MOST REVEREND LEONARD P. BLAIR
ARCHBISHOP OF HARTFORD
ON THE MERGER OF
CHRIST THE BREAD OF LIFE PARISH OF HAMDEN, DIVINE MERCY PARISH OF HAMDEN, AND OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL PARISH OF HAMDEN, CONNECTICUT
WHEREAS, Christ the Bread of Life Parish of Hamden, Connecticut, was formed from a merger of three parishes on June 29, 2017; Divine Mercy Parish of Hamden, Connecticut, was formed from a merger of two parishes on June 29, 2017; and Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Hamden, Connecticut, was formed from a merger of two parishes on June 29, 2017; the aforementioned parishes were formed as a result of a pastoral planning process in the Archdiocese of Hartford;
WHEREAS, I, the undersigned, as Archbishop, with the assistance of the Office for Pastoral Planning, gave the initial permission in December 2020 for the pastors to initiate the process of consultation and the formation of a transition team composed of representatives from each parish in Hamden;
WHEREAS, an additional seventeen parishioners were invited to be part of the subcommittee deliberating issues of pastoral care, communications, and religious formation, not only to address the merger but also to participate in an opportunity to revitalize and redefine a parish in a manner responsive to the times in which we are living;
WHEREAS, the merger of the above-named parishes will reunite the single family of the Catholic Faith established at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1891, albeit with a much larger family and a rich history. Originally established to respond effectively to the needs of Irish and later Italian immigrants, the new parish will embrace the future, by welcoming many more Catholics, including the descendants of those first Catholics of Hamden, a multi-ethnic Spanish-speaking community, and those of Asian and African descent;
WHEREAS, the cultural diversity of the new parish will be matched by a variety of ministries reflecting Christ’s compassion: a hallmark of Catholic ministry in Hamden is that of Social Justice in the midst of a municipality with a wide range of material resources and human needs. Thus, the merger of these parishes presents the opportunity to join and thereby strengthen the individual efforts and assets to support those who struggle and to expand advocacy for structural change. Wherefore, more can be done together;
WHEREAS, the pastors and the Christian Faithful recognize the need to pastorally respond to the realities of demographic shifts, patterns of worship, and available clergy, it is the fervent hope that the unification brought by this merger will not only strengthen current ministries, but even more importantly, revitalize and expand the worshipping community in the Hamden area;
WHEREAS, the pastors of the aforementioned parishes consulted their parishioners, parish councils, finance councils, and trustees of their respective parishes; and the intention or will of donors, any restrictions on assets, including land, and any acquired rights have been examined and taken into consideration. The Presbyteral Council was consulted on September 27, 2021, in accordance with canon 515 §2 of the Code of Canon Law in relation to the modification of parishes and posed no objection; and
WHEREFORE, having judged that sufficient just causes are present and that the good of souls will not thereby be impaired,
I HEREBY DECREE the “merger,” following from canons 121 & 515 §2 of the Code of Canon Law, by which Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Christ the Bread of Life Parish are amalgamated and subsumed into Divine Mercy Parish; the separate juridic (legal) personalities of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Christ the Bread of Life Parish will cease to exist, and they will no longer be subjects of obligations and rights under canon law; the new merged entity will be known as Saint Paul VI Parish, with the following sacred edifices: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Hamden, Saint Rita Church in Hamden, Blessed Sacrament Church in Hamden, and Ascension Church in Hamden.
The assets and liabilities of the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Christ the Bread of Life Parish will become the assets and liabilities of Saint Paul VI Parish. The administration of the church buildings and premises will be based at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church premises. The sacramental registers, along with any other parish records and historical documents, shall also be preserved at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church premises, according to the norm of canon 535, §§1-5. The territorial boundaries of Saint Paul VI Parish will henceforth be the combined boundaries of it and the former parishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Christ the Bread of Life.
This decree becomes effective as of January 1, 2022, prior to which the substance of it is to be communicated to parishioners at the aforementioned parishes, including the display in an appropriate place so that parishioners can read it as they enter or exit the churches. It will also be available on the Archdiocese of Hartford website, under News-Public Notices. Canonical recourse may be made within the peremptory time limit of ten (10) business days from the legitimate notification of the decree and in accordance with the norm of law (CIC canon 1734 §2).
All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, on the 28th day of September in the Year of Our Lord 2021.