Future of the parishes

Catharijnekerk Last year the parishes of Utrecht took their first steps in the process of merging into one city parish. This newsletter relates the progress that is made until now.

Pastoral plan

The pastoral team, e.g. the priests, are working on a new plan to give direction to the future of the catholic church in Utrecht. In summary these are the main lines of thinking:

  • The foundation of our community lies in the meeting and following of Christ. From that perspective we are hospitable and have an eye for vulnerable people and the poor. We contribute to a sustainable creation.
  • We should continuously look for a deepening of our faith. In conversations, readings and debates about our faith, we can show what our faith means to us. This means we have to show ourselves during events in the city (such as Cultural Sundays).
  • We also must realise that the new generation has a different view of the church and has different expectations. Hence, we must look for new ways of meeting each other.
  • The sacramental celebrations and the liturgical quality will be focused in (two as is the expectation now) city churches. In pastoral support points in the different neighbourhoods of Utrecht and in house churches we will develop new ways op share are nurture our faith.

Future of the buildings

The boards of the three parishes of Utrecht want to make an integral plan for the church buildings in Utrecht. In the parishes of Ludgerus and Martinus church buildings have already been closed. The boards expect to need only two city churches to celebrate Holy Mass. Besides these two churches, they want to maintain support points where the communities can meet in prayer, catechism and diocese.  

Coming months the boards want to verify if these plans are right and feasible in three ways:

  1. The foundation ‘Kerkelijk waardebeheer’ executes a research on all eleven church buildings and their perspective for the future (maintenance, sale or re-destination).
  2. The boards will speak with the parishioners concerning the future of the church buildings, this will be planned in September.
  3. The boards are making an inventory on the expectations of church attendance, number of volunteers, the vitality of the community and the needs in the different neighbourhoods of Utrecht.

At the end of the year, all data will be collected and used in the decision-making concerning which church buildings will be used as city churches.

For the other church buildings the boards will look into establishing pastoral support points in those neighbourhoods. It might be possible that the church building can be developed in combination with other users and the community can keep using the building. Sometimes alternative spaces need to be found. It is a condition that a financially responsible exploitation arises.

In September, meetings will be held in five different places in Utrecht, to discuss these plans. Further details about these meetings will be announced by that time.

Communication – a new parish bulletin and website

Currently a group of people is working hard on a new parish bulletin and a new website.

In September the first edition of the new parish bulletin will be issued. Each issue of the magazine will focus on a certain theme. Information from the 13 communities of Utrecht will only be included when the information is of interest and importance to the other communities as well.

The online presence of the parish and its communities will change based on a Content Management System: a database which includes all news items, articles, agenda-information community information. This information can be used on the new website, digital newsletters, or through Facebook and twitter.

The new to form website will have a ‘My parish’ section, in which every parishioner can indicate through filters which information they would like to receive.

Each community will continue to maintain it’s own website and communication.

Next steps

After the summer the three parish boards will merge into one board. That board will be responsible for the three parishes that continue to exist a while longer.

The first citywide parish bulletin will be issued in September.

In November we expect that the merging of the secretariats have taken place.

By Advent we hope to be able to launch a new parish website.

Our English Community website www.englishmassutrecht.nl will keep existing.

The English Mass Coordination Team

on behalf of the,

Committee merging parishes Utrecht
Projectleader: René Grotenhuis