Recently, Fr. Dan Kenna, OFM visited the parish as part of the Holy Name Province “Fraternal Ecology Project.” Here is an update on the review.
The friars who serve Sacred Heart are from Holy Name Province. We are a “Fraternity in Mission to the People of God” in the tradition and spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. We have about 240 men serving in a wide variety of ministerial settings — colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers, and diverse social ministries along the East Coast, as well as in overseas missions. Forty years ago, we had 1,200 friars serving about 36 provincial commitments. Now we have the 240, older in average age, serving 30 provincial commitments. Even though our vocations remain strong, we are statistically aging. As such, we find that we are stretched thin as a province and in each of our ministerial settings.
We know we must realistically plan for the future in light of our diminishing numbers and the ever-increasing challenges of our ministries. As a province, we are committed to right-size our number of ministerial commitments, to reorganize and reimagine those we maintain, so that we might re-establish “Fraternities in Mission” that assures a quality of fraternal life for the brothers and, thus, empower us to better serve the Church.
Our province is finalizing this 2.5-year process. As part of that process, Fr. Dan Kenna, OFM, visited our friars, parishioners, and liturgies this past June. The Provincial Minister and his Council have received analysis and recommendations for each of our ministries and will prayerfully make their final decisions in December 2019. On January 3, 2020, these decisions will be announced to the friars, their Partners in Ministry (parishes), and all local bishops.
The Provincial has asked me to communicate with the parish to thank you for your patience as the decision process unfolds. He also asked that while we recognize these are hard decisions, they are also “family” decisions as we friars discern what is ours to do in this new reality and in the light of our call to live as brothers in mission. As such, these decisions will be final and not subject to appeal once they are announced.
Please keep our Provincial Minister, Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, and his six provincial counselors in your prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom that they may do what is theirs to do.
Peace be with you,
Fr. George Corrigan, OFM