, Salem, MA

Local News

January 11, 2013

Catholic Church: 'New beginning'

North Shore parishes in the first phase of archdiocese's reorganization plan


Some collaboratives are first in line because they indicated an eagerness to get going.

“We went strongly with places that seemed ready,” Soper said yesterday during a briefing at the Pastoral Center in Braintree.

In each collaborative in this first phase, the current pastors will be asked to resign, although they will stay on at least until the collaborative becomes operational in July.

“The collaboratives are being treated as open parishes so anybody can apply” to be pastor, Soper said.

The new pastor, who will be named in March, could be one of the current pastors within the collaborative, or a priest from outside, Soper said.

Even though collaboratives, after July, will become the working church entities in Salem and Beverly, individual parishes and churches will remain.

All of the parishes within the collaborative will continue to host Sunday Masses, although Mass schedules could change. The finances of each parish also will remain intact.

It’s possible that priests within a collaborative will move into one rectory, although that decision will be made locally, as will many future decisions.

“There is going to be an empowerment at the local level that is going to be extraordinary,” said Craig Gibson, a member of the archdiocese’s Pastoral Planning Commission.

Each collaborative will develop a pastoral plan on how best to serve the parish and how to carry out evangelization. It will be submitted to O’Malley next year.

In Salem, a parish task force has been meeting for months to explore and build support for the collaborative concept.

“I think what we’re trying to do is take the best of all the parishes and bring it all together,” Andrea Schwartz, co-chairwoman of the Salem Parishes Task Force, said yesterday. “We’re trying to make everything stronger for the purpose of evangelization.”

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