Monday, April 24, 2006

Will there be a Catholic parish in the forseeable future in Ave Maria Town?

Res ipsa loquitur...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ave Maria hopes wait won't be long for parish
But diocese chancellor says one isn’t in the town’s near future
By Jenna Buzzacco (Contact)
Monday, April 24, 2006
When the town of Ave Maria opens to residents in 2007, community members will have almost everything within walking distance of their homes.

But in a town conceived around Roman Catholic principles, one key ingredient will be missing: a parish church.
Contrary to popular belief, neither Stella Maris chapel at the interim campus nor the Ave Maria oratory being built in the new town are churches. The Diocese of Venice recognizes neither chapel, meaning priests cannot perform baptisms, weddings or funerals, said Ave Maria University president Nick Healy.
But if Ave Maria officials have their way, residents won't need to wait too long before a parish pops up in the community.
"We hope to be officially declared as a parish in the next year or so," said the Rev. Robert Garrity, university chaplain.
But diocese officials said a parish isn't in the town's near future.
Diocese Chancellor Volodymyr Smeryk said there have been no discussions at the diocese about changing the chapel into a parish church.
According to Canon Law, "a parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stable constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor under the authority of a diocesan bishop." Smeryk said only a bishop can erect, suppress or alter parishes.
MORE COVERAGE: Read more stories about Ave Maria
But Healy said the university submitted an application to become a parish about two years ago. Healy said the bishop had indicated the change may be left to his successor, but university and town officials are hoping it will happen before then.
"The reason we want to be a parish is because most Catholics want to belong to a parish," Healy said. "You have to be a parish to have children baptized. You have to be a parish to have a wedding. You have to be a parish to have a funeral."
Healy said the transition may be taking longer because the chapel and oratory are affiliated with the university. But that hasn't stopped other diocese from granting parish status to university affiliated oratories and chapels, Healy said.
Both the chapel at the University of San Francisco and the chapel at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, are affiliated with the local dioceses, Healy said.
But affiliation and becoming a parish is rare, said the Rev. Art Espelage, executive coordinator at the Canon Law Society of America.
"It is seldom that an oratory would become a parish church, but it has sometimes happened in the past," Espelage said. "Normally parishes are territorial whereas oratories are more closely aligned to shrines where specific groups of people assemble."
Once completed, the Ave Maria oratory will seat 1,100 people and will be about 110 feet tall. University and town officials are touting the 24-hour adoration chapel and multiple daily Masses as a draw for the faithful.
In addition to the oratory, AMU founder Tom Monaghan has said there will be a church or place of worship within walking distance from every house in the town. But Healy said neither the town nor the university would have to appeal for more churches to come to the town.
"If a second parish were to come to Ave Maria, the diocese would typically buy the land and erect the church," Healy said. "There is land that has already been designated for additional churches or (places of worship)."
Healy said, however, that community members should not expect another church to be erected during the first phase of construction.
Until the oratory is designated a parish, Ave Maria community members will have quite a drive if they want to be affiliated with a parish.
Healy said the closest church affiliated with the diocese is Our Lady of Guadalupe in Immokalee, which is about 10 miles away. But Healy said Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe may not fit residents of Ave Maria, since most of the Masses are celebrated in Spanish.
Even though the application process appears to be stalled, university and town officials are still optimistic.
"I'm guessing we'll have this completed by late 2007 or early 2008," Garrity said.


At 11:25 PM, Blogger res_ipsa_loquitur said...

Why do people keep bringing up my name?

At 11:40 PM, Blogger Torgo said...

yeah, I thought you spoke for yourself


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