(St. Paul, MN, June 17, 2012) The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is providing an update today on several developments related to its 2010 Strategic Plan which is aimed at fostering a revitalized and sustainable local Church, responsive to the pastoral needs of all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

First, the Archdiocese has been informed by the Holy See that the canonical appeals to the previously announced merger of Holy Cross, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Clement and St. Hedwig, all in northeast Minneapolis have been exhausted.  This means the merger will proceed as scheduled and become effective on July 1, 2013.

Second, two additional mergers involving St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph in Hopkins as well as St. Mark, St. Mary and St. Mary of the Purification in Shakopee are ready to go ahead within the coming year.  Both the Hopkins parishes and the Shakopee parishes were noted as “cluster to potential merger” in the Strategic Plan.  ‘Cluster’ refers to an instance when two or more parishes share a single pastor.  Both the Hopkins and the Shakopee parishes are currently clustered.  The newly announced mergers were requested by the parish communities themselves, which informed the Archbishop that their efforts at sharing resources had progressed to the point that merging the parishes would be for the benefit of their communities.  In regard to Shakopee, this announcement is the culmination of more than 40 years of conversation about how to best meet the pastoral needs of Catholics in the growing Shakopee area.

Finally, three mergers announced in the 2010 Strategic Plan will become effective on July 1, 2012: Annunciation and Visitation, both in Minneapolis; Most Holy Redeemer in Montgomery and St. Canice in Kilkenny; and St. Genevieve in Centerville and St. John the Baptist in Hugo.

After implementation of all the announced mergers, including the mergers involving the Hopkins and Shakopee parishes and the one merger which took place in 2011 outside the Strategic Plan, the Archdiocese will have a total of 188 parishes in July 2013, compared to 213 parishes in October 2010.

On January 1, 2011, the following mergers were made official: St. Thomas of Saint Thomas with St. Anne of LeSueur; St. Andrew with Maternity of the Blessed Virgin, both in Saint Paul; St Francis de Sales with St James, both also in Saint Paul; and the merger of St. Benedict, St. John the Evangelist, St. Joseph and St. Scholastica with St. Wenceslaus, all in the New Prague area.  The mergers of St. Augustine with Holy Trinity in South Saint Paul and St. Thomas the Apostle with Blessed Sacrament in Saint Paul took effect on July 1, 2011.  On January 1, 2012, the following parishes merged: Most Holy Trinity in Saint Louis Park and Our Lady of Grace in Edina; St. Austin and St. Bridget in Minneapolis; and St. Vincent de Paul and the Cathedral of St. Paul in Saint Paul.

A merger decision does not necessarily mean that a merging parish’s church building will close.  Decisions regarding the church buildings of the newly combined parish community are made by local leaders in proper consultation with the Archbishop and the Presbyteral Council, a representative body of priests.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis serves a rich and diverse community of 825,000 Catholics in 12 counties in east central Minnesota.  The Archdiocese’s Strategic Plan is aimed at building up a vibrant community of faith, hope and love through intentional collaboration, ongoing evaluation and greater accountability in support of the mission of the Church.  The Strategic Plan is the result of 20 months of study and consultation, including the input of thousands of people from across the Archdiocese — pastors and other clergy, Catholic school leaders and families, parish staff and parishioners.  The Strategic Plan helps guide the Archdiocese in living out its mission to make the name of Jesus Christ known and loved by promoting and proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed through vibrant parish and school communities.