Archbishop Henry Mansell has officially linked St. Gabriel parish to that of St. Ann parish in Milford. The Archbishop appointed Rev Maurice Maroney pastor of both parishes in a letter received in early December.
The Archdiocese had envisioned such a move for later, but the untimely death of St. Ann's pastor, Rev. Brian Shaw, in October lead to the decision above.
In order to facilitate this decision, the Archdiocese' Planning Committee - Msgr. James Coleman, Rev Kevin Dillon, and Rev James Shanley - met with the staffs, trustees, councils of both parishes to explain what linkage means.
The Planning Committee stated the reason for such a linkage was due to the decreasing number of active priests in the Archdiocese. They described that linkage means that each parish remains open, each parish maintains its own sacramental and financial records, each parish has its own parish and financial council. The parishes share a pastor.
Linkage offers each parish a new synergy possibility - that sharing of programs and ministries so that there is no duplication such as Pre-baptismal program, RCIA and youth ministry.
Practically linkage may mean an adjustment of Mass Schedules, Only one Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) is only permitted in one of the parishes. The Celebration of Confirmation might also be shared by the parishes in alternate years.
Two additional meetings occurred with trustees, staffs, councils of both parishes. The spirit of cooperation was evident as well as concern for the well-being of Fr. Maroney. More planning meetings will be held in the New Year as each parish sets up its schedule of activities.