Planning begins for St. Margaret's
By Loretta Shea Kline
Catholic Key Reporter
LEE'S SUMMIT - Listening to area Catholics to find out their priorities will be the first priority for Father Michael Rice in founding a third parish in Lee's Summit.
"You have to listen for a long time to determine the identity of the people - their spiritual wants and needs," said Father Rice, who became pastor of the new St. Margaret Parish June 23. "You have to do that before anything."
One of the ways Father Rice plans to connect with Catholics to hear their ideas is by celebrating Mass in homes of parishioners about three times a week starting in September. He said he also hopes to foster formation of small faith communities in the process.
Parishioners "will be asked, 'What kind of parish do you want?'" Father Rice said. "They will be in on the style and type."
The first St. Margaret Parish Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. July 4 at Prairie View Elementary School, 501 S.E. Todd George Road.
The new parish is being formed mostly from territory from Our Lady of Presentation Parish, where Father Rice served as pastor for nearly 13 years before Bishop Raymond J. Boland appointed him St. Margaret's pastor. The new parish includes a portion of Holy Spirit Parish, which also received a part of Presen-tation's territory.
The boundaries for St. Margaret Parish begin at Highway 291 and Colbern Road, go east to Highway 7, south to Herring Road, west to Harris Road, south to Haines Road, west to Smart Road, south to Browning Road, west to Highway 291 and north to Colbern Road.
St. Margaret was given about 40 percent of Our Lady of Presentation Parish, and will have about 1,150 families, "which is plenty big," Father Rice said. Our Lady of Presentation, which had been the largest parish in the Diocese, now has approximately 1,700 families within its boundaries, according to parish figures.
"Any smaller parish always is more effective in ministry," Father Rice said.
Father James Hart, long-time pastor of St. Therese Parish in Parkville, is the new pastor at Our Lady of Presentation.
The decision to form the first new parish in the Diocese in almost 20 years (Holy Family in Kansas City, north of the Missouri River, was founded in January 1980, and Holy Spirit in Lee's Summit was founded in March 1979) resulted from recommendations from Our Lady of Presentation Parish, said Sister of Charity (BVM) Jean Beste, director of personnel and planning for the Diocese.
"It all came from the people," Sister Beste said. "We responded to what they said."
The size of Our Lady of Presentation Parish coupled with continuing growth in eastern Jackson County led to the recommendation to form a new parish, Sister Beste said. The parish based its recommendation on the premise that people are better served in a smaller parish community, she said.
"That's always been their focus," Sister Beste said. "How do we serve the people of Lee's Summit better?"
The parish's Ministry Council began discussing overcrowding at Our Lady of Presentation in 1996. Discussions continued with various parish groups, and last June the Ministry Council along with the Finance Committee endorsed a plan to form a new parish in Lee's Summit.
Sister Beste said she expects the number of households served by Our Lady of Presentation Parish to remain stable in future years, while she anticipates the numbers for St. Margaret and Holy Spirit (which reported serving 485 families in 1998) will increase. Slightly less than half of the land within St. Margaret's parish boundaries is developed, and the number of households is expected to eventually reach 1,600 to 1,800, Father Rice said.
The parish is the first in the Diocese to be named St. Margaret. Its patron is St. Margaret of Scotland. As queen of Scotland in the latter part of the 11th century, she was noted for solicitude for the poor and promoting justice, according to the 1999 Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Almanac.
Plans are for the parish to build a church on a 15-acre site on Blackwell Road between Colbern and Langsford roads. The land was donated by developer William Gibson of W.R. Gibson Development Co., Father Rice said. Gibson's late wife, Margaret, was a member of Our Lady of Presentation Parish, and Gibson gave the land in her memory.
The parish has not set a timetable for building a church, Father Rice said. His residence and the parish office will be temporarily located in a house at 1117 N.E. Barnes Drive. The parish's telephone number is (816) 246-6800.
Starting July 10, Masses will be celebrated at 5 p.m. Saturdays at Grace United Methodist Church, 2400 S.E. 50 Highway, and 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sundays at Prairie View Elementary School, according to a tentative Mass schedule published by the parish.
Father Rice, who as part of his preparations to lead the new parish attended a workshop and consulted with other priests across the country who have started parishes, said, "This will be very much a people-run parish."
He said he is "optimistic and excited" about founding a parish in the spirit of Vatican II.