For a couple of months now we have been following the developments in Philadelphia regarding the planned merger of the two Ordinariate communities (St. Michael the Archangel in Mount Airy and Blessed John Henry Newman in Strafford). Every month a new possible worship venue has presented itself – now there are three serious alternatives.
Father David Ousley writes:
Next Sunday, September 13th, everyone from Newman and St Michael’s is invited to a pot-luck brunch at the rectory (6611 Ardleigh Street) at about 10:30. This is a social event, to give the people from the two congregations an informal occasion to get to know one another. I hope you will all come. The personal relations are essential if a merger of the two is to go smoothly. If you can bring food, please let Beth Ousley know (that way we can make arrangements should there be any glaring holes in the menu). After brunch, I will take any who are interested over to St Madeleine Sophie for a tour of the church. St Madeleine’s is a worship site of Holy Cross, and is “available” should we think it would work for us as a permanent location. The Sunday Masses on the 13th will be as usual: nine at St Michael’s and six at Newman.
The consensus after our visits to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Bridgeport and St Gertrude’s in West Conshohocken was that both locations would be possible for us. Each has advantages and disadvantages. I have asked the pastors of Sacred Heart and St Matthew’s to begin the process of coming up with some figures: financial considerations are of course a key piece of the puzzle. I have also asked Fr Grogan to do the same for St Madeleine’s in case we decide that that too would be possible. Given the World Meeting this month, I do not expect anything before October.
While we await the numbers, I would like us to be thinking about the possible merger. In particular, I would ask you to make a list of what is most important in the current life of the congregation, St Michael’s or Newman. We want to be sure that the things which are most important become part of the merged congregation. In order to be sure this happens, we need to be thinking about such things now.
Both congregations have been through many changes and challenges in recent years, and it is a testimony to their faithfulness that both are so solid in the faith and in their commitment to Catholic life. The merger, if it goes ahead, will be one more change: the merged congregation will be different from St Michael’s and from Newman. Hopefully it will be better: greater than the sum of the parts. Merger makes sense in many ways, but it is still a change. Some of us are more averse to change than others. I want to be sensitive to all concerns, and hope that if you see anything that is not being addressed as we go along, you will bring it to my attention. This is something I hope we can approach with joyous anticipation, even if we are among those who temperamentally prefer everything to stay the same.
Fr David Ousley