Cardinal Seán O’Malley has approved the merger of St. Ann and St. Brendan parishes into a new Catholic parish in a move that will keep both church buildings open under a new name. In a letter sent to parishioners today, Fr. Brian Clary said that the merger will take effect on July 1.
"On that day, the two parishes will end, and one new parish will be established with two worship sites and campuses,” Clary wrote. “All the assets and liabilities of the former parishes will be under one parish. With the Cardinal’s approval, we move forward. It is a daunting but exciting opportunity.”
One immediate task will be finding a new name for the combined parish. While each church building will keep its current name, the parish itself will have a new name. Fr. Clary said parishioners are invited to submit their ideas through July 15 and three finalists will be sent to the Cardinal.
“When submitting a name, two things are important: (1) give the name and (2) offer a reason for the name. You might think only in terms of a “saint’s name” but there are many other possibilities (Holy Trinity, Incarnation, Holy Family, Gate of Heaven are parishes around the Archdiocese)… The key is the reason why!”
Name nominations may be sent to Fr. Clary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clary and his co-pastor Fr. Bob Connors made the request for a merger in May, warning that “time is running out” as they face a growing and “insurmountable debt.”
There have been clear warning signs that such a merger might be inevitable. Clary and Connors have worked with lay leaders over the past two years to confront a growing debt and deferred maintenance problems. Parishioners mounted a vigorous public campaign to raise funds and attendance in response.
Clary also reported today that he will return to full-time duty as pastor at the end of June after a long health leave.
“It has been quite a ride, but with a clean bill of health from my doctors and feeling well, I look forward being back to full ministry. Thanks for all your prayers and concern. It helped a lot,” he wrote.