|St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Scarborough|
SCARBOROUGH---Effective July 1, 2020, St. Bartholomew Parish in Cape Elizabeth, St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough, and St. John and Holy Cross Parish in South Portland will join to form the new St. John Paul II Parish. Monsignor Paul Stefanko, current pastor of the three parishes, will continue to serve as pastor of St. John Paul II Parish. The churches will maintain their individual names under the common patronage and intercession of St. John Paul II.
“For the most part, the average parishioner will not see any changes in the services or operation of the churches,” said Monsignor Stefanko. “Our Mass schedule will not change and our faith formation programming will remain the same with new programs under consideration. This is not a financial decision as we have no debt in any of our parishes at this time. This is an opportunity to connect three strong and proud parishes together under a spiritual name and to maximize our resources to help people grow in their faith.”
|Holy Cross Church, South Portland|
“This merger allows us to operate more efficiently,” said Dick Sawyer, a member of the finance council at St. John and Holy Cross Parish. “As with any merger, people will be anxious as to how this will impact their particular church. The fact is that this merger into one parish actually strengthens our overall positions, notwithstanding the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on all parishes throughout the diocese.”
“We need to be good stewards with the money that is entrusted to us by parishioners and use it as wisely as possible,” said Rita Thompson, a lifelong parishioner at Holy Cross Church. “This formal merger will bring this to fruition.”
To approve Monsignor Stefanko’s recommendation of merging these three parishes into St. John Paul II Parish, Bishop Robert Deeley ensured that all of the necessary canonical steps were followed, which included reviewing the discussions held in all three parishes, hearing the consultation of the Presbyteral Council, and obtaining the consent of both the College of Consultors and the Diocese of Portland’s Finance Council.
“Our family celebrates Mass at all three worship sites. The formation of St. John Paul II Parish with three different churches actually brings us closer together,” said Dr. Terry Gray, a St. Bartholomew representative on the pastoral council that serves all three parishes. “It seemed like a reasonable time to complete the process.”
|St. Bartholomew Church, Cape Elizabeth|
“While I expect that each church will continue to have its own identity within the new parish, I like the idea that we will be joined in honoring St. John Paul II in our community of faith,” said Susie DeGrinney, a parishioner of St. Maximilian Kolbe for nearly 30 years. “He is a modern saint who some of us have known for much of our lifetimes. In a time when we are all seeking to be peacemakers, I am encouraged that my fellow parishioners will join me in a special way as we unite in prayer under the example left by St. John Paul II, as ‘there is no true peace without fairness, truth, justice, and solidarity.’”
St. Bartholomew Parish in Cape Elizabeth was established in 1968, one of the first parishes in the diocese designed to accommodate Catholics who had moved from the city to the suburbs. The current church was dedicated in 1971. Holy Cross Parish was established in 1911, while St. John the Evangelist Parish was formed in 1926. The two became St. John and Holy Cross Parish in South Portland in 2013 upon the closing of St. John Church. St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough was established in 1988.
The new website address for St. John Paul II Parish will be www.jp2me.org. The current website for the parishes will connect to the new website through April of 2021.