For over eighty-nine years, the spiritual welfare of the Catholic Faithful of Charleston, South Carolina, has been served by Our Lady of Mercy Parish. During this time, the Faithful have heard the Word of God, worshiped, and received the Sacraments of the Church within this parish. They have also vigorously promoted educational and social ministries, reaching out to those in need in the local community. In an effort to ensure the vitality of parish life, with concern for the best stewardship of resources, and the right of the people of God to receive assistance from the Church, especially the Word of God, spiritual sustenance, the sacraments, and to strengthen the important ministries the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Parish have developed, it is now deemed necessary to begin a new chapter of the Church’s presence on the downtown peninsula while creating new provisions for the spiritual care of the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Parish.
To that end, after due consultation with the pastor, Rev. Henry N. Kulah; having asked parishioners to make known their needs and desires; having sought and heard the counsel of the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Charleston on January 20, 2014; and in accordance with the norms of canon 515, §2 and by testimony of this document, I hereby unite Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Charleston, South Carolina, with the present parish of St. Patrick, Charleston, South Carolina, to form one territorial parish resulting in the suppression (unio extinctiva) of the present Our Lady of Mercy Parish. This unified parish shall include the membership of Our Lady of Mercy Parish and the present St. Patrick Parish, to the extent that the former parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Parish wish to affiliate. The new boundaries for St. Patrick Parish shall encompass the current territory of St. Patrick Parish as well as the territory belonging to Our Lady of Mercy Parish. The current St. Patrick Church edifice shall be the primary place of worship for the unified parish community. The name of the present St. Patrick Parish will remain unchanged, and the names of the current Our Lady of Mercy Church and St. Patrick Church buildings shall remain unchanged. This decision is based upon a number of factors, among which are the size of the parish, the fostering of unity, the enhancement of collaborative ministry, and the best use of available priest personnel.
The registers of Our Lady of Mercy Parish containing the records of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Marriage, and deaths, and all parish records and historical documents are to be transferred to the present parish of St. Patrick, Charleston, where they will be faithfully preserved in accord with canon 535, §1-5. In accordance to the norm of canon 121, all assets and liabilities, whether movable or immovable, of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, upon this union and suppression, will become the assets and liabilities of the present St. Patrick Parish, Charleston. Furthermore, possession of all ecclesiastical goods and all objects of artistic or historical value belonging to the former Our Lady of Mercy Parish shall be transferred to the present St. Patrick Parish, Charleston, and shall be administered in accordance with canons 1189 and 1292. The unification of Our Lady of Mercy Parish and St. Patrick Parish, Charleston, will suppress and terminate the juridic personality of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, which it now possesses by law. Therefore, Our Lady of Mercy Parish shall no longer be a subject of obligations and rights in canon law corresponding to its nature as a juridic person, nor will it be capable of acquiring, retaining, administering, and alienating temporal goods according to the norm of law.
I direct that this decree be given to the pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Charleston, South Carolina, who is also the current pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Charleston, South Carolina, and that this information be communicated at all Masses of obligation on the weekend of Saturday, April 12, 2014, and Sunday, April 13, 2014. I further direct that this decree be published on the website for the Diocese of Charleston, sccatholic.org, which will be presumed the official notification of this action. This Decree has an effective date of April 14, 2014, nothing the contrary withstanding. Given at Charleston, South Carolina, on the 9th day of April 2014.
Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston
Sr. Sandra Makowski, SSMN, JCL