St. Michael slated for sale and merger in late March

| March 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

St. Michael in West St. Paul will merge with Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Paul by the end of March. St. Michael will also sell its campus to Community of Saints Regional Catholic School, which has been renting the property since the school formed in 2012. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

St. Michael in West St. Paul plans to merge with Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Paul by March 31, St. Michael parish leadership announced March 6.

St. Michael will also sell its campus at 335 Hurley Street E. to Community of Saints Regional Catholic School in West St. Paul. The preK-8 school has rented St. Michael’s school building since 2012 and will continue to operate in that location.

“While it is with great sadness that we have offered these resolutions to Archbishop (Bernard) Hebda, it also comes out of a genuine concern for parishioners to move from indefinite uncertainty to a sense of closure,” St. Michael leadership stated in a March 6 letter to parishioners and friends of the parish.

Many of St. Michael’s parishioners began attending Our Lady of Guadalupe after St. Michael ceased operations in November 2016. As part of the merger, St. Michael’s sacramental records will transfer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is less than two miles away.

A parish of 213 households, St. Michael lost nearly $100,000 during its last three years of operations and had a cash balance of $19,000 in October 2016.

After the parish ceased operations, its leaders continued working with the archdiocese to explore a path forward for the parish’s future. At the request of parish leaders, any new parish that would open within St. Michael’s parish boundaries would retain the name, according to the March 6 letter.

St. Michael will sell its property for $440,000, which is expected to eliminate the parish’s debt. The parish has a deficit of $200,000 and a $240,000 obligation remaining from benefits paid out to former parish and St. Michael school employees, the letter stated.

Signing the March 6 letter were parochial administrator Father Rick Banker, parish pastoral council chairwoman Valerie Gerlich, parish finance council chairman Howard Cronin and parish trustees David Gjengdahl and Pat Foley.

“Together as a parish, we have touched many lives with the love of God, and that will always be our legacy,” they stated about the parish.

Community of Saints will have full use of the St. Michael property, which will include managing the parish’s perpetual adoration chapel opened in 1992. The school formed in 2012 as a partnership of the parishes of St. Michael, St. Matthew in St. Paul, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. John Vianney in South St. Paul. The schools at St. Michael, St. Matthew and St. John Vianney combined at that time to create the new school.

In a March 11 press release about the sale, Father Steve Adrian, the school’s canonical administrator, said it “provides Community of Saints and its families with long-term stability.”

“All of our families, staff and stakeholders know we are here for the long haul,” said Father Adrian, who retired as pastor of St. Matthew in 2012. “It’s an honor to carry on St. Michael’s legacy of Catholic education.”

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