According to canon 515.2 of the Code of Canon Law, “The diocesan bishop alone is competent to erect, suppress, or alter parishes...” The Second Vatican Council, in its Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, Christus Dominus, number 32, teaches that in creating or in any way changing the status of a parish, the bishop is to be motivated by his concern for the salvation of souls. This teaching was expanded upon by Pope Paul VI in his apostolic letter, Ecclesiae Sanctae I, number 21, “Every possible effort should be made that parishes where, because of too great a population or too large a territory or for any cause whatsoever, apostolic activity can be exercised only with difficulty or less effectively, should be suitably divided or dismembered, as the circumstances require. And likewise parishes which are too small should be united as conditions and circumstances demand.”
For the past 21 years, the Latin Mass community has worshipped at Sacred Heart Church in Fort Wayne. It has demonstrated its viability by continued growth through the years. It has demonstrated its ability to assume the obligations of a parish. With the extension of the boundaries of Saint Henry Parish to include the territory of Sacred Heart Parish, Sacred Heart Parish will have a new and distinct identity as a “personal parish” for the community of the faithful who worship according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. This change in status is intended to promote the future growth of Sacred Heart Parish and the continued sacred use of Sacred Heart Church.
It is hoped that, with this change in status and with the concurrent extension of the boundaries of Saint Henry Parish, the pastoral and spiritual care of all the faithful, of those who worship according to the ordinary form of the Roman rite and of those who worship according to the extraordinary form, will be enhanced.
On September 7, 2011, I convened the Presbyteral Council of the diocese for the purpose of consulting with them regarding an alteration in the status of Sacred Heart Parish, Fort Wayne, Indiana, in conformity with canon 515.2. The matter was presented to the council for advice. After lengthy discussion, a consultative vote was taken. The advice of the Council, without a dissenting opinion, was for the Bishop to make the proposed alteration.
Therefore, after careful consideration of the advice of the Presbyteral Council as well as the input of the pastor of the parish and the various members of the parish communities, I decree the following:
I, the undersigned Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, in virtue of my pastoral office and in conformity with the Code of Canon Law, do hereby decree, that, in accordance with the norm of canon 515.2, Sacred Heart Parish, Fort Wayne, Indiana, will no longer be a territorial parish but will rather be a personal parish serving the needs of the community who participate regularly in the offering of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Membership in this parish will be obtained by registration in the parish.
This change will take effect on Sunday, November 6, 2011.
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend
Reverend Monsignor Robert Schulte
September 27, 2011