Parishioners upset by potential closing and sale of St. Norbert' - WNEM TV 5

Parishioners upset by potential closing and sale of St. Norbert's church

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Letter from Bishop Joseph Cistone to parishioner Ann Lynch (Source: Ann Lynch) Letter from Bishop Joseph Cistone to parishioner Ann Lynch (Source: Ann Lynch)
Letter from Bishop Joseph Cistone to parishioner Ann Lynch (Source: Ann Lynch) Letter from Bishop Joseph Cistone to parishioner Ann Lynch (Source: Ann Lynch)
MUNGER, MI (WNEM) -

It's Sunday: the day the 100 St. Norbert's parishioners TV5 met up with normally congregate inside the decades old chapel in Munger.

But that all began to change nearly two years ago when St. Norbert's was consolidated into the St. Jude Thaddeus parish in nearby Essexville by decree of Saginaw Diocese Bishop Joseph Cistone.


"And now St. Jude Thaddeus is considering selling this church and it's property," said Jeff Lynch, a parishioner.

Lynch said many feel they've been sold a bad deal: he said they were promised occasional use of the church, but now are forced to hold mass in places like this fire hall we captured today.

Lynch said Bishop Cistone won't even meet with them to discuss their agony.

To make matters worse, they said they found out the church building could be on the market.


"It hurts really bad to think we have to drive by this church to drive to town and i only live a block away," said Mary Corrion, a parishioner.


"It felt like a knife in the heart. We feel like we've been lied to, frankly," added Eric Barden.

Diocese spokeswoman Erin Carlson issued us this statement:

No decision has been made to close St. Norbert Church. Upon request by the Pastor, the Parish Pastoral Council and Parish Finance Council, Bishop Cistone has given permission to St. Jude Thaddeus Parish to explore the possible sale of the St. Joseph (Bay City) and St. Norbert (Munger) Church buildings. Parish leadership will now explore the sale of the church buildings to individuals or organizations whose mission does not conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

It is important to note that there are still many more steps in this process before a sale could happen. Granting approval to explore sale of a church building does not guarantee sale of the property. It is a preliminary step in a thorough evaluative process, which engages the entire parish community. In addition, numerous factors are considered including the effect of the sale on the local community. As a final step of the process, consulting his own advisers, Bishop Cistone would carefully review the parish request before making a decision.  

The decision to sell, set a price and accept an offer for church buildings/property is determined by the parish. All assets and/or liabilities that would be derived from a sale remain with the parish.

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