Our Journey FAQ

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The Transition Team has been meeting for several months to consider which site might best serve our community at St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families. With the sale of St. Clement School it seemed the right time to make this decision. We are taking  many things into consideration, including the age and structural needs of all the buildings, including roofs, parking lots, heating and cooling systems. The Team also has an eye to the future and how we will "unleash the gospel' in our parish boundaries. We have a sense that this will require some updating and reworking of the remaining church site and buildings.

When the Team reaches a decision, they will meet with the Parish Council and Finance Council for their approval. The decision is not easy, and when it's time, Fr. Bob and the team will lay out the data they reviewed and other factors which went into the decision. They will also share a simple proposal about our next steps forward, which  includes taking all of this information to the Presbyteral Council and Archbishop Vigneron for his approval.

Many of us have been through the difficult process of mergers and closings of parishes. We consider St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families to be our family now, so whatever site is chosen we trust everyone will continue to call it home, even if it takes some time. Please continue to pray for our community and leadership.


The team wishes to take this time to thank you the parishioners for your continued patients and support during our difficult journey.  The process is taking even longer then we thought and we do apologize.  As stated before there are many important  items that we need to consider and some of the information takes time to gather.  At this time there is no concrete information that is leading us to a particular site choice.  Both sites have equal merit and value to remain open.  However due to unfortunate circumstances it is not possible to sustain both sites. To review, here are some of the criteria used.  Thank You again and we ask for your continued prayers as this is not an easy process.

  • The utility expenses of each building.
  • Offertory per site.
  • The cost of renovations and upgrades.
  • Out reach potential.
  • Space for all ministries and church capacities.
  • Boundaries and the number of parishioners within each sites boundaries.
  • Transportation needs of the parishioners at each site, along with handicapped accessibility.
  • Historical significance, visibility, and esthetics .
  • Five year trend in the decline in registered households, Religious Education, and Sacraments etc...
  • Marketability of both sites .
  • And many more….

     “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted into the sea,’ and it would obey you.”  In the scriptures God uses seemingly insignificant people or things and works tremendous miracles. In the Old Testament, we find the story of David and Goliath.  The Philistines were at war with the Israelites and they had a secret weapon named Goliath.  He was a virtual giant, strong and fearless.  The Philistines challenged King Saul to send out his best warrior to fight Goliath and if he defeated him then the Philistines would become slaves to the Jews but if Goliath won then the Jews would become slaves to the Philistines.  Saul had no warrior strong enough to fight Goliath but God prompted a young shepherd boy named David to volunteer.  David charged Goliath and threw a stone from his sling and defeated him.  If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, God will use it to do tremendous things.

     In the Gospels Jesus was teaching a huge crowd and He realized they were hungry so He told the disciples to give them something to eat.  The disciples objected saying they only had a few fish and a few crusts of bread but our Lord blessed what they had and after everyone had eaten there was still food left over.  If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, God will use it to do tremendous things.

     Today I am inviting us to have faith the size of a mustard seed in the process of discernment as we try to determine which parish site to keep and which site to close.  I think right now many of us feel like the people in today’s first reading, “How long O Lord?” They were wondering if the Lord was listening to their prayer and He responds with an encouraging answer as He reminds them to be patient because the vision has time and it will come to fulfillment.  We find ourselves wondering when a decision will finally come about our two sites and like the people of our first reading we say, “How long O Lord?”  The Lord on His part reminds us to be patient because the process takes time and ultimately it will come to fulfillment.

     There are some who believe that a decision was made long ago but no decision has yet been made.   We continue to work with the Archdiocese as we examine parking lots, boilers, roofs, budgets, and maintenance issues.  We have to consider which site is the most marketable because whichever site closes we still have to maintain until it is sold.  In making our decision we consider the needs of our elderly as well as our youth.  We examine trends which tell us approximately how many parishioners would leave if the Frazho site closes or if the Van Dyke site closes. 

     Some say the Frazho site must remain open because it has a hall for gatherings, meetings, and classes but couldn’t we reconfigure the convent at the Van Dyke site to meet those same needs?  Some say the Van Dyke site must remain open because it is a historical site however, we do not live in the past, we learn from the past and live in the present with our gaze fixed firmly on the future. 

     This last point is one we must consider very carefully because we want a worship site that will give us the best platform for Unleashing the Gospel.   To quote Abraham Lincoln, “The struggle of today is not altogether for today - it is for a vast future also.”  Our worship site decision is not altogether for today but for a vast future that will affect us long after many of us are dead and gone.  We must decide wisely so that we will continue to have a Catholic presence in this area.  I do not know when this decision will be made because we are working with God’s timeline but I do know that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed God will do tremendous things.

Fr. Bob Bauer


Question: I thought we were one parish what does it mean that you checked offertory per site?

Answer:  Yes we are one parish and for the past 7 years the offertory has been as one parish.  The parish office was asked by the team to separate  offertory per site for a period of time.

Question:  What does it mean as to the outreach potential?

Answer:  Does either site have more space than the other in order to grow the parish outreach. Which site can  best serve the needs of the community based on our parish boundaries.

Question:  What does it mean by historical significance, visibility, and esthetics?

Answer:  The decision will not be based solely on historical site, visibility or esthetics  as stated in the article .  There are many aspects that we are looking into.

Question:  Given the trend  of the past five years is it possible that both sites could close in the future?

Answer:  It is the people that keep a parish open. If we cannot be sustainable on our own  using our time, talent and treasure, then the potential would exist for another transition.  Along with the Archdiocese, it is our hope that with the  “Unleashing the Gospel”  initiative  we can  joyfully  express our faith with others and invite them to be apart of our faith community.

Question:  All parishes are not created equal,  why are the poor parishes assessed  the same as the others?

Answer:  We as a parish do not have any control as to the assessment of CSA. That is all decided by the Archdiocesan Office. All monies after we reach our goal comes back to the parish in full and  is not included in our assessment for next year.


Question: When will the decision be made as to what site will be closing?  How will the people be told this decision ?

Answer:  Please note that as of this printing there still has not been a decision as to what site will be closing. That being said let’s recap. 

With the sale of the school St. Mary, Our lady Queen of Families will have paid off the majority of its debt.  In reviewing budgets and long term planning it was obvious that we could no longer   sustain two worship sites.  A team made up of parishioners was formed along with the  help of the  Archdiocese of  Detroit  to gather and review the finances of each site, the spiritual needs of its parishioners, and the suggestions and concerns of the people. An intercessor prayer team has also been meeting and praying for all of us.

All information in last weeks article is currently being reviewed and the team is still waiting for  additional information that has been requested. Therefore the date for a decision can not be determined.

As we understand it, once all information has been reviewed and a recommendation has been made, this recommendation must be sent to the Archdiocese of Detroit for final approval. Only after receiving this approval can we begin to let parishioners  know how and when  the next steps will begin.. 


Question: Should the properties donated to the St. Clement site be reverted back to the donors families if site should close?

Answer: This question has been brought to the team several times. We have extensively researched this with the help of the legal team of the Archdiocese at our expense. The finding of this clam is invalid. They have not found any contracts or legal documents proving  this fact.

Question: What criteria is being considered regarding the closing of a site:

  • The utility expenses of each building.
  • Offertory per site.
  • The cost of renovations and upgrades.
  • Out reach potential.
  • Space for all ministries and church capacities.
  • Boundaries and the number of parishioners within each sites boundaries.
  • Transportation needs of the parishioners at each site, along with handicapped accessibility.
  • Historical significance, visibility, and esthetics .
  • Statistics of the number of households that may leave if a site should close.
  • 5 year trend in the decline in registered households, Religious Education, and Sacraments etc...
  • Marketability of both sites .
  • And many more….

Question: What services will be provided at the chosen site?

Answer: We will provide all the services that we provide now. This includes St Vincent de Paul (SVdP), coffee and doughnuts, breakfasts and dinners, etc. In addition, our fully-integrated Parish family will continue the Lord’s mission in a concerted effort to Unleash the Gospel, reaching out to those in need in our community, the unfortunate, seniors, children, etc. with the help of SVdP, Knights of Columbus, and our wonderful commissions - education, worship, and Christian services

Question:  There still seem to be concerns  regarding seniors and those who may not have adequate transportation to and from Mass each week.

Answer:   The team is taking all concerns into consideration when making the decision as to which site will remain open.  Possible solutions may include new ministries to address them.  As a Catholic Community we are always looking for ways to help and serve our parishioners and those in need within our parish boundaries and beyond.


Fr. Bob and the Transition Team would like to take this time to say Thank You for all the comments and questions that we have received so far. Please note that the Team does review and discuss all of them.  They have been very helpful, and are taken into consideration in the discernment as to which site will be chosen. 

Last weekend  in Bishop Fishers homily, he expressed that Jesus is not knocking on a Church building but in the hearts of his people, and that we should trust in Gods will, that He will provide us with a site that will allow us to Unleash the Gospel with joyful hearts. Lets keep praying that Gods will be done. Bishop Fisher suggested that we include a fast in our prayers.


Some interesting facts about St Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families


Question: Who  is on the Transition  Team?

Answer:  A team was chosen from parishioners who have been known to  attend services at both sites.  They are a combination of individuals who have been long time members from both sites, merged in members and members who have come from other parishes.  All have the best of intentions for the parish and understand the enormous responsibility they hold.

Question:  How is the convent located on the St. Clement site being used?

Answer:  Currently the convent is being rented to four (4) different entities.  The Major renter is Interfaith Volunteer CareGivers.  Right to Life occupies a small portion of the building. We also are home to an India congregation who use the Chapel and Great Room on Sundays.  Some of our most special renters are the AA groups who meet Wednesdays and Fridays .

Question:  Why was the CSA goal raised when we can’t afford to keep both sites open?

Answer:  The CSA target is not set by us.  The Archdiocese has a formula they use for all parishes in the diocese.  We are assessed at 13% based on a three year average of Offertory  and Christmas donations.


Question: What are the parish boundaries?

Answer: The parish boundaries, according to the official church decree from Archbishop Vigneron, are…

North: East 12 Mile Rd at Mound Rd to Pauline St, Pauline St south to Gerald Ave, Gerald Ave east to Van Dyke Ave, Van Dyke Ave south to Garbor Ave, Garbor Ave east to Arsenal Ave, Arsenal Ave north to Garbor Ave, Garbor Ave east to Sylvan Ave, Sylvan Ave south to East 11 Mile Rd, East 11 Mile Rd east to Hoover Rd, Hoover Rd north to Martin Rd, Martin Rd east to Schoenherr Rd, Schoenherr Rd south to East 11 Mile Rd, East 11 Mile Rd east to CN Railroad

East: CN Railroad southwest to east 10 Mile Rd, East 10 Mile Rd east to Hayes Ave, Hayes Ave south as extended to Gratiot Ave, Gratiot Ave southwest to Jacob Ave

South: Jacob Ave west to Allyn Ave, Allyn Ave west to Genter St, Genter St north to Sherman Ave, Sherman Ave west to Hoover Rd, Hoover Rd south to 8 Mile Rd, 8 Mile Rd west to Mound Rd

West: Mound Rd north to East 12 Mile Rd

Please see the map... (click here for a larger map)

 


Question: What other criteria are being used to make the decision about which church to sell?

Answer: One of the areas to consider at the end of this transition is how we can “Unleash the Gospel” in our parish boundaries
We’re a family at St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families and that means we love each other even when the going gets tough. For most of us we’ve been part of one of two other parishes before we got here. Clustered and merged and clustered again.We want to make sure that the church site that is chosen helps us share our faith with others. We have less than 1000 families currently attending our parish, and all this time we have paid for two campuses to be operating. That has been hard to do, but we did it. Once we pick one site and do some renovations, we should be able to invite even more families to join us

.Are there people you know at work, who could use some friendly faces each Sunday?
Are there people you know who might have trouble in their marriage or are going through a tough divorce?
What about people who are older or sick? Do you think we might be able to love them here at St. Mary’s?

One of the strengths of our parish is that we accept people right where they’re at. No one is perfect, and we don’t try to be perfect. Instead we just keep showing up week after week and meet Jesus. We sing, we pray, we kneel and we love. That’s how we “Unleash the Gospel.”Thank you for your continued prayers as we make this decision. We’ve been meeting week after week, trying to look at all the information so that we have the right buildings and updated spaces to care for each other and welcome newcomers. We look forward to our next steps… of Our Journey!

Your Transition Team


Question: Where will the pastor live?

Answer: There is space at both sites for Father Bob to have a private place to live

Question: What services will be provided at the chosen site?

Answer: We will provide all the services that we provide now. This includes St Vincent de Paul (SVdP), coffee and doughnuts, breakfasts and dinners, etc. In addition, our fully-integrated Parish family will continue the Lord’s in a concerted effort to Unleash the Gospel, reaching out to those in need in our community, the unfortunate, seniors, children, etc. with the help of SVdP, Knights of Columbus, and our wonderful commissions - education, worship, and Christian services.

Question: How will we be better with only one site?

Answer:

  • We will be bringing the best of both sites together to one site.
  • Sacraments will be celebrated (Baptisms, Communion, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage)
  • We will no longer be in debt.
  • Much needed repairs, maintenance and improvements will be completed to the remaining site
  • We – the Pastor, laity volunteers, commissions and the parish body as a whole - will be united in efforts to expand our mission as previously described and further grow as a community

July 7th Q&A - letter from Father Bob

From the Rectory

     Are we there yet?  Summer has arrived and along with it comes the summer vacation tradition.  Many families take automobile trips together to visit family and friends or simply to experience America.  These vacations involve long hours in an automobile fighting traffic and construction and at some point someone will ask “Are we there yet?”

     Our parish is on a journey as well although ours has nothing to do with summer vacation.  Our journey is a discernment process regarding the future place of worship for our parish as well as the direction and focus of that worship. 

     During this process we have received many questions and comments regarding these decisions.  People still believe that the decision has already been made as to which site will remain open but I must reiterate that no decision has been made.  Questions about the criteria being used for the decision making process have been asked.  Concerns have been raised about the condition of parking lots and buildings and utility costs while others wondered about space for Religious Education classes and social gatherings and the needs of our elderly and homebound.  The historical significance of buildings has been mentioned as well as the ability to reconfigure these buildings for future needs. 

     The future of the parish cemetery was brought up as well as the parish debt and whether this process will finally pay that debt.  I can assure you that our transition committee values the input of each individual and that we are doing our best to address all concerns and questions.  I do want to personally thank our parishioners for their patience and understanding and I also thank our transition team and our intercessory prayer team.   

     Are we there yet?  The answer is no we are not and we have a long way to go but I ask all of us to pray for our parish journey.  When we took our family vacations we began each day in the car by offering the Rosary.  I know that our intercessory prayer team is praying for the parish but I hope that all of us are doing the same.  If we sincerely put ourselves in the hands of our good and loving God and ask the Holy Spirit to inspire us and lead us in this process than I am confident we will not be disappointed.

     Finally I ask us to look to the future.  On our family vacations the thought of our final destination was something that sustained us along the journey.  Look to the future and realize how all of this will better enable us a parish to Unleash the Gospel of Jesus Christ and minister to the people here in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Fr. Bob Bauer


Question: Besides the financial issues discussed in last week’s bulletin, what other criteria is being used to make the site selection decision?

Answer: There are many other criteria that are being considered. Among these items we are looking at/considering are: 

  • Space for outreach (current and future)
  • Space for Religious Education
  • Gathering space for social events
  • Meeting space for groups/councils
  • Adequate parking
  • Visibility of the church within our community as we endeavor to “Unleash the Gospel”
  • Accessibility for our seniors/handicapped

Question: Where will Religious Education classes be held? Specifically, is there space for them if the St. Clement site remains open?

Answer: Many options are being explored:

  • Re-purposing the old convent
  • A mutual agreement with the new owners of the St. Clement school is being worked into the purchase agreement for potential access and use of the School in the evening (just in case)
  • The architect may provide other options for either site as well
  • There might be something we haven’t thought of yet. Please keep sending your suggestions.

Question: Will Mass times change?

Answer: No, we will keep the same Mass times.

Question: Will objects from the closed church be used at the remaining site?

Answer: Of course, we will do everything we can to honor the history and past of the closed church. This is a very important part of the Transition team’s duties. 

Question: Concerns, and suggestions have been expressed about the criteria being used  to make this decision. It has been suggested by many of you, that some of the things we need to consider in the decision-making process are marketability of each property, cost of repairs, buildings, etc.

Answer: It would be helpful for you to know that part of our budget process each year includes a close look at the cost of maintaining our buildings and all operating costs including heat, water, and electric. This last September, as part of that normal, annual process, the Parish  did a full comprehensive study of all buildings with an outside firm to get the actual condition of boilers, roofs, and all structure, etc., including the parking lots. These studies were recently given to an architect who will consider the current conditions of each site and necessary repairs and needed modifications to provide us with a vision of each site's current and future needs. This will help us in the decision process.


Question: Many repairs will be needed at either site chosen. Many of you have pointed this out and wondered how we will pay for the repairs. 

Answer: The proceeds from the sale of the site that is ultimately closed will fund the repairs and improvements of the remaining site. 

Question:     Many questions and comments were received regarding the St. Clement Cemetery.
Answer:   The St. Clement Cemetery is on a separate parcel of land and will remain functioning regardless of which site is chosen.


Question:   There have been many questions regarding the need to consolidate to one site if the debt will be paid off.

Answer:  While the debt will almost be paid off with the sale of the school, the 2012 debt repayment plan submitted by the Parish to the Archdiocese was accepted with the stipulation that the parish must consider a reduction to one site if weekly collections are not adequate to maintain two sites, including current operating costs and ongoing maintenance and repairs. As reflected by the weekly collections reported in the offertory section of the bulletin, it has been determined that maintaining two sites is not realistic. 


Question:  Concerns were also brought up regarding seniors and those who may not have adequate transportation to and from Mass each week.

Answer:  Thank you for your concerns regarding those parishioners who may not have transportation to and from mass.  The team is taking all concerns into consideration when making the decision as to which site will remain open.  These may include possible new ministries to address this issue and any other additional issues that may come up.

Question:     Many questions and comments were received related to the sale of the St. Clement School building as being an indication that a decision has been made, and that the St. Clement site is more marketable and will be sold. More clarification has been asked.

Answer:  We can see how there could be some confusion. As stated in Fr. Bob’s letter, there has been NO decision made by either the parish or the Archdiocese as to which site will remain open. Ultimately, this is a parish decision. Talks are ongoing regarding the sale of the school property which is a separate parcel from the church and cemetery. Within the talks, provisions will be made to allow St. Mary to use the parking lot and school building as needed.  Thus, the parish will retain the flexibility to select whichever site is determined to be the best situation to be fiscally sound to continue the Lord’s mission.

Question:     Concerns were raised regarding the discrepancy in the balance remaining on the debt after the sale of the school.

Answer:  Another excellent question. Unfortunately, some lines of the letter were omitted by the publisher from the Bulletin version. As in any real estate sale there are costs that are incurred such as brokerage fees, land survey, etc...  These costs will need to come out of the sale price of the property which will leave a remaining debt of approximately $200, 000.


We will continue to address your question and concerns in future bulletins and on our Website.

All question or concerns can be sent to [email protected] or place them in the Gold boxes in the churches.

We ask for your continuing input and prayers as Our Journey continues….

Fr. Bob and Our Journey Transition Team

St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families, pray for us.