How to appeal a parish’s merger

| October 16, 2010

The following information is reprinted from the archdiocesan strategic plan.

Canon law provides a means whereby certain decisions, including the decision to merge specific parishes as outlined in the Strategic Plan, may be appealed. Parties who are impacted by the decision to merge two or more parishes must follow the process set forth in the Code of Canon Law. The process and the specific deadlines for challenging the decision, are outlined below.

Information included here is summary information. For additional information regarding the process for appealing a decision, please consult the Code of Canon Law, canons 1732 to 1739, which may be found online.

  1. Parties seeking to appeal a parish merger must submit a petition for revocation or amendment of the decision to the Archbishop in writing within 10 days of the date of the communication of the decision (October 17). This petition must include an explanation as to why the decision should be revoked or amended.
  2. The Archbishop has 30 days from the date of his receipt of the petition to consider the request and the arguments made and issue a new decree. This new decree must either revoke or amend the decision, or reject the petition for recourse. As part of that process, the Archbishop may choose to consult with others, such as the Presbyteral Council.
  3. If a party receives a rejection of the petition or if no response to the petition is made within 30 days, further appeal to the Congregation for Clergy may be made. This petition for revocation or amendment of the decision must be submitted in writing within 15 days of the appeal decision issued by the Archbishop or if no response is issued by the Archbishop, within 15 days after the expiration of the 30 day response period noted in No. 2 above.
  4. The Congregation for Clergy has the right to confirm, invalidate, amend, replace, or modify the Archbishop’s decision.
  5. As part of the request for recourse to the Congregation for Clergy a party may request that the decision may not be implemented while the appeal is in process. This request must be made in writing to the Archbishop, as well as in writing to the Congregation for Clergy.

• Mailing address for the archbishop:

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
226 Summit Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Attention: Hierarchical Recourse

Parish transition advice

What’s the best way to handle a merger? How do you share news with your parish? What do you do when parishioners disagree?

Father John Bauer, co-chair of the 16-member Strategic Task Force who made recommendations for the plan to Archbishop Nienstedt, guided three St. Paul parishes through a merger to form Lumen Christi in the Highland Park neighborhood.

He outlined 32 lessons he learned, including communicate, admit mistakes and create committees. Although his advice was originally intended for pastors, it’s relevant for anyone interested in supporting his or her parish through a transition, such as a merger or cluster.

Communicate, admit mistakes and 30 other merging lessons learned – by Father John Bauer


Category: Archdiocese Planning Process

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