Please Pray: Should We Adopt the Catholic Community of Flint as a Sister Parish?
Dear Brother and Sisters of Christ the King!
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?”
And the king will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)
Bishop Boyea has asked parishes in the diocese to support our brothers and sisters in the Catholic Community of Flint. Recently, we have been approached by Fr. Tom Firestone, Sr. Dorcee Clarey, SGL, Dcn. Sean Costello, and other leaders to consider supporting Flint in an ongoing way.
In response, Fr. Ed wrote a letter to the parish dated September 28. (You may read it online at ctkcc.net/ccf-proposal.) Sr. Christina Frey, SGL, Theresa Marshall, and Dcn. Mike Martin spoke at our Masses on October 3 and 4 and made themselves available afterward for questions.
The needs of Flint have never been greater. It has become increasingly apparent that Christ the King may be uniquely positioned to help.
Our connections to Flint continue to become stronger. Sisters from the Servants of God’s Love minister in Flint and have established a “prayerful presence.” Students from our parish and Fr. Gabriel Richard High School have visited. Two priests who grew up in our parish are serving in Flint. Many of our parishioners have served there in myriad ways.
Meeting and praying with the leaders from Flint, they have identified ways that we can support their ongoing ministry to bring Jesus’ love and hope to families and kids in neighborhoods and allow more black kids to attend Catholic schools. These ministries make an enormous difference.
So, what would it mean to adopt Flint as a “sister parish”? Our parish would provide ongoing prayer and financial support. We would explore ways in which we could become more involved with parish life there. The areas of greatest need at the moment are
- Assisting with the salary of Sr. Christina Frey, SGL, who is working alongside Dcn. Mike Martin and doing vital work in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Flint; and
- Providing scholarships for kids to attend St. John Vianney Grade School and Flint Powers High School. These schools provide a lifeline to children and their families, many of whom are from racial minorities. However, they are not eligible to receive assistance from the diocese to attend school because they are not Catholic.
We would meet with Fr. Tom and parish leaders each year to assess how we could continue to best support the Catholic Community of Flint.
We anticipate that we would take up a special collection each year to support Sr. Christina’s work, which includes ministering to families and children in Flint’s poorest neighborhoods. Our target is to raise a minimum of $20,000 toward Sr. Christina’s salary. We will be seeking out matching donations from lead donors before taking up the collection. In addition, we would make opportunities available for our parishioners to provide scholarships for kids to attend the Catholic schools in Flint.
This question is not easy. CTK has budget issues of its own. We as a parish must support our own mission and staff first. Secondly, many of us are experiencing our own economic and other difficulties. We must care for and support each other.
While all of us are called to be disciples, not all of us are in a position to serve and contribute as much as we would like in the present moment. However, many of us are. The question is not whether each of us individually can support Flint, but whether this is something God is calling on us to do as a parish. The people of Christ the King have always been generous in responding to various needs. Jesus, the King, cannot be outdone in generosity.
We ask that you prayerfully discern this question with us. A question of this importance requires consultation with and discernment of the whole parish. We genuinely want to do this only if this is what Jesus is calling us to do. We ask each family to discern by praying the following prayer each day for nine days beginning tomorrow, October 17, and continuing through Sunday, October 25.
Mary, Mother of Flint, Hear our prayer.
As you watched over your Son Jesus, please watch over those He has identified with Himself, the least of our brothers and sisters.
Assist us, the people of Christ the King, as we prayerfully discern your Son’s will for us concerning making the Catholic Community of Flint our sister parish.
On Monday, October 26, we will send an online survey to ask whether you think we should adopt the Catholic Community of Flint as a sister parish. We will also solicit your comments. If you would rather respond in another way or have questions or comments, please contact Office Manager Sharon Messiter, a member of the Senior Leadership Team, at the office. Her email address is email@example.com.
Thank you for your consideration and your faithfulness! May God bless you!
Bill Pressprich, on behalf of the Senior Leadership Team