Bishop Matthew H. Clark has approved the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group’s recommendation to consolidate the group’s five churches into a single parish consisting of three worship sites: St. Margaret Mary, Christ the King and St. Cecilia.
St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle churches will be closed as part of the plan, for which a time table is to be announced.
The announcement of Bishop Clark’s decision came in a letter read during all Masses at the five parishes the weekend of May 29/30.
The bishop said he made the decision after consulting with the diocesan Presbyteral Council and the planning group’s pastors, and “after much prayer and deliberation.”
Bishop Clark said he has asked Father Norman Tanck, pastor at Christ the King, St. Thomas and St. Salome, to lead the pastoral team for the new parish, which will encompass the boundaries of the five current parishes. The team also includes Fathers Tim Horan, current pastor of St. Margaret Mary, and William Leone, current pastor of St. Cecilia.
“The precise timetable (for implementing the plan) will require additional consultation,” he wrote, adding that details would be communicated to parishioners as the plan unfolds. A name for the new parish also will be chosen, subject to the bishop’s approval.
Bishop Clark acknowledged that some people would respond to the change with disappointment or anger, while others would view it “as a journey of hope taken together to build a stronger, more vibrant Catholic community.”
“I pray that those who disagree with my decision will understand that it was not made lightly or without firm and compelling reasons,” he wrote.
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