adidas originals samba super John Neumann Church to close
St. Church in Greenridge will be closed, and the parish merged with St. Joseph St. Thomas in Pleasant Plains, according to the New York Archdiocese.
The merger is the latest to occur as part of the archdiocese’s “Making All Things New” pastoral planning initiative, which has closed or merged more than a third of the borough’s Catholic churches in the last few years.
Parishioners of St. John Neumann got a reprieve in the first round of church closures and mergers in 2014 2015, but a letter to parishioners, dated April 29, explained that Neumann will be merging with St. Joseph/St. Thomas parish after all.
The merger was precipitated by the retirement of the Rev. John Kostek, who had served as parish administrator.
The letter states that St. Joseph/St. Thomas will be the new parish church. Masses and sacraments will no longer be celebrated at St. John Neumann on a regular basis.
“The two will now be considered one parish to share priests,” the letter explained. “One parish staff, one parish financial council,
one set of sacramental records, one financial account, one group of trustees, and a developing process working more closely together in common apostolates, activities and organizations.”
The Rev. Robert Dillon, St. Joseph/St. Thomas pastor, will remain as pastor after the merger is completed.
The merger will become effective July 1.
Bishop John O’Hara, dean of Staten Island Catholics, and vicar for planning for the Archdiocese, who wrote the letter,
spoke to parishioners of St. John Neumann during Sunday mass. “It’s always hard to leave behind that which we know, and to start something new,” he said.
O’Hara said there would be a meeting for people to voice their concerns about the merger, but did not have a date and time yet.
But parishioners said they feel betrayed.
“It was the sneaky way in which it was done,” said Eileen Paccheo, president of the 123rd Precinct Community Council, who has been a parishioner at Neumann for nearly 35 years. “We had no warning. We’re a very stable parish, we’re not in debt, and we don’t know why we were selected.”
She said some parishioners remain convinced the merger is a “land grab” by the Archdiocese. St. John Neumann is on acres of property off Arthur Kill Road that once belonged to St. Michael’s Home, a former Catholic home for boys,
that long since closed. The property was appraised for more than $8 million a few years ago, Paccheo said.
Another parishioner, Willie Grey, said families are wondering what will happen to CCD, soccer, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the youth ministry, the seniors club, AA meetings and charitable outreach programs utilized by members of the entire Greenridge community.