Hamden Parish Merger Update

August 2021

In an effort to keep the members of Christ the Bread of Life, Divine Mercy, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes informed with regard to the progress of our transition to one parish, we have put together these frequently asked questions.  We ask you to please read them as we hope they will assist you.  Most of all, we ask you please to pray for this process moving us toward an even more energized, unified and growing Catholic community in Hamden.  That is very important as we seek the Spirit’s guidance.
 
Why is this merger happening?
The primary shifts that have fueled parish mergers across the northern tier of the U.S. are a precipitous decline in the number of regularly worshipping Catholics, a migration of population away from our areas, and a related decline in the number of priests to serve the number of parishes we currently have.  Unforeseen changes since 2017 also have affected our local situation.  The ultimate goal of coming together is to create a parish in Hamden that is sustainable with each of us actively working toward significant growth of the worshipping community through personal invitation.

What is meant by a single parish?
In every way, we will be called to be one family of faith.  That means that our mission, our ministries, office administration, and staff will be coordinated as one.  It is important to remember that a merger calls us to work as one; that is different than operating in reality as three parishes with priests and staff serving essentially separate communities.

Will any churches close?
The total capacity of the four Hamden churches is approximately 3,250 across the four churches. Our total Hamden worshipping assembly in July 2021 averaged 1,842 per weekend, and averaged 2,646 in 2019, prior to COVID.  No decisions have been made regarding the possible closure of any church.  Any such discussions need to be in concert with the pastor of the new parish.  The emotional response that these potential changes may create is not lost on anyone in parish leadership or on the Transition Team.  At the same time, our faith in Christ nurtures us and sustains us in every circumstance; Jesus promised us, “I am with you always.”
 
Who will be the pastor?  What about deacons, parish staff?
Archbishop Blair will appoint a pastor and a parochial vicar (assistant) to coincide with the merger which is scheduled to take place January 1, 2022.  As clergy, deacons also receive their assignments from the Archbishop.  Staff decisions will be made in accordance with the human resources guidelines of the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Will our Mass schedule change?
Yes.  It is anticipated that a pastor and a parochial vicar (assistant) will be assigned to Hamden.  Following
Archdiocesan guidelines regarding the number of Masses that can be celebrated by priests, and considering the distances among the four churches, current parish schedules, and attendance patterns, our plan is to develop an interim schedule that will serve the needs of the community in the first months of this new configuration.  We will solicit input and do our best to respond.  We thank you in advance for your openness to the changes which must accompany this merger remembering that the Celebration of Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life.”  Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324-27.  

What happens to the financial resources of our parishes?
The financial resources of the three parishes will be combined into one.  The Transition Team Buildings and Finance Committee is working with Archdiocesan guidelines to develop a preliminary budget to serve the needs of the new parish. All financial resources and donations stay in Hamden; they become one to support the new parish of which we all will be a part.

What about Parish and Finance Councils?
There eventually will be one pastoral council and one finance council providing support and guidance to the pastor of the new parish. 


How will the merger affect religious formation programs?
As with every other ministry of the new parish, there will be one unified religious formation program for youth as well as one Rite of Christian Initiation process for adults.  The coordinators of the religious formation programs have been working together to begin the single new program this October with classes located at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Center on South New Road.

Why is evangelization a key element of the merger?
Catholics know that a close and deepening relationship with Jesus Christ is key to remaining faithful.  It is critical that we are an invitational community, reaching out to those who have left the Sacraments and those who are seeking faith.  The Alpha Course, which currently has participants from each Hamden parish, is an important element toward drawing people to Christ.  Relying on the Holy Spirit and our shared outreach, may we embrace the future with renewed faith. 


Actualización de la fusión de la parroquia de Hamden

Agosto 2021

En un esfuerzo por mantener informados a los miembros de las parroquias de Cristo el Pan de Vida, la Divina Misericordia y Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo con respecto al progreso de nuestra transición a una parroquia, hemos reunido estas preguntas frecuentes. Le pedimos que las lea ya que esperamos que le ayuden. Sobre todo, les pedimos que oren por este proceso que nos mueve hacia una comunidad católica aún más enérgica, unificada y en crecimiento en Hamden. Eso es muy importante cuando buscamos la guía del Espíritu.
 
¿Por qué está ocurriendo esta fusión?
Los cambios primarios que han impulsado las fusiones parroquiales en el norte de los EE. UU. Son una disminución precipitada en el número de católicos que adoran regularmente, una migración de la población fuera de nuestras áreas y una disminución relacionada en el número de sacerdotes para servir al número de parroquias que tenemos actualmente. Los cambios imprevistos desde 2017 también han afectado nuestra situación local. El objetivo final de unirnos es crear una parroquia en Hamden que sea sostenible con cada uno de nosotros trabajando activamente hacia un crecimiento significativo de la comunidad de adoración a través de una invitación personal.

 ¿Qué se entiende por una sola parroquia?
En todos los sentidos, seremos llamados a ser una familia de fe. Eso significa que nuestra misión, nuestros ministerios, la administración de la oficina y el personal estarán coordinados como uno solo. Es importante recordar que una fusión nos llama a trabajar como uno solo; eso es diferente a operar en realidad como tres parroquias con sacerdotes y personal sirviendo a comunidades esencialmente separadas.
 
¿Cerrará alguna iglesia?
La capacidad total de las cuatro iglesias de Hamden es de aproximadamente 3250 en las cuatro iglesias. Nuestra asamblea de adoración total de Hamden en julio de 2021 promedió 1.842 por fin de semana, y un promedio de 2.646 en 2019, antes del COVID. No se han tomado decisiones con respecto al posible cierre de ninguna iglesia. Cualquier discusión de este tipo debe realizarse en concierto con el párroco de la nueva parroquia. La respuesta emocional que estos cambios potenciales pueden crear no se le escapa a nadie en el liderazgo parroquial o en el Equipo de Transición. Al mismo tiempo, nuestra fe en Cristo nos nutre y nos sostiene en toda circunstancia; Jesús nos prometió: "Yo estoy con ustedes siempre".

¿Quién será el pastor? ¿Qué pasa con los diáconos, el personal de la parroquia?
El Arzobispo Blair nombrará un pastor y un vicario parroquial (asistente) para coincidir con la fusión que está programada para el 1 de enero de 2022. Como clérigos, los diáconos también reciben sus asignaciones del Arzobispo. Las decisiones del personal se tomarán de acuerdo con las pautas de recursos humanos de la Arquidiócesis de Hartford.

¿Cambiará nuestro horario de misas?
Si. Se anticipa que un pastor y un vicario parroquial (asistente) serán asignados a Hamden. Siguiente las pautas arquidiocesanas con respecto al número de misas que pueden celebrar los sacerdotes, y considerando las distancias entre las cuatro iglesias, los horarios parroquiales actuales y los patrones de asistencia, nuestro plan es desarrollar un horario interino que sirva a las necesidades de la comunidad en el primer momento. meses de esta nueva configuración. Solicitaremos comentarios y haremos todo lo posible para responder. Les agradecemos de antemano su apertura a los cambios que deben acompañar a esta fusión recordando que la Celebración de la Eucaristía es la “fuente y cumbre de la vida cristiana”. Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, 1324-27.

¿Qué pasa con los recursos económicos de nuestras parroquias?
Los recursos financieros de las tres parroquias se combinarán en una. El Comité de Edificios y Finanzas del Equipo de Transición está trabajando con las pautas de la Arquidiócesis para desarrollar un presupuesto preliminar que sirva a las necesidades de la nueva parroquia. Todos los recursos financieros y las donaciones se quedan en Hamden; se convierten en uno para apoyar a la nueva parroquia de la que todos formaremos parte.
 
¿Qué pasa con los consejos parroquiales y financieros?
Eventualmente habrá un consejo pastoral y un consejo de finanzas que brindarán apoyo y orientación al párroco de la nueva parroquia.


¿Cómo afectará la fusión a los programas de formación religiosa?
Como con todos los demás ministerios de la nueva parroquia, habrá un programa de formación religiosa unificado para jóvenes, así como un proceso de Rito de Iniciación Cristiana para adultos. Los coordinadores de los programas de formación religiosa han estado trabajando juntos para comenzar el nuevo programa único este octubre con clases ubicadas en el Centro Parroquial Our Lady of Mount Carmel en South New Road.

 ¿Por qué la evangelización es un elemento clave de la fusión?
Los católicos saben que una relación cercana y profunda con Jesucristo es clave para permanecer fieles. Es fundamental que seamos una comunidad de invitación, que llegue a aquellos que han dejado los sacramentos y a aquellos que buscan la fe. El Curso Alpha, que actualmente cuenta con participantes de cada parroquia de Hamden, es un elemento importante para atraer a las personas a Cristo. Confiando en el Espíritu Santo y nuestro alcance compartido, que podamos abrazar el futuro con fe renovada. 


 

Dear Friends,

For if the sacred liturgy holds first place in the life of the Church, then the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life that cleanses us and strengthens us to live not for ourselves but for God and to be united to each other by the closest ties of love.

– St. Paul VI,  Mysterium Fidei, The Mystery of Faith1965
 
St. Paul VI’s 1965 encyclical is a powerful reminder of the importance of the Eucharist in the life of the Church. We are a Eucharistic people who gather week after week to greet the risen Lord in our midst. Around the altar you and I are privileged to have the most profound encounter in our lives: with Jesus Christ! It is strange to write my first letter to you as pastor without having the experience of celebrating Mass with all of you. I look forward in the ensuing weeks to gather with you at the celebration of the Eucharist.

You are the parishioners that are entrusted to me as we form our new parish. A parish that combines three former parishes: Christ the Bread of Life, Divine Mercy Parish, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A parish which incorporate not only those three parishes but also the spiritual legacy of our former parishes of Blessed Sacrament, Ascension, St. Ann, St. John the Baptist, St. Stephen, St. Rita, and St. Joan of Arc. We have four churches, two wonderful schools, a creative faith formation program, a cemetery, food pantries, strong parish based organizations, and a tradition of helping those in need. We have a wonderful tradition of love and devotion to our faith community. I am honored to be able to be part of this tradition and am humbled to shepherd this community into our next chapter.


We have a wonderful history and tradition here in Hamden, a tradition that I – as your new pastor – hope to build upon as we envision and grow our new parish community. I know that to you I am an idea or a thought. From my years of priesthood and the fact that Hamden is not far from Derby where I grew up, I know a surprisingly number of you, yet to the majority of this new parish I am the unknown factor, the new guy on the block. I know that you may wonder what I am planning, what I hope to accomplish here in Hamden. To that question all I can say is that our parish must be one that builds on the foundation of the past, but looks to the future. We must proclaim Christ both within our walls and beyond each and every day.

There are many questions that I have been asked already about Mass times or just about the day to day life of the new parish. I have no answers as of yet, except the obvious, we have many masses scheduled each week across our town. We have three priests assigned to the parish for now. There are also funerals, weddings and other celebrations that have to be covered. We need to listen to each other as we make these important decisions together. The first task I always set before me in a new assignment is to listen to our parishioners. Unfortunately, in this time of COVID a parish meeting seems to be out of the question. Perhaps in the ensuing weeks we can schedule a ZOOM meeting or a series of Zoom meetings to share our hopes and visions for the new parish.

Another aspect of parish life is finances. I have scheduled a meeting with the former Finance Councils and trustees of each of our three former parishes. We will together look to the future of our new parish in regard to financial viability. I will also like to appoint a Finance Committee of St. Paul VI parish that will advise me and the parish on these important issues.
 
I am happy to be with all of you here in Hamden. Your – ahem our – town is beautiful. During the weeks in December I was visiting Hamden quite a bit and saw her all dressed up for Christmas! I am looking forward to being your pastor.
 
Thank you for all you have done and will do for our parish.
 Father Tiano

Pastor




On Thursday, September 9, 2021, Fr. Jeffrey Romans, Fr. Eduar Gutierrez, Fr. Joseph Napolitano and Msgr. Joseph DiSciacca met with the trustees Lorraine DeNicola, Robert Ugolik, Eileen Moriarty, William Popoli, Michael Raymond and Robert Zambrano to review and sign the letter formally requesting from Archbishop Leonard Blair that the three Hamden parishes of Christ the Bread of Life, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Divine Mercy be merged. This letter will be presented to the Archdiocesan Priest Council on Monday, September 27, 2021. We anticipate hearing from Archbishop Blair shortly after he consults with the Priest Council. We will update parishioners as quickly as we can once we have heard from the Archbishop.


We are happy to inform you that Archbishop Leonard Blair has appointed


Father Christopher M. Tiano to serve as the founding pastor of Saint Paul VI Parish, Hamden, effective January 5, 2021.  Father Tiano currently is pastor of Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Parish, in Derby.

 Father Tiano is a native of Derby.  He attended Fairfield College Preparatory School and Georgetown University in Washington, DC prior to beginning his studies for the priesthood at St. John Seminary in Boston. Father Tiano was ordained in 1989. Father earned his License in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1996.

 Father Tiano served as the executive editor of The Catholic Transcript from 1996 to 2003.  From 2013 until 2016 he was the Director of the then Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education and Evangelization. He also has ministered in parishes located in Hartford, New Britain, Torrington, West Haven, and South Windsor. In Torrington he was the pastor of the Torrington Cluster of Roman Catholic Parishes which included four parishes and a school.

 Father Tiano is excited to begin his ministry here in Hamden as we begin this new chapter in the Catholic community in our city.
 
One very important thing I hope you will do at this point is to include Father in your daily prayers.  He has been called to pastor the Catholic Community in Hamden at a time which is exciting and filled with promise.  It also will take a great deal of hard work.  With God’s help and your support, the Catholic faith will continue to grow under his leadership.


Thank you to all who submitted a name for our new Parish.  All suggestions have been forwarded to our Transition Team.  They will  review the suggestions at their August 16th meeting and make a selection to present to the Archbishop.


August 10, 2021

Christ The Bread of Life Parish