Churches continue to talk merger

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 8, 2013

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A lay committee from Our Lady Queen of All Saints and two other nearby Catholic parishes are on schedule to recommend by this time next year a plan outlining how they will come together under one name.

After meeting over a span of more than two years, the 18-person transition committee — six members each from Our Lady Queen of All Saints in Fraser, and St. Athanasius and Sacred Heart in Roseville — recently created a handful of subcommittees to focus on various elements of the transition, including the churches’ finances and what the new parish should be named, among other things.

By this October, the various subcommittees will report back to the committee at large, which in turn is expected in October to decide to close one of the parishes.

By June 2014, the committee then will have to decide how to merge the two remaining campuses under one newly-named parish, though both campuses may remain open in different capacities.

Once the archdiocese receives the report, it will consider the committee’s recommendations, but will have final say.

Ned McGrath, an archdiocese spokesman, said by email that although there have been preliminary discussions about which of the parishes will continue to hold Masses, no decisions had yet been made at press time; nor has there been a deadline stated for that.

For all intents and purposes, he added, the process was just now shifting into gear with a goal of developing a merger plan by this time next year.

A mediator from the archdiocese, Deacon William Kolarik, also has been helping guide the process.

Linda Rzonca and Paul Cilluffo, committee members from St. Athanasius and Our Lady Queen of All Saints respectively, said the members understand that the process can be mutually beneficial for all in the local Catholic community.

Cilluffo said the transition presented an opportunity for the three parishes to examine the strengths and weakness of each, and, as a Catholic community, become stronger, not only in a financial sense, but also in their ability to conduct community outreach.

“We have the opportunity to shed all the weak points and … step out as a new Catholic community,” he said.

Cilluffo added that the committee members making these recommendations understand the importance they will have to local Catholics.

“The steps we take are very carefully thought out,” he added.

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