for Assumption Parish, Edgerton, and Sacred Heart Parish, Gardner
Since it was founded in 1857, the Catholic faithful of Assumption Church in Edgerton, and since it was founded in 1875, the Catholic faithful of Sacred Heart in Gardner have been served at their respective churches and facilities.
In recent decades, however, due to shifting demographics, fewer priests and the increased ease of travel for most families, a number of parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas that had previously thrived, were closed or merged so that the limited available resources might be better utilized in serving all of the faithful of northeast Kansas and continue the commission given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to proclaim the Gospel, make disciples and serve others in his name.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas has for many years conducted regional pastoral planning processes for the various parts of the 21 counties that comprise the Archdiocese in order to use the limited resources of the church wisely and effectively and to help build vibrant sacramental, spiritual, devotional and communal life in our parishes. Sometimes the planning process suggests altering parishes or reducing them in number.
On Aug. 12, 2010, a task force convened with members from five parishes: St. Patrick (Scranton), St. Francis of Assisi (Lapeer), St. Patrick (Osage City), Annunciation (Baldwin City), and Assumption (Edgerton), the purpose of which was to examine the vitality of each parish and establish goals and objectives for the future of each parish. Task force members of Edgerton and Baldwin City also met independently from the full task force to address issues unique to their two parishes under the leadership of a single pastor. Recent trends for Assumption pointed to a declining parish census and declining parish involvement outside of Sunday Mass.
Also, the Assumption Church and rectory are in need of significant improvements and repairs. Residents of Edgerton more naturally travel to the city of Gardner, three miles to the northeast, than to Baldwin City, 10 miles west. Edgerton youth attend school in the Gardner school district. Gardner is also closer to Edgerton for shopping, entertainment and recreation.
Sacred Heart Parish (Gardner) built a new church 4.9 miles from Assumption Church at the western edge of Gardner with a seating capacity of 950 and a master plan for further expansion. Sacred Heart offers a full range of programs and ministries, as a large parish with considerable resources. Eventually, an early childhood program and school may become feasible and would not only be desirable to young families, but also an important component in furthering the mission of the church.
After several task force meetings, pastoral council meetings, and three open parish meetings, the pastoral council of Assumption Parish recommended on March 16, 2011, to pastor Father Brandon Farrar that Assumption Parish merge with Sacred Heart Parish. Father Farrar studied this proposal with Father Joseph Cramer, pastor of Sacred Heart, who, after meeting with Sacred Heart Parish leadership, agreed this was a wise use of resources to be recommended to Archbishop Naumann for consideration.
After having heard the Presbyteral Council on this matter at its May 25, 2011, meeting at the chancery offices, according to Canon 515.2 of the Code of Canon Law, and after much prayer and personal reflection, consultation with diocesan administrative leadership, and input from local pastors, I hereby take the following action:
Assumption Parish (Edgerton) and Sacred Heart Parish (Gardner) are consolidated into one parish under the new name of Divine Mercy Parish, effective September 1, 2011. The geographic boundaries of Divine Mercy Parish shall be as follows:
Starting at the intersection of the Douglas/Johnson County Line at W. 143rd St., then east along W. 143rd to Moonlight Rd., then proceeding south on Moonlight Rd. to W. 151st St., then east along a line consistent with W. 151st to Clare Rd., then south on Clare Rd. to W. 167th St., then east on W. 167th St. to U.S. 169 Hwy.
U.S. 169 Hwy. starting at W. 167th St. in southwest Johnson County, south to the intersection of U.S. 169 Hwy. and W. 247th St. in Miami County South Boundary: Starting at the intersection of U.S. 169 Hwy and W. 247th St. in Miami County, then west along a line consistent with W. 247th St. to a north-south line consistent with Waverly Rd. (Hillsdale Lake), then south along that line to W. 255th St. and west along W. 255th St. to a north-south line consistent with the Douglas/Johnson County Line Rd.
Starting at W. 255th St. in Miami County, at a point where it intersects a north-south line consistent with the Douglas/Johnson County Line, then north from W. 255th St. along the Douglas/Johnson County Line to W. 143rd St.
All registers containing records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials hitherto preserved and maintained at the respective parishes shall be retained at the Sacred Heart Church site of Divine Mercy Parish where they will be faithfully and carefully preserved.
All assets and liabilities of Assumption Parish and of Sacred Heart Parish shall be transferred to Divine Mercy Parish, whether movable or immovable. The intentions of donors shall be observed in accord with canon law.
I invite the support of Father Farrar and Father Cramer in assisting the parishioners of Assumption Church and Sacred Heart Church as they integrate into Divine Mercy Parish and appeal to the parishioners to work enthusiastically with their pastor to build a vibrant and prayerful parish where the Gospel is proclaimed and lived joyfully and fruitfully. With the help of Almighty God, the aid of the prayers of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, and the hope of the message of Divine Mercy, may the truth and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, be made evermore present in the lives and hearts of the faithful, our families, parishes and communities.
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann
Given at the chancery offices in Kansas City, Kansas on the 31st day of August 2011.
Rev. John A. Riley, Chancellor