After an extensive local process, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham accepted the consensus based recommendation that St. Paul’s Church will be the home of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish. St. Paul’s Church is located at 50 East Mohawk Street, Oswego. The decision comes 18 months after the Oswego parishes of St. Joseph, St. Stephen the King, St. Mary and St. Paul announced they would begin a process to form one faith community that worships on one campus. The community selected Christ the Good Shepherd as its patron and new name on August 2018.
Bishop Cunningham notified parishioners of his acceptance in a letter dated May 11, 2019. The need to bring the four parishes together is a result of a number of factors facing many churches in the Northeast including an aging and declining population; economic and industry shifts; limited financial resources; aging facilities; fewer priests and religious available for ministry; and decreasing participation in Masses and the sacraments. The letter provided some background for the decision stating “In 2017, the pastoral leadership and parish finance councils reported that the financial condition of the Oswego parishes was unsustainable and that restructuring and unification would be required.” It further explains that a full analysis was done of each parish prior to a recommendation being made on the one location.
The unification of the parishes of Oswego will begin on July 1 and will be celebrated at Masses on July 6-7. This decision is the next step in the process and there is still much work to be done with the pastoral leaders and the parish staffs of the four faith communities. Determining new uses for the other three church buildings (referred to as legacy churches) will begin immediately. Any changes will begin to occur on July 1. Until then, every parish will maintain its current Mass schedule and all parish programs and scheduled events will continue as currently planned. As the work continues, so too will the communication with all faith communities in Oswego and the diocese.
Bishop Cunningham is keenly aware that with this decision comes a great deal of emotion. He asks all to join him in prayer that through this unification process, the focus will always be on deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ.
For more information on the process, a copy of his letter and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), please visit www.thecatholicsun.com or the diocesan website: https://syracusediocese.org/parishes/parish-news .