Monday, October 22, 2007

Merger provides stronger community, more opportunities

Cheri Perkins Martz reported in the September 20, 2007 print edition of our Milwaukee Catholic Herald. (Last I was able to check, this article was not posted in the archived back issues of the online edition.) On July 1st, a new merged Blessed Savior Church was formed from the merger of four parishes on the northwest side of Milwaukee.

Here are their District 11 stats for place among 11 parishes, percentage, and total attendance at Sunday Mass.
8th 30% 430 Corpus Christi Church
2nd 56% 335 Mary, Queen of Martyrs Church
9th 29% 194 Our Lady of Sorrows Church
3rd 55% 307 St. Philip Neri Church
When asked by your Catholic Herald in May 2007 what they hoped to accomplish during the merger, Chip Swearingen, the spokesperson for the merged parishes said, "Coming together as one parish, we believed we'd have a stronger community and a greater opportunity for ministry in the neighborhoods."

How's it working out? All I know is what I read in our archdiocesan newspaper.
Swearingen said that the parish is estimating 300 parishioners in the pews on Sundays. Before the merger, Swearingen told your Catholic Herald that following the merge, Blessed Savior could have 3,000 parishioners coming from all four parishes.

It certainly could have, since the District statistics showed 3,273 members in the constituent parishes.

That raises some questions unanswered in the remainder of the article. Does he mean, as he appears to, 300 total at Mass? If he meant 900 divided among three Masses for Sunday, I assume the article would have said so. Even 900 is a drop from 1,266 on the District statistics. Are those people attending Mass elsewhere? Of the possible 3,000 members, how many did they wind up with, how many joined other parishes, and how many are unaccounted for? If this merger went as badly as it appears from this article, what have the people in charge of archdiocesan planning learned from this experience? Or is this what they consider a successful merger?

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