Last week the Denver Catholic spoke to Very Rev. Randy Dollins, V.G., moderator of the curia, about the parish boundaries process that is currently under way.
Q: The archdiocese is reviewing and making changes to parish boundaries; who is involved in that process?
A: A little over a year ago all the parishes did a self study, part of which was questions about their boundaries—whether they felt their boundaries were correct. We got a lot of feedback from the parishes. The key people involved are the pastors themselves. We’re going deanery by deanery. We’ve finished the Boulder Deanery, so we have 12 to go. I take the current boundaries, draw them up in a mapping program, incorporate suggested changes pastors gave in the self study, then the whole deanery gets that map and they discuss it. Through a process with the deans we determine where the boundaries should be. The pastors sign off on them and the archbishop confirms that those are the boundaries.
Q: Why is it necessary to change some boundaries?
A: This process hasn’t been done in a really long time and there are a lot of new roads, for instance, E-470. In some cases, new boundaries might just make more logical sense. Sometimes a parish’s boundary was the whole county because it was the only parish in the county. Then you get odd boundaries like St. Augustine in Brighton, which technically goes from Brighton all the way down to I-70 and includes the airport—it’s this huge area. But the airport is technically closer to Ascension Parish in Denver and if we’re going to have a Mass at the airport then the question is: Whose authority is that under? Pastors need to know what area is under their purview; what are they responsible for? It’s helping us to find that. Mapping technology now is amazing. You can get on the Internet and draw a boundary line around an area and label that. We’ll be able to promulgate these boundary maps with a link on the archdiocesan website (www.archden.org/boundaries) where people can go and see the location of each parish, the boundaries, and the boundaries of the overall deanery. It’s an opportunity in this moment of technology.
Q: What is the status of the boundary review process?
A: The Boulder Deanery is done and we’re going to try to get another six or seven of the remaining 12 deaneries done by June 2017. From this point, it’s probably another two years before we have them all done. As they get promulgated the map on www.archden.org/boundaries will show them. Boundaries exist for all the parishes right now, but sometimes those are up in the air.
Q: When will the new boundaries be announced?
A: Concurrent with this article, the Boulder deanery boundaries will be announced. As we get others done they will get promulgated. There will be notice in the Denver Catholic and the map on www.archden.org/boundaries will get updated.
Q: In this Denver Catholic, the archbishop offers guidelines for the faithful to consider when choosing a parish to attend, would you like to talk about some of those?
A: The archbishop wants people to think about where they’re going to Mass, where they consider themselves parishioners, and why they are going there. Sometimes people are floaters; that doesn’t really build community. Wherever you choose to go, become a parishioner there.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add about the parish boundaries process?
A: Because we are the church instituted by Christ, the Catholic Church feels responsible for the whole world. At some level the entire world is divided up. In the Archdiocese of Denver, every area is under the spiritual care of a pastor. This is our way of reviewing that and making sure the parish boundaries make sense for us.