Parish Merger Q&A

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

As we transition to this new existence as a merged parish, our pastor, Fr. Paul Ritt, has asked parishioners to share their questions.

Parishioner Question:  Once this merger is done and [the new parish is] under one name, it is possible to close one of the two and sell it off.  I've seen this in Lynn with St. Jean's, St. Mike's, etc.  I am just wondering, which one?

Fr. Paul’s Answer: Thanks for the question. There are no plans to close either church in the foreseeable future.  We are now like other parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston that have two churches or worship sites, parishes such as Good Shepherd in Wayland, Transfiguration of Wilmington, and St. Mary of the Sacred Heart in Lynn. Provided that our people faithfully support their parish through attendance, prayer, service and finances, there is no reason to consider closing one of our churches.  As a side note, right now, the Archdiocese is discouraging the sale of parish buildings and properties.

Parishioner Question: 
1) Will the 2020 financials (budget, expenses and revenue) for all three parish components (SMG, OLA and school) as of June 30, be shared at the time of the merger? It would be helpful to understand the “going into” the merger status, as well as the effect of the last four months.
2) Are there any restrictions that were part of the original donation of land for SMG that would prevent sale of the church property in the event that the church is decommissioned? This has been a long standing rumor that the donor wishes would prevent a sale.
3) What are the goals for the combined entity for the next 12 months? Next 24?

Fr. Paul’s Answer: Thank you for your questions.  As we begin a new chapter under a new name and entity, we are blessed to have the two worship sites remaining under their original titles.  While we will operate as one, those who have called St Maria Goretti church their spiritual home will be able to continue in this manner. 

We are in the process of closing the books for June 30 and when complete, we will publish an annual report with financial statements for OLA, SMG and the School.  Financial transparency is an essential provision for the parish to share how the generous resources provided by parishioners have been used in furthering the work of the Catholic church in Lynnfield and beyond.  It is important, as you suggest, to know the current status as we begin anew. 

There have been many versions of reports regarding the SMG land.  To the best of my knowledge, there is no documentation to support the narrative.  There is no intent or plan to sell assets like buildings or land.  Further, the Archdiocese has provided clear guidance against selling assets.

The short-term goals of 12-24 months will be further developed by the Pastoral Council as we move forward.  Until then, the existing goals will remain.  From an operational perspective, we will continue to focus on maximizing the use of our resources in the most effective and efficient manner to accomplish the work of the church.  We must be sure resources are available for programs to continue to spread and strengthen our faith.  We must care for our human and physical plant resources to the best of our ability using the support provided by the parishioners.

We appreciate your generous support and ask for your continued prayers as we begin our new parish.