In July of 2014, three parishes became one.
Our histories are rich and full of diversity;
together, we are creating a new one.
Come be a part of it!
Saint John Paul II Parish was founded on July 1, 2014 as the result of a diocesan-wide process called Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes. It was inaugurated in September, 2011, as part of a strategic planning process. By November over 600 individuals (pastors, pastoral administrators and parish members) representing every parish across the Diocese of Saginaw, began to take part in order to assess the state of parishes in terms of their viability. The goal of the process was to look at strengths and weaknesses and to develop recommendations for future parish life. All worked together in looking toward “A Future full of Hope” for our parishes and our diocese.
At the conclusion of phase one of Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes, each parish in the diocese received a decree from Bishop Cistone stating the future structure of that particular parish. Saint John the Baptist Parish (Carrollton), Saint Josaphat Parish (Carrollton) and Saint Matthew Parish (Zilwaukee) each received a decree dated January 18, 2013 stating that a new parish would be formed from the merger of all three parishes, effective July 1, 2013. The bishop appointed Sister Christine A. Gretka, CSJ as Pastoral Administrator and Reverend James Wm. Bessert as Sacramental Minister. However, implementation of the parish merger was suspended for a year due to an appeal of the merger to the Congregation of Clergy in Rome filed by a small number of individuals. On February 4, 2014, the three parishes received a second decree from Bishop Cistone stating that the appeal had been rejected by Rome, that no further appeal had been made, and that he (the bishop) intended to proceed with the alteration of the three parishes as stated in his original decree of January 18, 2013.
The original decree stated that all the parishes were to close but the church buildings were to remain open. Saint Josaphat Church was designated as the “parish church” in which all Sunday liturgies and sacraments of Initiation would take place. Both Saint John the Baptist Church and Saint Matthew Church were designated as “churches for occasional use.” At the direction of the Bishop and the discretion of the Pastoral Administrator, weddings, funerals, Liturgy of the Hours, weekday Mass, and Communal Penance liturgies were among some of the appropriate celebrations that were able to take place in the churches for occasional use.
Much work was done in preparation for the merger: a cluster Pastoral Council and a cluster Finance Council were formed, and commission members from all three parishes were meeting together. A process was begun to surface a name for the new parish. Three names, in order of preference where submitted to Bishop Cistone. On Easter Sunday, 2014, the name of the new parish was officially announced: Saint John Paul II (one week before his canonization). Excitement began to grow once the parish had an actual name. Our parish was among the first in the country to have Saint John Paul II as our patron.
After receiving the parish name, an interim Pastoral Council and an interim Finance Council were formed. A Parish Mission Statement was. Job openings were posted within the three former parishes. After resumés were submitted and reviewed, an interview committee became part of the process. Seven positions were filled by July 1, 2014: Associate for Faith Formation and Pastoral Ministry, Business Manager, Office Professional/Communications Specialist, two part-time Musicians and two part-time Maintenance employees.
The first Parish Pastoral Council was chosen through to official “Selection Process.” Sharon DeLong, Ed Green, Greg Klenk, Rita Kontur, Camilla Mayer, Virginia Miklosovic, Ed Popielarz, Cathy Stine, and Jim Szynwelski became the members of the original Pastoral Council.
By July 1, 2014, Saint John Paul II Parish, had combined all the assets and liabilities of the three merged parishes. A new bank account was established, a new tax identification number was active, a new bulletin was created, and new envelopes were in the making. Many other tedious details had been tended to.
The parish had inherited four different sites which included a total of 12 buildings. Those buildings were Saint John the Baptist Church, Rectory and Parish Hall Center; Saint Josaphat Church, Rectory, former Convent, old School Building and Saint Josaphat Education Center; and Saint Matthew Church, Parish Hall, Rectory, and old Church building.
By May, 2015, a strategic plan had been developed for addressing the future use of the parish buildings. It took into account the goals and objectives that had been set with the assistance of Parish Commission members. At the same time, a decision was made to approach Bishop Cistone and request permission to enter into the process of placing Saint John the Baptist Church up for sale. The bishop gave permission, and after four weeks of announcements (beginning May 24) were placed in the bulletin, no one officially appealed the sale of Saint John the Baptist Church. On August 12, 2015, the bishop issued a decree stating that Saint John the Baptist Church building would be relegated to “profane but not sordid use.” The parish was directed to continue to use the church until the time that the sale of the building was complete. The diocese placed a “for sale by owner” sign in front of the church with all requests to be directed to the diocese. It has been a slow process. Our hope is that Saint John the Baptist Church building may be sold by Spring of 2016. In light of responsible stewardship, conversations began in November, 2015 to request permission of the Bishop to place Saint Matthew Church and buildings up for sale.
Saint John Paul II Parish is a vibrant community of faith. Presently, there are 425 households officially registered within the parish. There are many opportunities for spiritual enrichment for all age levels. Numerous parishioners are involved in liturgical ministry. Sunday liturgy (4:00 PM Saturday and 9:30 AM Sunday) is definitely the highlight of the week. Many parishioners are also involved in parish activities and outreach activities. Soon a brochure will be available with information on the parish itself and all the programs and activities currently taking place at Saint John Paul II Parish.
We, as the Body of Christ, in the faith community of Saint John Paul II, built on our combined histories and cultural diversity, are called to "open wide the doors to Christ" through evangelization, stewardship, and vibrant worship.
How you can share your talents
- Host of Diocesan-wide Youth Rally
- Youth and Adult Faith Formation opportunities
- Fall Craft Show
- Pastoral Council
- Finance Council
- Monthly movie nights
- A number of commissions
- Parish Worship Commission
- Parish Commission on Faith Formation
- Christian Service Ministry
- A number of organizations
- Youth Group
- Rosary Altar Society
- Seniors Club