral care, clergy and resources to support long-term ministry efforts.
All Things New timeline and key moments
Since the beginning of the All Things New process on Jan 25, 2022, the archdiocese has heard from more than 70,000 people through the Disciple Maker Index survey; surveyed 18,000 parish school parents, administrators, teachers, staff and more; compiled sacramental, financial and demographic statistics for every parish and school; met with community, civic and business organizations; held focus groups; and had conversations at the deanery and parish levels.
A first round of draft models was introduced in August 2022, followed by an opportunity for feedback from Catholics through nearly 350 listening sessions at 178 parishes. A second round of draft models, with changes made based on that feedback, was introduced in February. Pastors and key parish leaders had an opportunity to provide input on the second draft models through a survey.
Vicariates are established
Archbishop Rozanski announced in late April the establishment of three vicariates, a grouping of parishes within the archdiocese defined by geographic region to provide parish support and administration. A vicariate is a common structure within the Church and has been implemented in other dioceses worldwide. Implementation of the vicariates will take effect in July.
The three vicariates — a Northern Vicariate, a Southern Vicariate and a Western Vicariate — will be mostly equal in the number of Catholic households. Each will be overseen by a priest appointed as episcopal vicar, a full-time role, and will foster fraternity among the priests, develop regional cooperation and coordinate with archdiocesan ministries.
Episcopal vicars and their vicariates are the Western Vicariate, Father John Brockland, currently pastor of Sts. Joachim and Ann in St. Charles; Northern Vicariate, Father Scott Jones, currently pastor of Sts. Teresa and Bridget in north St. Louis; and Southern Vicariate, Father Michael Lydon, currently pastor of Sacred Heart in Troy. Maps for the vicariates are being developed.
Father Carl Scheble, currently pastor of St. Gertrude in Krakow and St. Ann in Clover Bottom, also has been named vicar general and moderator of the curia. The three episcopal vicars will coordinate with him in their new roles.
Each vicariate will have a team to provide local pastoral and administrative support. The team will include a vicariate coordinator and could consist of coordinators of Hispanic ministry, pastoral ministry, faith formation, youth ministry, social outreach and more, depending on the needs of each vicariate. They also will include liaisons for human resources, Catholic education and finance.
Third set of draft models released
A third set of draft models was made public in late April and included one for each of the 15 territorial planning areas. Planning area maps and the third round of draft models can be found at allthingsnew.archstl.org.
Archbishop Rozanski met with the Council of Priests in late April to review the latest recommended models presented by the All Things New planning committee.
The recommended models presented to the Priests Council warranted discussion about parish structures and priest availability. Most of the parish configurations in the third round of recommended models were unchanged from the second set of draft models made public in February. The draft models then went to Archbishop Rozanski, who is prayerfully discerning the recommendations.