May 3, 2020
We are making plans to deal with all of our parish things. Some things will be recycled or just thrown away, others will be available some Saturday where the parish can come to the gym and help themselves, and others will find a new purpose elsewhere. If you are aware of a particular ‘thing’ that you may have donated and for which you have a unique concern, then please email Pat Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will put you on our list. In June we will make sure everything on that list gets addressed.
Emotional and Spiritual
The emotional and spiritual side of losing one’s parish is much harder to handle. It is a death. Our Parish Council is going to be meeting (virtually) this coming week to begin to organize around some of these areas. St. Mary Cathedral parish has also begun a group to help with the transition in anyway it can. Many of the people on the St.Mary committee have been through this experience themselves when Holy Cross closed.
We will try to support each other as best we can, but no amount of support is going to take away the pain and make it easy. We will make it through, because we truly believe in the resurrection and that God brings good out of all things. It may feel like Good Friday for a while though.
This experience is going to be different for each of us. Some of you will find a new parish home right away, and for others it may take a long time just to find a parish and many years after that to call it a home. Our grieving and transitioning is not a competition, except maybe the competition to be patient and receive each other.
I have a tentative date for our closing Mass: June 28, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. This is of course dependent upon our society returning to normal. I would not be surprised if we moved it back. I will keep you informed and will be consulting with a variety of people and groups along the way.
Last, I wish I had magic words to help. I will empower groups and individuals to aid our transition, but there is no running from the pain and grief. I know that my pain is a mere fraction of yours, which as your shepherd makes me ache all the more for you. I do find great consolation in these lines: “We are not failures. We have run the race and completed our course. We have finished well.” I believe these are just a few of God’s words to us.
Lord into your hands we commend spirits, and our grief, and our hope.
You are in my prayers. Fr. Karl Pung
April 25, 2020
There is very little in the experience of closing that will feel good. There is no easy way to walk through these coming weeks, so I would just ask for extra prayer, charity, and patience with one another. Closing affects people in different ways and everyone I hope feels they have the space around them to move through this process in a healthy way. Moving forward with grief, does not mean we have to like or even approved of the cause. It simply means I am going to move forward in as healthy way as possible with what is.
Let me answer a few of the questions that have arisen:
Is June 30th a hard date? June 30th is what we are aiming for and planning on, but if the lock down continues into the summer we will adjust our closing date accordingly. I want us to be able to be together for at least a little bit before we have to say goodbye.
We are going to have a party. It will feel like a funeral.
How are we going to keep in touch with each other after we close? We will continue to maintain our parish website and Facebook pages for general communication. For direct communicating with each other, I am struggling with a reasonable way to develop and print a directory.
Are we having the Corn roast? No. The Corn Roast has been cancelled.
What about the special ‘X’ that I or my family donated to the Church? What will happen to it? I need another week to answer this more completely. But we will be creating a list of requests from people. Some of the requests we should be able to honor, others maybe not. An example of a ‘not’ might be, “My family donated the money for the Third Station of the Cross. Can we take it with us?” No. The brick pavers outside might be a yes. Please, give me a little more time to work out some details.
Concerning other items, I am going to be asking my staff to organize groups to help with going through various pieces of Church property. For example I am asking Teresa Hurd to form a group to go through everything that pertains to Religious Education (Children and Adults) to determine what gets thrown out or recycled, what can be made open the St. Casimir families to take, and what can be given to another parish or organization. We are going to be doing that with different staff in different areas. I will be keeping you informed as that gets more organized.
Where will I go to Church? What parish you join will be up to each individual. While St. Mary Cathedral will be responsible for the physical grounds everyone will need to find out where God is calling them next. I know St. Mary parishioners are already praying for you and discussing ways to walk with you. Many of them came from Holy Cross and they know this process all to well.
We are also going to be making a list of the good things that have been a part of St. Casimir that we would like be able to continue. The community garden and second Sunday dinners both come to mind right away.
I will give you more information as things become clearer. We are working on ways to help everyone’s transition.
You are in my prayers.
Fr. Karl Pung
April 15, 2020
Dear St. Casimir Parish,
On September 21, 1921 our parish was founded to serve the needs of the local community here in Lansing. Over the last 100 years our parish has been through its ups and downs. Through it all, the Lord has always had a plan for us. Now we have come to the end of those plans. With declining priest numbers and changing demographics we are no longer able to sustain a healthy, vibrant parish life that will meet the spiritual needs of its people. On April 14, the Parish Council voted to close our parish effective June 30, 2020. We have completed our mission.
The vote on Parish Council was 7 to 3 to close on June 30. Of the three, only one was for staying open as long as possible. I think, however, that there was universal agreement that if our current pandemic continues into the summer that we would move our ending date so that we can have closure, grieving, and celebrating as a whole parish. We will reopen our doors as soon as possible to celebrate all that God has done through her. Our final Mass date and time have not been set.
Ideally, I think this message should be delivered in person. Not by letter, Facebook, website, or rumor. When a parish closes it is a death, and the news of it should be given by another person who can receive our tears, anger, and questions. Unfortunately right now the circumstances in our society do not allow for that kind of personal communication. It is coming to you in a rather cold, impersonal manner. I am sorry for that. I hope this does not impede you from taking the next steps and reaching out to someone, talking, and even beginning the grieving process.
Why now? A lot of things have come together including losing our extra priest, the Covid 19 pandemic, changing demographics, and expectations about what it means to be a parish. A lot of discussion and prayer has gone into this decision. I have been struck at how deeply charitable everyone has been to each other, especially given the deep personal connections each person has to the parish. This may sound awkward to hear, but they really were graced meetings and conversations.
We will have our First Communions, Confirmations, and Christian Initiations when our public officials declare it safe enough to gather together again. These sacraments may be done in small groups which could be before we are able to assemble as a whole parish.
There are many other questions about: What happens to the sacred and not so sacred belongings of the parish? How will we connect with St. Casimir Parishioners after we close? What is going to happen to the buildings? Will we have a voice in the Realigning Resources to Mission process? These and many other questions will be handled in future communications. For now I just wanted to deliver the hard sad news about closing. As time progresses the latest updates will be posted on our parish website: www.stcas.org under the ‘Parish Status’ tab.
Let us keep each other in prayer. The Lord has plans for us individually that are yet to be revealed.
Fr. Karl Pung
March 24, 2020
In response to the Governor’s order, all church offices in the Diocese are closed, including St. Casimir offices, for the foreseeable future.
If you need a priest, please call St. Mary’s Cathedral at 517-484-5331 and follow the prompts to leave a message for Fr. Karl.
March 21, 2020
There were several new assignments announced this weekend throughout our diocese. One of those assignments affects us here at St. Casimir. Fr. David Hudgins has been named the pastor of St. Joseph Shrine in Brooklyn, MI, while still retaining his position and responsibilities as Judicial Vicar. Starting June 25, Fr. Hudgins will be here in Lansing on weekdays and in Brooklyn on the weekends. I am happy that he will be able to be a pastor again. I know he has a great heart to serve God’s people. We have been blessed to have him here with us, and will continue to enjoy him for the remaining months. Please keep Fr. David in your prayers that the balance of the two positions will be life giving to everyone involved.
The sadder news about this change is that there is no one coming to replace Fr. David. When I have spoken about the shortage of priests that was coming, I meant it and it is here. This change means, that I will need to structure the weekend Masses, so that I will be able to say all the weekend Masses at St. Mary and St. Casimir by myself. While I may get periodic help, I cannot count on something consistently. Beginning June 27/28, there will be only one weekend Mass at St. Casimir which will be on Sundays at 9:45 a.m.
This change draws us closer to the big question of when do we close? Our parish life as well as the staff will be greatly reduced at the end of this fiscal year. Our Parish Council has been discussing our future as a parish over the last several months. There have been a number of unknown variables which are now becoming clear. The bishop is fine with us living as a parish with one Mass for the next year until the Realigning Resources to Mission comes out with its report and recommendations for the whole diocese. At that point he will act, and changes in our diocese will begin to take place. Therefore if we want to make a change before then, it is up to us to decide. I have my own thoughts on this matter, which I have expressed to the Parish Council.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus is delaying some of our discussion, but we will be reengaging this question of what we want our immediate future to look like after Easter. I know this is hard news to be giving in this already stressed and difficult time. I am sorry.
I am hopeful that we will remain open through our Corn Roast and the beginning of our anniversary year. Beyond that? I think it is important that you have the correct information to bring to your own prayer and thoughts.
Let us keep each other in prayer. Fr. Karl Pung