Bishop Galante issues formal decree to establish Christ the Redeemer Parish

Bishop Joseph Galante formally announced today that the parishes of Assumption, Atco; St. Lucy, Blue Anchor, and Sacred Heart, Cedarbrook, which together form Blessed John XXIII Parish; and St. Anthony, Waterford, will unite and the new parish resulting from the consolidation, Christ the Redeemer, will be established Nov. 10, 2010.

The announcement establishing the new parish has been made in a formal decree, which is published in this edition of the Catholic Star Herald (See pages 22-23).

It is the 28th decree issued by Bishop Joseph Galante in a diocesan-wide reconfiguration of parishes announced two years ago to strengthen parishes and improve pastoral care to the people of the diocese. The reconfigurations are a result of more than a year of study by parish and deanery planners, who considered population and demographic trends, the number of diocesan priests available for ministry, Mass attendance and trends in religious practice.

The study by deanery and parish planners found that many parishes individually lacked the means to address key pastoral priorities, and that improved pastoral care could be achieved by uniting certain parishes through consolidation.

These pastoral priorities include the need to engage laity more actively in parish ministry, more opportunities for faith formation for all age groups, expanded ministry to youth and young adults, the fostering vocations to priesthood and religious life, well-celebrated liturgies, and compassionate outreach to inactive Catholics and those in need throughout the diocese.

Father Thomas Barcellona, Priest Convener for the consolidation, has been named pastor of the new parish for a six year term.

Christ the Redeemer Parish, whose boundaries will be those of the existing parishes, will serve about 3,370 families. The seat of the parish will be Assumption Church.

Inge Strock, a Core Team member from Blessed John XXIII, had this to say about the merger, “For over 55 years I have lived across the street from St. Lucy’s Church and have developed many ‘church friendships.’

“It has been a difficult time for all of us,” she said. “Yet I am proud and honored to be part of the future plans for the parish and I am happy to move forward now to begin the new journey with the help of God.”

John O’Donnell, who is a Core Team member from Assumption Parish, said that he hopes that the parishioners look at the reconfiguration not as losing their parish but as gaining two more parishes with a larger audience to teach and pass down your traditions.

“As we become closer to becoming one new parish, I am filled with several emotions, including relief, sadness, hopefulness, pride and determination,” he said. “I am determined to do my part to insure that Christ the Redeemer becomes a vibrant parish filled with the many rich traditions and customs of Blessed John XXIII, St. Anthony’s and Assumption.”

Fittingly, a prayer asking for the intercession of the patrons and patronesses of the three parishes as they journey toward the future was offered at the end of each Mass.

Let us pray.

We pray through the intercession of St. Lucy that we have eyes to see into the future as we come together as one family. Through the intercession of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that our hearts all will be open to love one another as brother & sisters on this journey of faith. Through the intercession of St Anthony that we may never be lost, but always find our way as children of hope in all that we do and through the out-stretched arms of our Blessed Mother in her heavenly Assumption may we openly embrace our future in her motherly arms that bring us together as one family in her Son, Christ the Redeemer.

We ask this in His name.

Amen!

Father Barcellona expressed his thanks and dreams for the new parish. “As I return to this part of the diocese, I am being reunited with old friends at Assumption and getting to know many new ones at St Anthony and Blessed John the XXIII. I am thankful to my brother priests who began this process a few years ago, our deacons, the Core Team members and those many parishioners who help on particular committees. This new parish family of Christ the Redeemer, will start off with over 20 ministries from social outreach to evangelization, prayer quilt for the sick, and many more. We will incorporate the many traditions and festivals of the three parishes in our liturgical celebrations and parish life.”

“When I was a child in St James grade school in North Jersey, there was a quote from the letter of James hanging in a classroom, ‘Faith without action is dead.’ This has been my outlook for some 40 years and I hope to share this with all the family members of Christ the Redeemer Parish. May we all be open to the feelings of one another as our faith grows and as a parish community may we always be people of action as we continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

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