In 1974, the Diocese of Syracuse had 400 priests. As of February 2015, we have 16 priests under the age of 45, 80 priests between the ages of 45 and 69, and 41 priests above the age of 70 (16 of whom are over 75). Clearly, the number of priests is in rapid decline, necessitating changes to Church as we are currently accustomed.
To be proactive and keep our churches viable, the diocese has asked clusters of churches to work together. The Eastside Pastoral Care Area (PCA) is comprised of St. Ann’s in Manlius, St. James in Cazenovia, Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville, and St. Patrick’s in Chittenango. The four churches have been working together to share ideas, mass schedules, resources, and most of all our FAITH.
In the upcoming weeks, this column will highlight some of the changes we can expect to see and will encourage all parishioners to become actively engaged in the creation of vibrant parish communities.
As mentioned the week of September 13, the Eastside PCA (Pastoral Care Area) is comprised of Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville, St. Ann’s in Manlius, St. James in Cazenovia and St. Patrick’s in Chittenango. These four parishes have been working together since 2003 to plan for the future. The PCA meets regularly to plan shared events and resources, and to coordinate our sacraments.
It is the goal of the PCA for each parish to maintain its identity, to work together, and to strengthen our ministries by reaching out and using the talents of the surrounding parishes. In the near future, Immaculate Conception will be teamed with St. Ann’s, and St. James and St. Patrick’s will be teamed.
What does the teaming mean to you? Mass schedules will need to be changed to accommodate travel for priests so that they can celebrate Masses at each parish in their team. We will share events and possibly leverage buying power for supplies for each parish. We may also share paid or volunteer staff members.
As we prepare for these changes, we will do best to heed the words of Pope Francis, “Abandon the complacent attitude that says ‘we have always done it this way.’ “(Evangelii Gaudium #33)
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