Frequently Asked Questions
What is All Things New?
All Things New is a strategic pastoral planning process where the Archdiocese examines all of our parishes, schools, ministries and agencies, evaluating our effectiveness as a local Church in proclaiming the Gospel and identifying opportunities for improvement and renewal.
The goals are to "make All Things New" by 1) Gospel renewal in our parishes, schools and other ministry efforts, 2) enhancing evangelization efforts to those on the margins of society, and 3) securing a vibrant future for the Church in St. Louis.
This initiative is in response to the call of our Lord to be missionary disciples, and to the Church's desire to "make All Things New" by the Power and Joy of the Gospel.
The landscape of Catholic faithful in our archdiocese looks different today than it did even a few decades ago. This process will allow us to move our ministries forward to meet people where they are-spiritually and geographically-while remaining constant in mission and rooted in faith.
How is the landscape of the Archdiocese different now than it was just a few decades ago?
Over the last ten years, the number of priests has been declining, the number of Catholics attending Masses has declined, where Catholics live has shifted, the availability of resources has decreased and the need for evangelization and social outreach has increased. CLICK TO VIEW STATISTICS AND TRENDS.
What was the process behind All Things New?
For the last two years, the question we have been asking is “Which parish communities make the most sense to come together in light of demographic shifts, evangelization and social outreach efforts, resources, and priest availability?”
We compiled sacramental, financial and demographic statistics over the last decade for every parish and school in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
In addition to the feedback we received from 70,000 parishioners across the Archdiocese through the Disciple Maker Index survey, we hosted nearly 350 Listening Sessions for 178 parishes, surveyed 18,000 parish school parents, administrators, teachers, staff, donors, community partners, and volunteers, met with community, civic and business organizations, held focus groups, and had conversations at the deanery and parish levels, both in groups and one-on-one.
Our Planning Committee created three consecutive and different draft models, building on feedback from the previous draft model.
The Priest Council, as required by Church law, provided consultative input to the Archbishop by reviewing all of the data pertaining to each parish that is a part of any of the recommended models involving any potential change.
Who advised Archbishop Rozanski?
In addition to the feedback the Archbishop received from priests, parish and school employees and parishioners, various subcommittees also helped guide the conversation and discernment process:
- Key Parish Leaders
- ATN Planning Committee
- Archdiocesan Pastoral Council
- Deans of the Archdiocese
- Archdiocesan Council of Priests
- Ministry Team Advisors and Archdiocesan Officials
- Archdiocesan Finance Council
- Professional Advisory Board
- Evangelization Subcommittee
- School Advisory Task Force
- Young Adult Subcommittee
- Young Ministry Subcommittee
- Social Justice Subcommittee
What did Archbishop Rozanski decide?
After prayerful discernment, the Archbishop has decided the following:
- Moving forward, the Archdiocese of St. Louis will be reshaped from 178 individual parishes into 134 parishes. These parishes will be overseen by close to 90 diocesan pastors and 17 religious order pastors. These modifications include the merging of 35 parishes that will be subsumed into neighboring parishes and 15 parishes being merged to create 5 new parishes. There will also be a new personal parish for the Spanish speaking community in St. Charles County.
- Even in parishes where there is no change to the pastor or parish structure, all of our communities are asked to re-evaluate their current pastoral care, social outreach and evangelization efforts to see if they can be streamlined, refined or re-invented. Our new Vicariate structure will support this.
- Over the next several months our priests will be discerning with their people what the best use of our facilities should be to provide the Sacraments and necessary pastoral care to all who live in their boundaries and begin to reimagine what a vibrant, evangelizing parish ought to look like.
- Implementation of these plans will begin in summer/fall of 2023 and may continue through 2026.
Now that decisions have been made regarding parishes and with implementation beginning in August 2023, the Archbishop will begin to look at how the staff of the Archdiocese and social and evangelization outreach efforts can best support the parishes and their ministries.Over the next several months our priests will be discerning with their people what the best use of our facilities should be. Priority will be given to providing the Sacraments and necessary pastoral care to all who live in their boundaries and reimagining what a vibrant, evangelizing parish ought to look like.
Is there an appeals process?
Once the decree is published, anyone who is a parishioner of a parish who considers themselves to be aggrieved (injured or treated unfairly) by the Archbishop’s decision has the right to appeal the decision to him in writing concerning the way their parish is being altered. According to the norms of the Church’s law (Canon 1734), the written appeal must be made in writing and postmarked no later than June 12, 2023, and addressed to the Archbishop at 20 Archbishop May Dr, St. Louis, MO 63119. We cannot accept emails or phone calls as a request for appeal.
I think All Things New went too far/didn’t go far enough.
The parish is the main place where the faithful have access to pastoral care. Therefore, the diocesan Bishop has to assure that parishes are established and that churches are set up in a way that is equitable throughout the diocese. In all such matters, the Church's law favors preserving the stability of parishes (leaving them as they are).
All the requirements of the Church law seek to assure that the diocesan bishop makes well-informed, prayerfully discerned decisions for the spiritual well-being of the archdiocese, taking into account the needs of the faithful for pastoral care as well as the overall needs of the archdiocese.
What will happen to the parish buildings that will close?
Pastors will work with their parish communities, Catholic Charities, the Archdiocese of St. Louis and other entities to determine the best course of action regarding any unused buildings on a parish property.
What will happen to the money parishioners have donated to the parishes that close?
Church law mandates that money donated will go to the parish that subsumes the parish that is closing.
If two or more parishes merge, which will be the worship site?
Pastors will work with their parish communities and the Archdiocese of St. Louis to determine the best use of the parish buildings as worship sites.
Will there be any more parish closures or mergers?
Parish communities may work collaboratively to make a recommendation to close or merge their parishes.
What happens to the parish schools of the parishes that are either merging or closing?
The Archbishop’s decision does not immediately affect school operations. The Office of Catholic Education and Formation will work with parishes to continue to discern the future of their parish schools in the months ahead. As we prepare to implement changes regarding the 2024-25 school year, we will also address immediate needs as they arise, and this could include school closures that are unrelated to All Things New.
What about parish cemeteries?
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has a moral and canonical obligation to care for the dead in perpetuity.
The Archbishop has also created a new personal parish for the Spanish speaking community. What does this mean for Spanish speaking ministries that currently exist in parishes?
The Archbishop has created a new personal parish for the Spanish speaking community, St. Juan Diego, located at the former campus of St. Barnabas parish. It is important to clarify that the presence of Hispanic ministry in the rest of our parishes should not be discontinued entirely.
Our Episcopal Vicars will be working with our Hispanic community to initiate discussions and foster collaboration to ensure effective ministry to our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters in the St. Charles area.