Our future pastor
and the formation of our Parish Cluster
May 18, 2023
WEEKEND MASSES AFTER JULY 1
Several weeks ago, I announced that, after I move on July 1, Father Erich Rutten will begin to serve as pastor of the clustered parishes of Christ the King and Saint Thomas the Apostle. Our two parishes will remain independent, but we will share one pastor.
Since that time, the question on the minds of many parishioners has been: What does this mean for our weekend Mass schedule? Currently, Christ the King celebrates Mass on Saturday at 4:30 pm and Mass on Sunday at 9:30 am, while Saint Thomas the Apostle celebrates Mass on Saturday at 5:00 pm and Masses on Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00 am. Clearly, it will not be possible for one priest to celebrate these five Masses.
After consultation in both parishes and with Fr. Erich, we have decided that, for the first six months of his appointment, (July-December), our parishes will continue our current Mass schedules with the help of additional priests. This means that, on a given weekend, Father Erich will probably celebrate Masses at one parish while another priest will celebrate Masses at the other parish. This will alternate so that our new pastor will, over time, spend an equal number of weekends in each parish.
You will be happy to know that the priests assisting at Saint Thomas the Apostle are men who are well-known to this community: Fr. Steve McMichael, Fr. Mike Joncas, and Fr. Paul Feela. In addition, Fr. Thomas Kommers has agreed to assist on weekends at Christ the King.
I am so pleased that we’ve been able to make this arrangement for the first six months of transition. (Thanks to Christina Maas and Moya McGinn Matthews!) This will allow Father Erich time to become better acquainted with the worship and people at both parishes before making any decisions to possibly alter the schedule of weekend Masses.
April 22, 2023
You will recall that I announced in February that I will be moving to a new parish on July 1, and at that time, Saint Thomas the Apostle will be clustered with the parish of Christ the King; that is, these two independent parishes will share one pastor. Now, I am pleased to announce that Father Erich Rutten has been appointed to serve as pastor of our two parishes and canonical administrator for Carondelet Catholic School.
Fr. Erich Rutten
Fr. Erich was born and raised near Joliet, Illinois and came to Minnesota for graduate studies. He has lived in the Twin Cities for the last 30 years including 12 years in south Minneapolis. Fr. Erich was ordained to the priesthood in 2005 and has served at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, Our Lady of Grace in Edina, the University of Saint Thomas Campus Ministry, Saint Peter Claver in Saint Paul, and Saint Odilia in Shoreview. He has also served for eleven years as the Chair of the Archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, seven years on the Social Concerns Committee of the Minnesota Catholic Conference of Bishops, and five years on the Board of Ascension Catholic Academy.
In the coming weeks, please continue to pray for our parishes and for Father Erich, and prepare to welcome him as warmly as you did me.
March 24, 2023
A few weeks ago, I shared with you the news that, on July 1, I will be moving to another parish, and Saint Thomas the Apostle will be clustered with the Church of Christ the King as two independent parishes served by one pastor who will also serve as canonical administrator for Carondelet Catholic School.
Since that time, many of you have asked where I will be moving and who will be the new pastor here. This week, I can announce that I will be moving to serve as pastor at the Church of Saint Joseph in New Hope.
The new pastor for Saint Thomas the Apostle and Christ the King has not yet been named. I expect that that information will be shared with us about one month from now. Please continue to pray for that person (and for me as well). And, of course, please continue to pray for all the parish communities affected by these upcoming moves.
February 17, 2023
Father Thomas Kommers and I are writing to both of our parishes today to let you know of some pastoral changes ahead for our community. As you may know, last year Father Thomas was asked to serve Christ the King as an interim Pastor, and now, as I approach the end of my term as Pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle, I have chosen to seek an assignment at a new parish that makes sense for me at this time in my life. With pastoral changes at both parishes, Archbishop Hebda is asking our parishes to become a cluster. The parishes will not be merged; rather, they will remain two independent parishes who are served by one priest as Pastor. The new cluster will become effective with my departure on July 1, 2023.
Clusters are not new in the life of our Archdiocese. As our church has adapted to life with fewer priests, many parishes are now in cluster relationships, and these communities are thriving in ways that wouldn’t have been possible as separate institutions. It is my hope that Christ the King and St. Thomas the Apostle can continue as thriving parishes in this new arrangement that promises to also benefit Carondelet Catholic School which, for the first time ever, will have a Canonical Administrator who is also Pastor of both parishes.
Forming a cluster will mean some changes, and my hope and prayer is that you will be open to how the Holy Spirit may be leading our new cluster in ways grounded in hospitality and welcome, with a focus of mission and service in the name of Jesus Christ. Be assured that parish leadership will be actively involved in these conversations. More information will be forthcoming, including who your new Pastor will be, but I wanted to share this news with you now as we work together towards a seamless transition for the good of all.
Know of my thanks to all of you for your care and support during my ten years here. It has been a great blessing to be a part of this community.
Fr. Michael Reding