PLATTSBURGH — Three becomes one in Holy Cross, one of the newest Diocese of Ogdensburg parishes that joins St. Peter's, St. John's and Our Lady of Victory parishes in the City of Plattsburgh.
“We were asked by the Diocese to come with a plan for all the different parishes in the Diocese,” Msgr. Dennis Duprey of St. Peter's Church said.
“In the county, that's been going on now for about two years. We decided in the City of Plattsburgh that would be beneficial for us to come up with plans.”
The parishes already had cooperative ventures including educational programs.
“It's not new to us but we were told we would have about two and half priests,” Duprey said.
“So, how do we deal with those where right now we have three and a half so we would end up with one less.
And in the future, we may only have two.”
The plan for Plattsburgh, developed locally and approved by Bishop Terry R. LaValley, is for the city parishes to be merged into one parish with four worship locations (sites), according to a diocese press release.
The future merged parish, Holy Cross, would be led by one pastor, one full-time parochial vicar and one half-time parochial vicar. Bishop LaValley has set the date for this to take effect as of January 1, 2020.
Bishop LaValley has appointed the Rev. Kevin McEwan pastor, the Rev. Eduardo Pesigan, full-time parochial vicar, and Msgr. Duprey, special interim parochial vicar .
The Rev. William Reamer will become full-time Catholic chaplain at the University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital.
The new parish plans were driven by the number of priests as well as other aspects.
“The particular thing is it's the commission of the Bishop to make sure our parishes' churches have vibrant ministries,” Duprey said.
“We do, but we want to maintain them in the future. To do that, a lot of us duplicate ministries so to share those ministry resources not in terms of personnel but also in terms of finances, building maintenance, a whole series of things that go into that.
We got together about a year and a half ago, I think that would be fair to say.”
All three parish councils produced three representatives a piece from each parish in addition to the pastor.
“We met with a steering committee many times during the year to come up with a plan,” he said.
“It was developed off of that, and back and forth to the parish councils. We gave various options to people. We told them what we were thinking, how this could work and then we got some feedback. We made adjustments. We are making toward that fuller thing. We're not there yet. We've been doing many pieces.”
For example, the parishes' youth ministries programs and religious educations programs are combined.
“We had our Catholic schools together with St. Alexander's in Morrisonville as well,” Duprey said.
“Our social outreach is coming closer together. And now we're going to have all the priests live in one residence, and we will put our office space in another place. Our social and outreach program at another, and that is Our Lady of Victory on that property.”
The offices for all three parishes will be located at 7 Margaret St. on the property of St. John’s, the priests’ residence will be at 114 Cornelia St. on the property of St. Peter’s, and the Social and Outreach Center will be on the property of Our Lady of Victory on South Catherine Street.
It is anticipated that Msgr. Duprey will retire in Spring 2020 from his interim ministry having reached his 75th birthday, and it is expected that he will be replaced at that time, according to a press release.
“We wanted the new parish to be called Holy Cross,” Duprey said.
“The Bishop approved that some time ago, but we have to go to a court to get that changed. So, we have incorporated things to change. It will take some time to do that.”
Since the churches were named for mainline saints, Blessed Mother Mary, St. John and St. Peter, the priests wanted a name that would be at least at that level or above.
“We were looking mostly for a divine name,” Duprey said.
“We wanted a feast day that would fall within a normal time that we might be able to have some outdoor expression of that if we wanted to do. Feast of the Holy Cross is mid-September.”
Feast days were considered from May to September, and the priests put out the various options.
“We asked our parish councils to come up with several choices,” Duprey said.
“We took those choices and filtered it through the steering committee. Then, we took the highest two choices and gave them to the congregations to vote on. And, they chose Holy Cross.”
The process was complicated and lengthy with a lot of consultation.
“Not that everybody agrees on everything, but that's the nature of how you consult,” Duprey said.
“If you don't have any people on the other side of the fence, you might just well talk to a mirror.”
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NEW WEEKEND MASS SCHEDULES
(effective Nov. 30/Dec.1)
4 p.m. at St. Peter’s Church and 5:15 p.m. at St. John’s Church.
8:30 a.m. at St. John’s Church, 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Victory Church, 11:15 a.m. at St. Peter's Church and 5 p.m. Newman Center.