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Telling Anew the Story of Jesus

Introduction

As he stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd pressed in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats moored by the side of the lake…He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a short distance from the shore; then remaining seated, he continued to teach the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we have been hard at it all night long and caught nothing; but if you say so, I will lower the nets." Upon doing this they caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point
(Luke 5:1-6)

In his Apostolic Letter at the beginning of the new millennium, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, appealing to this passage from Luke's gospel, invited all bishops, priests and deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful to "remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm, and to look forward to the future with confidence." He called us to "put out into the deep," to "go forward in hope."

I believe this plan has the elements necessary to enable the Diocese of Portland to move forward, telling anew the story of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior - that is to say, the components are here for the Diocese to embark upon a new evangelization effort.

The Call to Evangelize

In his letter, Evangelii nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI declared that the Church exists in order to evangelize. Pope John Paul II has repeatedly called for a "new evangelization" which will renew not only the Church but also the world. Our primary mission as a diocese, then, is to be an evangelizing people. But what exactly do we mean by the term "evangelization"? Let us begin with Scripture:

Jesus said to his disciples: "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20) Here, in the "Great Commissioning" of the disciples by the Lord Jesus, the Church finds its original mandate to evangelize. Here, the Church discerns the essential meaning of evangelization.

How is this evangelization done? Let us turn to the words of Paul VI: This proclamation must be made above all else by witness. We envisage, therefore, a Christian or a group of Christians as people who, in the midst of the community in which they live, will show that they are capable of understanding and accepting others and of cooperating with all those who are seeking to protect what is noble and good. We envisage them radiating simply and spontaneously their faith in values which transcend common values and their hope in things which are not seen and of which even the boldest mind cannot form an image. By bearing such silent witness these Christians will inevitably arouse a spirit of enquiry in those who see their way of life. Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? Why are they among us? Witness of this kind constitutes in itself a proclamation of the good news, silent, but strong and effective. (Evangelii nuntiandi #21) Witness alone, however essential, is not enough. The meaning of an individual's witness - or a community's witness - needs to be clarified by preaching. But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15) As both Paul VI and John Paul II have affirmed, there is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed.

Who is commissioned to do this evangelization? In a word, all of us! In Vatican II's Constitution on the Church (#17), the Church declares: "All disciples of Christ are obliged to spread the faith to the best of their ability". The specific role of lay people is emphasized in Vatican II's Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People (#2): In the concrete, (the laity's) apostolate is exercised when they work to evangelize people and make them holy; it is exercised, too, when they endeavor to have the Gospel spirit permeate and improve the temporal order, going about it in a way that bears clear witness to Christ and helps move forward the salvation of humanity.

What follows is a series of strategies to foster this spirit of evangelization among our people. Some people will suppose that this is simply an attempt to reconfigure the structure of our diocese in the light of some current challenges (i.e. shifting demographics, uncertain economics, and insufficient number of priests). However, we can also see this the other way around. Perhaps one of the reasons why the Holy Spirit has led us into this time of crisis is to force us back on ourselves, that we might rediscover and reclaim our true identity as Catholic Christians and then boldly proclaim Christ to the world. It is in this spirit, with this hope, that I offer these strategies and goals.

Theological and Statistical Framework

There are several reasons, both theological and statistical, supporting the call for a "New Evangelization". In Lumen Gentium, Vatican II's document on the Church, the urgency for the Church to restate its mission is articulated:

Since the Church, in Christ, is in the nature of sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men - she here purposes, for the benefit of the faithful and of the whole world, to set forth, as clearly as possible, and in the tradition laid down by earlier Councils, her own nature and universal mission. The condition of the modern world lends greater urgency to this duty of the Church. (#1)

The Centrality of the Eucharist

The Eucharist is both the source and summit of our lives as Church. It is essential that the Eucharist remains central in the life of parishes and clusters throughout the Diocese. Several aspects of the Eucharist and its celebration need to be considered foundational to any effort at evangelization. For example, we still strive to more fully realize the ideal "… that the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations." (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #14)

Our celebrations of the Eucharist are impacted by the demographic realities of the diocese. Therefore, it is necessary to look at such issues as: the number of regular weekend Masses to be offered by a priest; how weekday communion services fit into our understanding of Eucharist; and, the possible need for Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest.

New Understanding of Parish

Theologically speaking, parishes are envisioned differently today than in the past. For many people, the word "parish" conjures up a mental picture of a church building. The revised Code of Canon Law, reflecting the Church's renewed theology of parishes, describes a parish as "a definite community of the Christian faithful established on a stable basis within a particular church" (i.e. a Diocese) (Canon 515.1).

Expanding on this canonical definition of a parish, one might speak in these terms:

  • A parish is where there exists a community of the faithful of sufficient size, capable of supporting and participating in the central, most important action of the Church - namely, its celebration of the Sunday Eucharist.
  • A parish happens wherever the Church's sacraments and devotional practices are carried out.
  • A parish is where there is a sufficient number of members available to carry on the parish's various ministries:
    • faith formation at all age levels, but particularly at the adult level;
    • evangelization outreach to its inactive members and to the unchurched of its area, helping them find a way to come home or belong to the parish;
    • justice and charity ministries to serve those for whom God has a special love; and
    • other ministries; among them a ministry to foster vocations to serve the church in leadership positions.

New Understanding of Ministry

In recent decades there has been a renewed emphasis on grounding Church ministry, both lay and clerical, in the sacrament of Baptism. Before Vatican II, ministry was perceived primarily as the responsibility of priests and religious. The role of the laity was to serve as their helpers. Vatican II anchored the ministry as an outflow of one's membership in the Church, conferred at Baptism. Thus all are called to be ministers.

Ordained and lay ecclesial ministers share in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ, although the Church teaches that there is an essential difference between the priesthood of the faithful and the ordained priesthood. In their respective vocations, the ordained and non-ordained are called to reflect the threefold office of Christ as prophet, priest, and king - the one who teaches the Word, ministers the sacraments, and leads the Christian community.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own...." (1Peter 2:9).

Collaborative Ministry

In the final chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, Paul greets those who had collaborated with him in his missionary apostolate. He writes:

Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila; they were my fellow workers in the service of Christ Jesus and even risked their lives for the sake of me… Remember me also to the congregation that meets in their house. Greetings to my beloved Epaenetus; he is the first offering that Asia made to Christ. My greetings to Mary, who has worked hard for you, and to Andronicus and Junias…They were in Christ even before I was…Greetings to Rufus, a chosen servant in the Lord's service, and to his mother, who has been a mother to me as well… (Romans 16:3-16).

Paul knew his co-workers by name; he knew the congregations with whom they worked; he knew their families, even referring at one point to the mother of Rufus as "a mother to me." Paul had affection for those who served with him in carrying out the Church's mission, and they must have had great affection for him. Without any stretch of the imagination, I can easily read between the lines the joy and the love they experienced as co-workers in ministry.

Today the Holy Spirit may very well be leading the Diocese to hearken back to the collaborative spirit of ministry embedded in the Church's foundational missionary days. I believe that a commitment to collaborative ministry at multiple levels will be key to the renewal of the Church's life in Maine. This will be practiced among parishes within clusters and among clusters themselves; among clergy and laity; among diocesan clergy and religious clergy; among the parishes and the chaplaincies; among the various chancery offices themselves; and among the chancery offices and the chaplaincies, parishes, and clusters.

In addition to these theological changes, there is a need to take into consideration statistical changes within the Diocese.

Decline in the Number of Active Priests

The Church in Maine has experienced, and is projected to continue experiencing, a significant decline in the number of priests available to serve the Diocese. If the average rate of ordinations holds constant then the number of active priests should level off and remain at approximately 60-65. The Diocese projects that by the year 2010 there will be 61 diocesan priests under age 70 available to serve either in parishes and missions, or in full-time chancery-level ministries, or in various institutional chaplaincies. Furthermore, by 2010 not all of these 61 active diocesan priests will have had sufficient experience to undertake a pastorship and, even more significantly, not all would feel called to assume the ministry of a pastor in the future.

The Diocese has been blessed with the presence of many religious communities, both women and men. Women religious have taught in our schools, staffed hospitals, worked with the needy, and ministered in a variety of ways in our parishes. Men religious have provided pastoral care to the sick in our hospitals, have worked with the Native Americans, and have served numerous parishes throughout the Diocese. While their numbers are also decreasing, the Diocese hopes the religious communities will be able to continue serving the Church in Maine, particularly those religious communities of men that staff parishes.

Population Shifts

It is easy to observe how population shifts in Maine have affected, either favorably or unfavorably, a parish's census. Some houses of worship are filled to capacity, while others have many empty pews.

Financial Factors

Population declines in turn have a negative impact on the financial stability of some parishes, thus impeding their ability to support effective programs that further the parish's mission.

New Areas of Development

At the same time, there are significant areas of development and growth in the Diocese's recent history.

Lay Ecclesial Ministers

Lay people in increasing numbers have generously prepared themselves and come forth to offer their gifts for ministry in the Church. Parish Catechetical Leaders, Youth Ministers, Pastoral Associates, Teachers, and countless others have provided service to the Diocese for many years. From what has been learned anecdotally, others are ready to come forward.

Permanent Deacons

Since 1998 the Diocese has ordained three classes of permanent deacons for parish and diocesan ministry; furthermore, the Diocese has at its disposal a number of permanent deacons from other dioceses who are serving in Maine.

The Committee's Proposals

The following are the proposals received from the Evangelization Committee which I now make my own:

1) that I vigorously foster and support parish spiritual renewal and collaborative ministry as key strategies for bringing about a new evangelization in the Diocese, recognizing that structural or administrative changes of themselves are insufficient to bring about a new evangelization.

2) that I reduce to 27 the current 31 clusters of parishes in the Diocese by reassigning some parishes to different clusters.

3) that I initiate a planning process for the clusters and, within a determined timeframe, require that the clusters present to me their plan for how their constituent parishes will interact and the administrative model they wish to establish.

4) that I
a .name one pastor to have oversight over all the parishes within a given cluster, for a total of 27 pastors.
b. assign 26 priests to serve as parochial vicars in the various clusters, taking into consideration the needs of the diocese.
c. reserve 8 priests for special ministries either in the chancery or in various chaplaincies.

5) that I dialogue with the major superiors of religious communities of men and women currently serving in the Diocese or that I have contact with communities not currently serving in the Diocese to discern ways these communities might best live out their respective charism and at the same time serve the needs of the Diocese.

6) that I assure the pastoral needs of Catholic schools, colleges, hospitals, and prisons, which are all essential to the effort of evangelization be attended to in the planning process.

Reducing the Number of Clusters

All parishes and missions of the Diocese will be subsumed under 27 clusters as listed on pages 16-18. These cluster groups include all the parishes and missions of the Diocese. When this planning process began, many of the faithful were understandably concerned about whether their parish would be closed. This proposal has not identified any specific parish or church for closure. If it is necessary in the future to close any parishes, I will do so only after receiving a recommendation from the cluster.

The cluster groupings also indicate the number of priests proposed for assignment to the each clusters, including the pastor. One pastor per cluster will enable the pastor to call upon the resources of the whole cluster in the mission of evangelization; should facilitate communication among staff; and should promote more effective administration.

The Thinking Behind the Proposal

1) This proposal provides a sound basis for vibrant and alive communities that are able to focus on mission and can go well beyond bare subsistence and maintenance. Parish groupings will find among themselves greater resources of people and finances than any individual parish would have on its own. I believe, it removes from each local community a sense of isolation and strengthens it by associating it with other local communities who share the same faith journey. This could be especially important in groupings of small, rural parishes.

2) It seeks to provide ongoing sacramental ministry as broadly as possible. The sacramental life of the Church is vital and this proposal allows for the broadest availability of Eucharist and the other sacraments.

3) It seeks to provide continued pastoral presence throughout the Diocese. This scenario represents a reasonable compromise between the needs of our more rural northern and eastern parishes and those of our larger southern and southwestern parishes.

4) It attempts to build on already existing links between communities. As much as possible, it links parishes who have shared a common working history in cluster/deanery groups, and it links communities with other existing natural bonds, for example, being in the same school district or having commercial links.

5) It is based on a previous history of consultation and collaboration. The clusters incorporate ideas that have arisen in our current cluster and deanery groups, as well as previous efforts at consultation (Vision 2000). It seems to me this very process of continued collaboration and consultation will both evangelize those involved in it and serve to help build up the Body of Christ in the Diocese.

6) It tries to recognize and respect cultural differences. It seeks to group parishes together who have some kind of natural connection. It also seeks to be sensitive to the fears of some smaller communities that they will be simply swallowed up or pushed aside by the larger or wealthier ones.

7) It fosters the principle of subsidiarity by not calling for the closing of any specific parish or mission. Subsidiarity is the concept that problems or concerns are best resolved by those most closely affected by them. The people within each grouping of parishes will be able to assess their local needs in the light of the mission of the Church and come to life-giving recommendations which best meet those needs. This plan focuses on collaboration for the common good, not closings.

8) It will be a "wake-up call" to all who read it. All who examine the cluster groupings will quickly realize that priests can no longer serve one of these groupings in the same way that they could serve a single parish community. Past structures will no longer be workable. Implementing this plan calls for ongoing education and training for Church leaders at all levels, both priests and laity.

Implementing the Proposal

Guiding the Implementation

Successful implementation of this proposal requires strong leadership at all levels, commitment to the process, consistency in message and presentation, and accountability. Therefore, I have asked Ernie Lebel to direct and coordinate the implementation phase of the plan. There will be an implementation team or teams to assist the clusters in their planning.
Materials developed for this process will place administrative concerns in the context of the Church's mission of evangelization. The elements of the planning process will invite participants to deepen their relationship with God and embrace new relationships within the Diocesan Church.

Organizational Design

The goal of this process is a new vision for the Church in Maine and a renewed commitment to the Good News. New parish structures will be needed, not as ends in themselves, but in order to foster and support this vision and to engage all in responding to God's call to discipleship. Restructuring relationships and realigning responsibilities will recognize areas of appropriate authority and competence, steward important resources, and invite all to a fuller participation in the ministry of the Church. The following recommendations regarding parish governance arise from the belief that parish structures should express and support the mission of the Church.

Managing Cluster Parishes

Effective and efficient parish management is necessary in order to facilitate parish revitalization and evangelization and minimize the administrative burden of pastors. Outlined below are the four basic cluster models for consideration.

Each model has advantages and disadvantages. There is no "one size fits all" model of clustering. Determining which model will work in a given situation is dependent upon such factors as the distance between parishes, relative size of parishes, cultural and ethnic identities, economic and spiritual vitality, parish histories and traditions, leadership skills, presence of Catholic school(s), specialized ministerial needs (i.e. hospital, college, prison, nursing homes) etc. Strengths of existing parish communities must be preserved and enhanced while moving from a strong parochial sense of community to a broader sense of being church.

The recommendation of which administrative model to be utilized by a particular cluster should emerge from a prayerful collaborative planning process that involves parishioners, staff, parish pastoral councils, pastors and the diocese.

Model I One Pastor - Merged Parish - Centralized Team & Councils

  • One pastor who works with one staff
  • All councils, committees, finances and sacramental records are merged together to create a new parish with multi-worship sites
  • Core staff centrally located in an administrative center in service to all worship sites
  • Individual worship sites may have pastoral and/or support staff
  • Individual worship sites may or may not have a priest in residence
  • One Parish Pastoral Council
  • One Parish Finance Council

Model II One Pastor - Separate Parishes - Centralized Team & Councils

  • One pastor who works with one staff
  • Core staff centrally located in an administrative center in service to all parishes
  • Individual parishes may have pastoral and/or support staff
  • Individual parishes may or may not have a priest in residence
  • One Cluster Pastoral Council
  • One Cluster Finance Council

Model III One Pastor - Build & Close - Centralized Team & Councils

  • One pastor who works with one staff
  • All councils, committees, finances and sacramental records are merged together to create a new canonical parish
  • Core staff centrally located in an administrative center in service to all parishes
  • Together the communities build a new larger church
  • Existing churches are closed and properties sold to provide funding for building new church
  • One Parish Pastoral Council
  • One Parish Finance Council

Model IV One Pastor - Combination of Models - Centralized Team/Councils

  • For example, in a 5 parish cluster: a) 2 merge to form a new parish and 3 merge to form a second parish; b) 3 merge to form a new parish and 2 remain as separate parishes; or some other combination of the other models.
  • One pastor who works with one staff
  • Core staff centrally located in an administrative center in service to all cluster parishes
  • Some existing churches may be closed and properties sold to provide funding for building new church
  • Individual parishes or worship sites may have pastoral and/or support staff
  • Individual parishes or worship sites may or may not have a priest in residence
  • One Cluster Pastoral Council
  • One Cluster Finance Council

Governance

In each of the new cluster models, consolidation of councils and committees is of critical importance. Each worship site should be represented in the membership of the cluster's councils and committees in the interest of commonality or community. The councils and committees should foster bridge-building and promote effective management of time, talent and treasure. The pastor, key staff and lay leadership must assume responsibility for the Church's mission of evangelization and for stewardship of the Church's resources necessary to achieve that mission.

Each cluster will have a fully-operable pastoral council and finance council. Directives regarding the functioning, purpose, membership and role of these councils will be issued in a separate document.

In addition to their concern for the parish or cluster, Pastoral Councils and Finance Councils need to be aware of discussions at the diocesan level. A working committee is developing protocols for communication among themselves and with the diocese.

Role of the Pastor

As shepherd of the parish, the pastor is responsible for and oversees its operation. He leads but he does not need to personally do everything. A more detailed document will be issued delineating the responsibilities of the pastor and the parish. The pastor must be free to provide sacramental services and pastoral care as required of him in the Code of Canon Law.

Role of Other Priests

In addition to the pastor, other priests may be assigned to the cluster either as a Parochial Vicar or a Senior Priest and are considered key staff. Although ultimate responsibility for the cluster will remain with the pastor, the other priests play a vital role in the sacramental and pastoral care of the faithful in the cluster. As part of the staff, they help set priorities and determine strategies needed to help bring about the fulfillment of the Church's mission. There could also be a retired priest in the cluster or in a neighboring cluster who may help provide sacramental assistance but he would not be considered staff.

Role of Deacons

In addition to priests, deacons may be able to provide service and ministry to a cluster. Consideration will be given to assigning a deacon to each cluster. I may assign deacons (either incardinated or non-incardinated) as either paid or volunteer, fulltime or part time staff to the cluster. Like the priests and other key staff, they would help set priorities and determine strategies to help bring about the fulfillment of the Church's mission.

Other Key Staff

The number of key staff may differ from one cluster to another. Each cluster is to have two to three key staff members, namely, a Pastoral Life Coordinator and a Business Administrator, and, where applicable, the School(s) Principal(s). In some clusters Parish Coordinators may be needed to support the pastoral needs of a specific part of a cluster, e.g. a remote parish community. Parish Coordinators, where they exist, are to be considered key staff. Recognizing that clusters will vary in size, the roles of these positions will be different. On the smaller end, these key staff positions may even be part-time. Model job descriptions, hiring procedures and operational guidelines are being refined and will be issued as separate documents.

Each cluster will recommend to me the administrative model and necessary staff the cluster determines is appropriate.

Parish Elementary Schools

Parish schools have been an important part of the Diocese of Portland since they were founded and they continue to serve a vital role in the Church's mission to evangelize. In those clusters that have schools, they become the responsibility of that cluster.

Recognizing that there may be governance issues that need to be resolved, I will be asking the Office of Catholic Schools and the Diocesan School Board to undertake a strategic planning process to explore and evaluate various administrative and funding models in light of the governance issues that clustering raises.

Specialized Ministries

As stated earlier in the proposals, evangelization involves much more than simply re-structuring the Diocese. Through its many specialized ministries (hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, campus ministers, ethnic ministers, etc.) the Church has provided guidance, hope, reconciliation and other pastoral care to countless people. I expect clusters are to identify how they will address specialized ministry needs as part of their cluster plan even when staff for these ministries is provided by the diocese.

Central Cluster Office & Priest(s) Residence

All key administrative staff should be centrally located in one administrative center which services all worship sites in the cluster. This centralization will facilitate management, enhance the quality of communication among staff and provide for economies of scale.

Some support staff may be located at individual worship sites; for example, maintenance and coordination of volunteers or formation or pastoral staff may need to maintain hours on site.

In clusters with multiple priests, the residence arrangements may vary. In all cases, it makes sense, to me, for the pastor to live in close proximity to the administrative center. In some instances, it will make sense for multiple priests to live together and divide responsibilities from one location. In clusters where there is considerable distance between sites and perhaps a hospital at each geographical end of the cluster, one priest might live at each end to facilitate timely response to emergencies. In cases where the priests live separately, they should rotate mass schedules and other duties such that the pastor has an ongoing presence at each worship site. Consideration should be given to the specialized ministry needs of each worship site location when determining the residence location for priests. These considerations are to be included in the cluster recommendations to me.

Compensation

It is critical that a just compensation system is implemented for clergy and lay personnel. A working group is being formed to develop compensation guidelines for cluster staff. Help will be made available to clusters to assist in the implementation of those guidelines and monitoring their use.

Formation

As I mentioned above, launching a successful evangelization effort in the Diocese is contingent upon effective collaborative ministry. Education and formation program will be necessary. A leadership formation working group has been established to look at the educational and formational needs of the clergy and laity. This group will make recommendations regarding both immediate as well as ongoing long term educational and formational needs. Directives will be issued in a subsequent document.

As previously noted, a process of spiritual renewal should also be undertaken throughout the Diocese. We must always keep before us that there are many gifts but one community guided by the Spirit. With this we can begin to evangelize ourselves as a Church. Important elements include a need to experience the presence of God in our lives, a concept of stewardship that is based on prayer, service and sharing within the larger Church community. A strong basis in prayer is essential as it opens the door to a process of collaboration and unity that is centered in Christ. A working group is being formed to recommend an appropriate program of spiritual renewal for the diocese.

Cluster Planning

A cluster planning process is being developed that will help clusters identify their needs. The planning materials and a refined timeline are in the process of being finalized.

Clusters will recommend the administrative model that works best for them as well as identify the pastoral needs of the cluster. Identifying pastoral needs will help the cluster remain focused on its mission and will challenge it to develop strategies to minister to each person in the cluster.

A successful planning process is based on collaboration, and collaboration demands good communication. (Good communication requires that there be a process of communication.) Therefore a communication plan is being developed that will ensure the faithful are given accurate information and a consistent message.

Clusters

(Note: italics indicates a mission church)

Cluster 1: 1 Priest
Eagle Lake, Wallagrass, Fort Kent, St. Francis, Allagash

Cluster 2: 3 Priests, possibly the Marists
Frenchville, St. Agatha, Birch Point, Sinclair, Madawaska (St. Thomas),
Madawaska (St. David), Grand Isle, Van Buren, Hamlin, Long Lake.

Cluster 3: 3 Priests
Caribou (Holy Rosary), Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Caribou (Sacred Heart),
Stockholm, Ashland, Portage, Washburn, Presque Isle, Mars Hill.

Cluster 4: 1 Priest
Houlton, Island Falls, Patten, Danforth, Vanceboro

Cluster 5: 1 Priest
Millinocket, East Millinocket, Benedicta, Sherman

Cluster 6: 1 Priest or the Oblates
Howland, Lincoln, Winn, Kingman

Cluster 7: 1 Priest
Dover-Foxcroft, Sangerville, Milo, Dexter, Pittsfield

Cluster 8: 2 Priests
Baileyville, Indian Township, Calais, Eastport, Pembroke, Perry,
Machias, Cherryfield, Lubec, Campobello

Cluster 9: 4 Priests
Bradley, Indian Island, Old Town, Orono (Our Lady of Wisdom), Orono
(St. Mary), Bangor (St. John), Bangor (St. Mary), Brewer (St. Joseph),
Brewer (St. Theresa), Hampden, Winterport

Cluster 10: 1 Priest plus 1 Senior Priest
Belfast, Isleboro, Bucksport, Stonington, Castine

Cluster 11: 2 Priests
Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Isleford, Ellsworth,
Blue Hill, Green Lake, Winter Harbor

Cluster 12: 4 Priests
Fairfield, Oakland, Belgrade, N. Vassalboro, So. China, Waterville,
Winslow, Madison, Bingham, Skowhegan

Cluster 13: 3 Priests
Augusta (St. Andrew), Augusta (St. Augustine), Augusta (St. Mary),
Gardiner, Hallowell, Richmond, Whitefield, Winthrop, Monmouth,
Litchfield

Cluster 14: 2 Priests
Boothbay Harbor, Newcastle, Camden, Vinalhaven, North Haven,
Rockland, Thomaston

Cluster 15: The Marist Fathers (or with 2 Diocesan Priests)
Bath, Brunswick (St. Charles), Harpswell, Brunswick (St. John),
Pejepscot

Cluster 16: 2 Priests
Auburn (Sacred Heart), Auburn (St. Louis), Auburn (St. Philip), Mechanic
Falls, Oxford, Norway

Cluster 17: 3 Priests
Lewiston (Holy Cross), Lewiston (Holy Family), Lisbon Falls, Sabattus,
Greene, Lewiston (St. Joseph), Lewiston (St. Patrick), Lewiston (Sts.
Peter and Paul)

Cluster 18: 1 Priest
Rumford, Roxbury Pond, Mexico, Dixfield, Bethel

Cluster 19: 2 Priests
Farmington, Jay, Oquossoc, Sugarloaf, Rangeley, Stratton

Cluster 20: 1 Priest
Greenville, Rockwood, Jackman, The Forks

Cluster 21: 3 Diocesan Priests plus the Religious Priests presently serving in the city
Peaks Island, Long Island, Portland (Cathedral), Portland (Sacred
Heart/St. Dominic), Portland (St. Louis), Portland (St. Peter), Portland (St.
Joseph), Portland (St. Patrick), Portland (St. Pius)

Cluster 22: 2 Priests
Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Pine Point, S. Portland (Holy Cross),
S. Portland (St. John)

Cluster 23: 3 Priests
Gorham, East Sebago, Westbrook, Bridgton, Fryeburg, Windham, Raymond

Cluster 24: 1 Priest and 1 Senior Priest
Falmouth, Yarmouth, Freeport, Gray

Cluster 25: 3 Priests
Biddeford (St. Andre), Biddeford (St. Joseph), Biddeford (St. Mary),
Biddeford Pool, Lyman, Old Orchard Beach, Old Orchard Beach, Saco
(Most Holy Trinity), Saco (Notre Dame)

Cluster 26: 3 Priests
Kennebunk, Wells, Ogunquit, Sanford (Holy Family), Sanford (St.
Ignatius), Springvale, Limerick

Cluster 27: 2 Priests
Kittery, York, York Beach, Berwick, So. Berwick

Click here for Current Cluster Configuration