The Parish of Mary, Mother of Mercy
- Lee Anne Fox, Gerry Frank, Kathy Sinkiewicz (Holy Cross);
- Stephanie Houck, Karl Messmer, Jennifer Sharp, Bob Duthie (St. Francis Solanus);
- Scott Hamula, Kathleen Rourke, Barbara Willers (St. James);
- Fr. Bernard Maloney, OFM Cap.;
- Fr. Brendan Buckley, OFM Cap.;
- Karen Rinefierd (diocesan representative); and
- David Zellinger (regional finance director).
Minutes of the planning committee’s meetings are available here.
While initially asked to consider closing one of the churches, leaving it only available for weddings or funerals, the committee convinced the bishop that, if a church needed to be maintained for such events it might as well be used for Sunday Masses. In February 2016 Bishop Mattano affirmed his support of a Mass schedule that includes at least one weekend Masses at each of the three churches. He conveyed his gratitude to Fr. Bernard and the planning team for all the work being done to create a unified faith community and ensure a vibrant Catholic presence between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.
In April 2016, the planning committee came to a difficult decision regarding a new Mass schedule for the three churches. Beginning June 4 and 5 of that year the new schedule was:
- Saturday 5:00 p.m. at St. James the Apostle, Trumansburg
- Sunday 8:15 a.m. at St. Francis Solanus, Interlaken
- Sunday 9:30 a.m. at Holy Cross, Ovid
- Sunday 11:00 a.m. at St. James the Apostle, Trumansburg
This new Mass schedule required sacrifices and adjustments from parishioners across the three parishes—families with children and teens getting up earlier on Sunday mornings; regular Saturday night Mass goers changing to a Sunday morning Mass; and early Sunday morning Mass goers choosing either to go on Saturday, later on Sunday, or possibly attending a different church in the same parish. The community adjusted their weekend routines so that celebration of the Eucharist with the community continued to be a priority in their lives.
In May the Bishop issued a decree stating that, effective on the first day of July, 2016, the parishes of St. Francis Solanus Catholic Church in Interlaken, the Church of the Holy Cross in Ovid, and St. James the Apostle Church in Trumansburg shall be “amalgamated one to another and so be constituted as a single parish.”
It was decided that the new parish needed a new name. The parish council members of the three parishes chose five from the many suggestions presented by parishioners. In order of preference they were: Divine Mercy; St. Pio of Pietrecina; Mary, Mother of Mercy; Christ Our Light; and Bl. Teresa of Calcutta. These proposed names were presented to Bishop Matano who, in a letter dated June 6, decreed that the name for the parish would be Mary, Mother of Mercy. In the letter Bishop Matano stated: “This title seems to embrace all the themes and virtues contained in the other proposed titles and the exiting titles of the Churches.”
The work of the planning committee concluded with the committee’s final meeting being held on June 22, 2016, at St. Francis Solanus, Interlaken. A new pastoral council met that month to begin work with Fr. Bernard to set pastoral priorities and establish good communication with parishioners. Plans were begun to create events to bring people of the new parish together, to ensure that people are warmly welcomed at Masses, and to continue the traditions of the three churches.
Beginning July 1, 2016, the three churches, who maintain their individual building names, were united under the one parish name of Mary, Mother of Mercy. The corporate merge of the three parishes took effect in January of 2017 and a shared finance council soon began meeting. A new parish office was created in the annex to St. Francis Solanus in Interlaken as that is a central location for the parishioners. A unified faith community and a vibrant Catholic presence continues to thrive between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.
- Prayer of Unity
- Bishop’s Letter (October 1, 2015)
- Pastor’s Letter (October 7, 2015)
- Karen Rinefierd’s Presentation (October 18, 2015)
- Letter from Father Bernard and Father Brendan, October 7, 2015
- Parishioner location map (2015) (October 2015)
- Mass Attendance Data (October 2015)
- Seating Capacity & Other Church Info
- Parish Merge Q&A (January 2016)
- Meetings with Parishioners (January and February 2016)
- Discussion Regarding a New Mass Schedule (March 2016)
- Letter from Fr. Bernard to Bishop Matano requesting merge (March 2016)
- Letter from Bishop Matano in reply to request (March 2016)
- Bishop’s Decree (May 3, 2016)
- Decree Parish Name (June 6, 2016)
- Site visit report from Sean Moran June 7, 2016
- memo from Fr. Bernard regarding Parish Center June 22, 2016
- Minutes of the committee’s meetings are available here.
~As of February 2017