When we look back in time there was so much hype surrounding the year 2000 and the beginning of the new millennium. Now, 20 years later, all the predictions seem laughable. Here we are living in the year 2020 with a whole new set of challenges. Yet, as always, we are called to move forth in faith, trusting Divine Providence.
Several years ago the Archdiocese of Milwaukee developed the 2020 plan in anticipation of the number of priests who would be available to serve our parishes. Over time some parishes were closed, others merged, and others clustered with one or two priests serving them.
St. Joseph Parish and St. Agnes Parish in Butler have been collaborating with one another since 2016 in anticipation of becoming a cluster. Both parishes, through their respective working committees, have come to an understanding that the end result will be the sharing of a pastor between the two.
This past December the Priest Placement Board open-listed St. Agnes Parish in anticipation of a new pastor being appointed there in June 2020. Priests who are interested in serving St. Agnes Parish will have the opportunity to make their wishes known to the board. The appointment to St. Agnes is also being made with the understanding that whoever is appointed there in June 2020, will take on responsibility for the pastoral care of St. Joseph Parish in June 2021. It is then that the two parish communities will form a cluster arrangement.
This arrangement will allow me and our staff to work with the new pastor in anticipation of having a shared pastor. It must be made clear that this is not a merger but a cluster. Each parish will maintain its own identity while being open to sharing resources with each other.
As always we are being asked to walk the journey with faith and trust, always keeping in mind that it is the Holy Spirit who guides us. May the words of Jesus be our motto, “Be not afraid. Cast out into the deep!”
– Fr. Dennis, January 19, 2020