Envisioning the future for St. Gabriel and St. Cecilia Parishes
Over the last several months, a group of lay leaders at St. Gabriel Parish has met with Fr. Quinlan and me to do a “deep dive” into the strengths of, and challenges facing St. Gabriel’s. The impetus for starting this process initially focused on the relationship between the Parish and the schools (Trinity Catholic High School and the Catholic Academy of Stamford). It broadened to look at how the Parish serves the community as one of three parishes along a two-mile stretch of Newfield and Strawberry Hill Avenue in Stamford. The visioning process provided clarity into the strengths of St. Gabriel’s, but also highlighted a number of challenges to the continued growth of that community.
A similar process is now beginning at St. Cecilia Parish. Lay leaders from that parish will spend the next two months engaged in a similar “deep dive.” Building on the pastoral plan created in 2016, and in light of Fr. Bert’s move to Stratford, lay leaders will spend time discerning the strengths of St. Cecilia’s and identify the challenges going forward.
As Bishop Caggiano stated in his letters announcing the appointment of Fr. Quinlan as the Temporary Parochial Administrator of St. Cecilia Parish, there will be the creation of a Collaborative Committee of equal number of leaders from both parishes. Their task will be to look at how best to move forward into the future, and to discuss potential changes to the canonical structure of the two parishes, including the possibility of a linkage between St. Cecilia and St. Gabriel parishes.
That Collaborative Committee will begin its work in early February. A similar Collaborative Committee process is currently being utilized in several areas of our Diocese as we engage parishes in conversations about the vibrancy and sustainability of our parish communities.
As this process moves forward, please be assured there will be opportunities provided for broad-based consultation and feedback with both communities at St. Gabriel Parish and St. Cecilia Parish.
I would invite you in this Advent season to pray for the success of this collaborative process and that Fr. Quinlan and the lay leaders of St. Gabriel and St. Cecilia be filled with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as they discern the future of the parishes.