Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives Living Stones
Diocesan plan established to insure vibrancy of parishes in face of declining number of priests

April 11, 2018

Ogdensburg - Bishop Terry R. LaValley established “Building Parishes with Living Stones” as a diocesan priority Bishop LaValleyat the Chrism Mass in 2014.

In response to this priority, the Living Stones Planning Committee was formed in September 2014 under the leadership of Father James W. Seymour. 

Father Christopher C. Carrara was appointed to succeed Father Seymour as head of the planning committee in November 2017.

The planning committee, consulting with pastors and parishioners, developed an overall plan to enable the diocese to meet the needs of parishioners in the face of a decreasing number of priests to serve as pastors.

Bishop LaValley approved the Living Stones Planning Committee Report and Plan (“Report and Plan”) Aug. 20, 2016.

The Report and Plan established the procedures for the various pastoral care areas to develop a pastoral plan that would increase the vibrancy of parishes and serve the needs of all parishioners. Parishes have worked to develop a pastoral plan, and most have been submitted to the Planning Committee for review.

Once the Planning Committee confirms that the proper procedure has been followed, required consultations have been made, and adequate consideration has been given to the needs of all, it recommends the pastoral plan to Bishop LaValley for his approval.

As of this date, Bishop LaValley has approved 17 pastoral plans. The pastoral plans, unless a request is made to the contrary, are not effective immediately. Rather, they will go into effect as the needs of the diocese make it necessary to implement the plans.

While the plans are not usually immediately effective, many parishes have requested that they be allowed to move forward with some aspects of the plan now.

• St. Mary’s Cathedral, for example, submitted its plan along with Notre Dame Church (Ogdensburg), St. Raphael’s Church (Heuvelton) and Ss. Philip and James Church (Lisbon).

The plan will be implemented when needed, but the parishes have received permission to immediately share a vocation committee and youth ministry and to use a common curriculum with their religious education programs.

Additionally, St. Mary’s Cathedral and Notre Dame Church have requested and received permission to merge into one parish, with both churches remaining open as worship sites. This merger will ease the implementation of the pastoral plan when it is fully implemented.

• St. Joseph’s Church (Mooers), St. Ann’s Church (Mooers Forks), Holy Angels Church (Altona) and St. Louis Church (Sciota) received approval of their pastoral plan.

As part of this plan, permission was granted to merge St. Joseph’s Church into St. Ann’s Church, with St. Joseph’s Church being closed, and St. Louis was merged into Holy Angel’s Church with St. Louis Church and St. Alexis Oratory (Jericho) being closed.

• The plan of St. André Bessette in Malone was approved by Bishop LaValley and is effective as of March 12, 2018.

As part of the plan, St. André Bessette Parish requested and received permission to change the status of St. John Bosco Church to an oratory and to close Joseph’s Church. The plan proposes that St. John Bosco oratory will undergo modifications that will provide a chapel, thrift store and other spaces for community outreach programs.

• The plan for St. Andrew’s (Norwood), Parish of the Visitation and St. Raymond (Norfolk), St. Patrick’s (Brasher Falls) and St. Lawrence (North Lawrence) was approved.

As a preliminary step, St. Lawrence Church has requested and received permission to merge with St. Patrick’s Church in Brasher Falls. Both churches will remain open as worship sites for the merged parishes.
Other parishes receiving approval of their pastoral plans include:

(1) The Church of the Holy Family, St. Patrick’s and St. Anthony’s (Watertown);

(2) St. John the Baptist, St. Peter’s, and Our Lady of Victory (Plattsburgh);

(3) The Catholic Community of Alexandria (Alexandria Bay), St. Mary’s (Clayton) and St. John’s (LaFargeville);

(4) St. Elizabeth’s (Elizabethtown), St. Philip Neri (Westport), and The Catholic Community of St. Philip of Jesus and St. Joseph (Willsboro);

(5) St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s (Indian Lake);

(6) St. Bartholomew’s (Old Forge) and St. Anthony’s (Inlet);

(7) St. Alphonsus and Holy Name (Tupper Lake), St. Henry’s (Long Lake) and St. Therese (Newcomb);

(8) The Catholic Community of Holy Name and St. Matthew (Au Sable Forks), Roman Catholic Community of Keeseville and St. Margaret’s Church (Wilmington);

(9) St. Peter’s (Lowville), St. Mary’s (Glenfield), and St. Thomas (Greig);

(10) St. Peter’s (Massena);

(11) Catholic Community of Morristown, Hammond and Rossie; and

(12) St. Ann’s (St. Regis Falls), Holy Cross (Hopkinton), St. Mary’s (Brushton) and St. Augustine’s (North Bangor).

“I am pleased with the progress that is being made on our planning process,” said Father Carrara, current Vicar for Pastoral Personnel and head of the Living Stones Planning Committee.  “The process has produced greater cooperation between parishes and has increased our awareness of what it takes to have more vibrant parishes.

“It is great tribute to my predecessor, Father Jay Seymour, that the work of this committee is coming to fruition and the process has run so smoothly,” he said.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.