In 1996, the Archdiocese asked the parishes of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Holy Cross and Saint Mary, Star of the Sea to look to the future and study how best to serve God's people in South Baltimore. The parishes of St. Mary, Star of the Sea and Holy Cross had already been twinned and shared one pastor, since 2002 while Our Lady of Good Counsel remained alone. In 2003, when Fr. Raymond Martin, the pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel was also named the pastor of Holy Cross and St. Mary, Star of the Sea, the Catholic Community of South Baltimore was formed with three separate parishes working together under one pastor with one parochial vicar and pastoral staff that ministered collaboratively to the people of South Baltimore. In these past years, the parishes have grown closer and share a Mass schedule and other activities, and have formed one pastoral council which represents the three parishes. Fr. Patrick Carrion succeeded Fr. Martin in January 2008. The next step was to share not just pastoral staff but all staff. In April 2008 the entire staff of the three parishes work for the whole of the Catholic Community of South Baltimore.
The population living within the combined parish boundaries of the Catholic Community of South Baltimore has experienced both areas of growth and decline in the decade between 1990 and 2000.
During this period, the northern part of the Holy Cross parish boundaries experienced modest growth, with a gain of 10-19% in population. The southwest and south central sections of the Holy Cross boundaries experienced a loss of 10-19% in population, while the southeast section of the parish boundaries had a stable population or a slight loss of 5-9% in population. However, according to the U.S. Census, the net change in population in the Holy Cross boundaries was relatively stable, declining 1% from 6,438 in 1990 to 6,342 in 2000.
While most of the western portions of the St. Mary, Star of the Sea parish boundaries remained stable in population, the upper-most portion of the northwest area had a population loss of 10-19% in the decade between 1990 and 2000. The majority of the eastern section of the parish boundaries suffered a loss of 10-19%, with the exception of the north central section, which experienced a slight loss of 5-9%. The far northeastern section experienced slight to modest growth of 5-19%. According to the U.S. Census, overall population in the St. Mary, Star of the Sea parish boundaries fell from 9,181 in 1990 to 8,631 in 2000, resulting in a 6% decline in population.
The majority of the Our Lady of Good Counsel parish boundaries has experienced a loss of 10-19% in population between 1990 and 2000, while a small area of the northwestern section has a slight gain of 5-9%. According to the U.S. Census, overall population in the Our Lady of Good Counsel parish boundaries declined 10%, from 3,325 in 1990 to 2,977 in 2000.
Looking at the combined populations for the Catholic Community of South Baltimore, there was an overall decline in population, from 18,944 in 1990 to 17,950 in 2000, representing a 5% decline in population over the course of that decade. Similarly, the combined parish membership for the Catholic Community of South Baltimore has experienced a decline in the last five years from 3,308 registered persons and 1,501 registered families in 2001 to 2,723 registered persons and 1,388 registered families in 2006, representing an 18% decline in registered persons and an 8% decline in registered families. While U.S. Census data for South Baltimore indicate declines between 1990 and 2000, it is important to note that redevelopment within the parish boundaries of the Catholic Community of South Baltimore in the past five years has increased considerably and more growth in the future is expected.
In addition to coming from other neighborhoods in the city that are outside the parish boundaries, parishioners at the Catholic Community of South Baltimore also travel from Glen Burnie, Linthicum, Timonium, Elkridge, Severn, Millersville, Lansdowne and other parishes outside of the Urban Vicariate to attend services. Conversely, families living within the boundaries of the Catholic Community of South Baltimore attend services at twenty or more other Catholic churches, the vast majority of which are in the city.