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Bishop Issues Decree Renaming Alpena Parish
STEVEN J RAICA
Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia
Renaming of the Parish Catholic Community of Alpena to All Saints
The communion of the saints is a belief expressed in the Nicene Creed, but it goes back to the origins of our faith. The earliest writing of the New Testament, St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, speaks of this reality in Chapter 12. St John also affirms this in his first Epistle “what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 1:3) Even the Didache, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, exhorted the faithful to “seek out day by day the faces of the saints” (Didache Chapter 4) As Pope Benedict XVI remarked during his Angelus address for All Saints Day in 2009 “how beautiful and comforting is the communion of Saints! It is a reality that instils a different dimension into our whole life. We are never alone! We are part of a spiritual "company" where profound solidarity reigns: the good of each one is for the benefit of everyone, and vice versa, common happiness shines on every individual. It is a mystery which, in some measure, we can already experience in this world, in the family, in friendship, and especially in the spiritual community of the Church.”
Our Holy Father Francis reassures us that the “Saints are not supermen, nor were they born perfect. They are like us, like each one of us. They are people who, before reaching the glory of heaven, lived normal lives with joys and sorrows, struggles and hopes…. This is the life of a Saint. Saints are people who for love of God did not put conditions on him in their life; they were not hypocrites; they spent their lives at the service of others.” Moreover, the saints point out to us the path for the New Evangelization, “the Saints give us a message. They tell us: trust in the Lord because the Lord does not disappoint! He never disappoints, he is a good friend always at our side. Through their witness the Saints encourage us to not be afraid of going against the tide or of being misunderstood and mocked when we speak about him and the Gospel; by their life they show us that he who stays faithful to God and to his Word experiences the comfort of his love on this earth and then a “hundredfold” in eternity.” (Angelus November 1, 2013)
The Church then is truly a family, and the Parish is truly a home. It is precisely in the celebration of the sacraments, which accompany the major events of our lives, that we most clearly experience this fellowship both with one another and with “those who have gone before us with the sign of faith” (Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer 1). As the Catechism teaches us, “To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.” (Catechism of the CatholicChurch 1370).
In my decree of merger dated May 1, 2015, I indicated that the temporary name of the Parish would be Catholic Community of Alpena but that “the people of the Catholic Community of Alpena, at some indeterminate future time, can recommend a name for the new parish.” Your canonical pastor, Reverend Joseph Muszkiewicz, has communicated to me that there was a three week consultation process which ended on November 22, 2015, the Solemnity of Christ the King, and that subsequently the Pastoral Council met and reviewed the suggestions, and proposed to me three possible names. Having received this information, and knowing that the process was open and fair, I have decided to accept the suggestion of All Saints. I make this choice in accord with the wishes of the faithful of the Catholic Community of Alpena, but also because of the above mentioned reasons and the importance of the saints in the life of a Parish community. I also wish to reiterate that all that was contained in the original decree remains in force, especially number 4, concerning the use of the churches for some sacramental ministrations to meet the pastoral needs of the faithful. Moreover, the names of the four churches that comprise All Saints Parish are not changed or altered by this decree.
Therefore, according to the norm of Canon 1218, and the faculty granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. 329/99/L), I hereby declare that the parish currently known as the Catholic Community of Alpena shall henceforth be known as All Saints. I direct that this decree be given to the pastoral leadership of the parish, and that its contents, especially the dispositive part of this decree, be communicated to parishioners at all of the Masses the week-end of Saturday, February 6-Sunday, February 7, 2016. I further direct that this decree be published on the website of the Diocese of Gaylord (www.dioceseofgaylord.org) which will be presumed to be the official notification of this action.
Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Gaylord on this 2nd day of February, in the year of our Lord, 2016, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
+Steven J Raica
Bishop of Gaylord
Vicki L Looker