Connecticut Catholics Prepare For Changes Under New Archdiocesan Plan

Connecticut Catholics Prepare For Changes Under New Archdiocesan Plan

[Hartford Archdiocese prepares for downsizing, nay implosion if 212 parishes become 120 “pastorates” by 2019 and 85 by 2027!]

Jordan Otero Sisson

Roman Catholics across the Archdiocese of Hartford are preparing to learn whether their parochial school or parish is among the dozens slated for changes under the archdiocese’s new pastoral plan.

Church leaders announced late last year that the archdiocese’s 212 parishes in Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties would be reduced to a little over 100 pastorates, or a single parish with a church and one or more worship sites, campuses and ministries.

Major drivers behind the changes include a decline in the number of priests, fewer Catholic households and financial struggles that come with maintaining aging infrastructure.

Parish priests are meeting Wednesday and the final plans are expected this month.

According to recent information shared on the archdiocese’s pastoral planning website, there will be about 120 pastorates in the initial phase, from 2017-19. That number is expected to be further reduced with a goal of creating approximately 85 pastorates by 2027.

Recommendations were originally expected early this year, but an announcement was delayed to accommodate further meetings with deaneries and local parish representatives. The final plan is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Priest and deacon assignments will be announced after pastorates have been revealed, according to the website.

Pastorates will be led by a pastor, but each may have several associate priests and deacons assigned to it, who will each have designated responsibilities. A maximum of four Masses per weekend will be celebrated by each priest in each pastorate.

Once parishes are established, they will create their own specific strategic pastoral plans based on the needs of the communities they serve. These localized plans will include a statement of mission, a three-year vision, guiding principles, strategic pastoral objectives, strategic goals/action plans and a timeline of incremental milestones, according to the website.

The archdiocese has sought parishioner input throughout the process, most recently in the form of an online survey designed to gather feedback on what newly-formed parishes should be named.

No cost savings was included in the plan, but church officials have said it’s less about saving money than revitalizing the institution.

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