EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 17, 2013

St. Lucy, St. Monica to join under new pastor

METHUEN — St. Lucy and St. Monica parishes will soon have a new leader.

Monsignor William Fay, a priest since 1974, will join the churches June 4. He will serve as pastor of St. Lucy and St. Monica and will work with a pastoral team made up of priests, deacons, lay ministers, and members of the pastoral and finance council of both parishes.

“It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to it. I see it as fulfilling my responsibility as a priest and pastor. I’m going to meet new people, deliver the same message and their faith would be an enrichment to my own,” said Fay, pastor of St. Columbkille in Brighton. “My focus is to listen, get to know the people, hear their hopes and listen to the ideas they have for the collaborative to build a stronger church community in Methuen.”

St. Lucy and St. Monica were among the first 12 parishes by the Archdiocese of Boston chosen under Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s plan to collapse 288 parishes into 135 collaboratives. He hopes his plan will address the shortage of priests while trying to encourage Catholics to return to the church.

The St. Lucy-St. Monica collaborative will come up with a pastoral plan to best address the needs of the churches. The reverends Patrick Armano, pastor of St. Monica, and Richard Burton, spiritual leader at St. Lucy, are waiting for their new assignments.

There are 28 parishes in the Archdiocese involved in this first phase of O’Malley’s plan. The Rev. Paul Soper, director of the Office of Pastoral Planning, said five pastors have been chosen for new assignments and the remaining seven will be named later.

“We’re naming them in small groups because this way is a less complicated process,” Soper said. “This is not just a job application, there’s a lot of prayer involved, discernment, and considering the needs of the parish.”

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