Pastoral Planning Pitfalls

As most people in Boston know, an extensive pastoral planning process is underway to determine how a model of Pastoral Service Teams (PST) would be implemented in Boston. The idea is that parishes will be grouped, with one pastor (and perhaps a parochial vicar and deacon) serving anywhere from one parish to 3 or 4 parishes, along with a shared service team to include roles such as business manager, religious education and faith formation director, youth ministry, music ministry, secretary, and maintenance.  Regional meetings and consultations have been underway for the past 1-2 months.  BCI is sharing some of the published results from those meetings and consultations.

The results and materials associated with the consultation and planning process are all published publicly here.  This 24-page report gives the raw data from polling devices and discussions at the regional meetings.   The first thing BCI noticed is that for all of the time and resources put into these consultations and the compilation of the lengthy report, no one even mentioned in the report how many people were in the sample polled. Secondly, there is no executive summary to distill all of the information, and in the section with comments, we get no sense for the frequency of comments–just a listing of all of them.  Many regions are not yet included in the report. BCI could spend hours just trying to distill this into something meaningful.

We share just a few data points today, and more coming in future posts. Here are some polling questions

Does this proposal of a PST Model take us in the direction you believe we need for the Archdiocese?

Right Direction Close to the right direction Neutral Wrong Direction
Pastoral Associates 40% 38% 14% 8%
Religious Ed/Youth 15% 44% 19% 22%
Principals 18% 43% 18% 21%
Deacons 38% 37% 13% 12%
Average 27.75% 40% 16% 15.75%

Q. In which mode has the Archdiocese been in since 2008? (question posed to parish staff/employees):

Mission Maintenance Crisis Survival Not sure
Pastoral Associates 6% 12% 60% 22% 0%
Religious Ed/Youth 4% 12% 55% 23% 6%
Principals 5% 14% 46% 29% 6%
Deacons 5% 22% 49% 20% 4%
Average 5% 15% 52.5% 23.5% 4%

Same question posed to Parish Council and Parish Finance Council members:

Mission Maintenance Survival Crisis Not sure
Average 3.2% 11.8% 46% 31.4% 8.2%

Q. What is your level of agreement with the Cardinal’s exhortation that evangelization be the present and long term task of the Archdiocese? (Parish Council and Finance Council members)

Strongly agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
Average 38% 33% 14.4% 8.2% 6.4%

What is your level of agreement with the goal that we must grow the Church of Boston by bringing Catholics back to the practice of the faith?

 

  Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
Average 62.3% 32.3% 3.3% 1.3% 1.3%

What is the level of agreement with the following statement: “The strengthening of parishes should NOT be achieved by another round of closing 100 or more parishes and churches.”

  Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
Average 64.6% 18.6% 7% 6.3% 3.6%

These next three questions to Parish Council and Finance Council members are interesting:

How open are you to having a pastor from outside your proposed collaborative become your pastor?

Very Open Open Not sure Not open Strongly not open
Average 23.3% 28% 15.3% 15.3% 18.6%

 

How open are you to having the pastor of another parish in your proposed collaborative become your pastor?

Very Open Open Not sure Not open Strongly not open
Average 13% 27.3% 16.3% 17.3% 26.3%

 

How open are you to having your pastor become the pastor of the parishes in your proposed collaborative?

Very Open Open Not sure Not open Strongly not open
Average 49% 23.6% 8.3% 5.3% 13.6%

In other words, most people polled want THEIR pastor to be the pastor of the collaborative, they are not thrilled to have another pastor from within the collaborative become the pastor of the collaborative, and apparently, if their own pastor was not to be the pastor of the collaborative, would rather have a pastor from outside the collaborative take over than one from within the collaborative.

Here are some comments in the report from the meetings. We republish them verbatim from the report:

Round Three Consultations with Parish Pastoral and Finance Council Members

The comments from the first five consultations can be grouped generally around eight different areas of concern:

  1. General Concerns about the Proposal.
  2. Specific concerns about the Groupings or Pastoral Collaboratives.
  3. Financial Aspects of the Proposal.
  4. The Implications for Priests and Pastors.
  5. Training.
  6. The Criteria Used.
  7. Effectiveness and Accountability
  8. Research.

General Concerns about the Proposal

  • This may cause more people to leave the Church.
  • Where are the success stories?
  • Don’t see the point of evangelization in this proposal.
  • Was “Catholics Come Home” successful? What does this mean for this plan?
  • Feels like we’re being punished again.
  • The Church must come into the 21st century and deal with the real issues facing Catholics.
  • We need to ask why people are leaving the Church.
  • I see how this plan is working in other places around the country (i.e. Ohio).
  • (Various stories of how this model is working already in the Archdiocese, i.e. Beverly.)
  • What is the connection between consolidation and evangelization?
  • Nobody took the time to come and talk to the Churches before this.
  • Grateful to the Archdiocese for being proactive.
  • Goal may not be how many people we have in the seats, but how we use our hearts for Jesus.
  • Is there a conflict between efficiencies and evangelization?
  • Is this plan really addressing the root causes, i.e. why decline in Mass attendance.
  • What mistakes have other dioceses made? Can we learn from them?
  • I have lots of doubts. At a level four of doubts (scale of one to ten).
  • If we work as a team, this can work.
  • It’s hard to be enthusiastic and supportive after Reconfiguration.
  • I don’t think you’ve taken into account the “culture of the parishes.”
  • Planning documents don’t show how we’re going to do evangelization and why.
  • We’ve spent more time on the what and not enough on the why.
  • Need more emphasis on cultural diversity.
  • I like the emphasis on parishes working together. I grew up in a culture of competition.
  • I hope you will really listen to what the people are saying here tonight.

The Groupings

  • Things are working well, why disrupt it?
  • 500,000 will be a difficult threshold; few parishes will meet this criterion.
  • (Specific concerns about some of the pairings- ie. Manchester-Essex, Saugus).
  • Focus needs to be on evangelization.
  • Fear of compromising the viability of smaller parishes.
  • Can we really make a case for the realignment of parish groupings?

Finances

  • Any consideration given for selling underutilized properties?
  • This is geared financially more than evangelization.
  • I feel this will lead to closing churches, unless we listen to people and find out what the issues are.
  • The numbers don’t add up. We’re going to consolidate the staff but raise their salaries. Same number of people are going to contribute the same amount of money.
  • How are resources going to be found at the local level to achieve these goals? This will cost 30-50k out of local budgets, without support from the Archdiocese.
  • How many rectories will we have?
  • What happens when money from a strong parish goes to a weak parish?
  • If we have to consolidate parishes and pay for a business manager, I don’t see how we will afford it.

Priests and Pastors

  • Are we expecting too much from priests?
  • It feels like a team saying “Our objective is to win” but we are not talking about how to pick the players.
  • Has there been any study about how to solve the priest shortage?
  • Will vocation work be part of the plan of action?
  • Priests are older; we’re asking them to take on a larger job. I am not convinced this will work.
  • How are we going to take care of priests in the short run?
  • I’m concerned that priests will become more transactional, like a bank teller in this model.

Training

  • The success of this plan is in the execution.
  • When does training begin? Gradual implementation?
  • Why has there not been training before? This should have been addressed sooner.

Criteria

  • How new is this information. It doesn’t seem as if the criteria were fulfilled.
  • Worried about the criteria, especially for smaller churches.
  • Are there any criteria in place for choosing who will be pastors and who will not?
  • I want to understand better the decision to stop parish closures. Was the decision to stop parish closures because of the failure in 2004.
  • Does the existence of a parochial school enter into the criteria?

Effectiveness and Accountability

  • How will we measure the revitalization of the Archdiocese?
  • What is the practical effect of pooling resources? Will we be consolidating CCD programs?
  • What happens if a PST is unsuccessful? What is the next step?
  • How successful was “Catholics Come Home??
  • Have you seen this approach be successful in other dioceses? If this is not working well, will there be a hard stop?
  • What is the timeline for this plan, hiring decisions, etc.?
  • Has there been an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of current parishes and will that information be used to determine the final structure?
  • Are there any plans to bring youth back?
  • Clarify how this will help evangelization.

Research

  • Has there been any study undertaken to understand why there’s been a decrease in attendance?
  • What’s the projected loss in attendance when Mass schedules are changed?

The Boston Archdiocese clearly has much work to do to adjust this proposal and make it an effective plan that can be implemented and can succeed–especially with the major  changing of the guard in the Planning Office. (We hope rumors of the South Shore pastor taking over are not founded, but we have several indicators it is the likely direction).  BCI has heard frustration from many people who attended the regional meetings.  Feel free to share those frustrations and concerns in comments. The future of the archdiocese is very important, so they need to listen and make sure they get this right.

70 Responses to Pastoral Planning Pitfalls

  1. jbq2 says:

    This is already being implimented in the archdiocese of St. Louis. It is below the radar using the same Boston model. There is a shortage of priests and the use of deacons and pastoral associates, mostly women, is being set in motion. The danger is that the social justice model warned about by Malachi Martin will be used instead of the preaching of the Gospel.

  2. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    To put all this data in the proper perspective:

    I voted online in this. Note, I was never involved in any meeting on the pastoral plan. I represent no parish. I know nothing more than anyone else reading the plan online. I was never invited to anything. My parish was not really represented.(Closure issue).

    I saw the poll online while looking for something else, noticed the poll and just voted. It asked for no username or password. I meant no harm and was just curious about the system. Think of my surprise that I could actaully vote as if I were an invited participant.

    I quickly asked a couple of others to check on this to see if my ability to vote was just a fluke. Two people I asked quickly and effortlessly voted also.

    Not only did you not have to be present at the table to vote, you did not even have to be Catholic.

    I also know that the Pastors and Pastoral Associates voted separately at separate meetings. An elaborate clicker system was set up to facilitate their vote. The system failed. They were sent to their home parishes with instructions that they would be voting online. I am not sure if that voting was username and password protected or simply wide open for anyone to weigh in.

    I think the results of the polls are highly suspect.

    • BobofNewtn says:

      You think?

    • Anni says:

      The online survey and the voting at the meetings are two separate entities. Anyone can answer the survey online. You just check off the box that says that you did not attend a consultation meeting and your responses will end up in the right “box”.

      I did attend a consultation meeting and the survey results reported here track well with what I observed at the meeting. I honestly don’t think there’s anything “suspect”. The responses reflected peoples’ opinions.

      The questions and comments raised at the meeting I attended were similar to what is reported in the report. Although the presenters and the meeting were enthusiastic and collegial, they really have not thought about the mechanics of putting this plan into action. At the meeting I attended, the consensus from the attendees was that no one has even tried to explain how this plan improves evangelization. That is the main concern. The plan address the problem of declining vocations, but that is it. It does nothing to improve Catholic life for the lay members of parishes.

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        Anni, I no longer have access to the online poll but it simply was honor system and I never recall any box to designate that you did not attend a meeting. Further, I checked off that I was one of the designated parish representatives like a pastoral associate or such who attended the meetings and there was no way the pollster was checking whether or not that was true. I know for sure that at one regional meeting the pastors clicker system did not work and they were sent home to their parishes to vote online.

      • Anni says:

        Here is a link for the on-line survey.

        http://www.bostoncatholic.org/Offices-And-Services/Office-Form.aspx?ekfrm=22718&pid=22430

        It can be filled out by anyone. The responses to the survey are not included in the report; those responses are from the voting at the meetings.

        It is my understanding that the Planning Commission is reviewing the surveys received via email. I have been encouraging people to fill it out because this is the best way to let them know that we are out here. Even if they don’t consider the responses, I feel that TOTAL number of surveys received sends a message.

        The RCAB is not doing a good job letting people know about this survey. My own pastor has refused to allow me to include it in a presentation that I will be doing at a parish meeting! I think “they” are concerned that they are not going to like what they hear from the “people”.

      • Anni says:

        Check the last box in Item 5 if you have not attended a consultation meeting. This is just a “bean counting” data point. You can also skip questions.

        Anni

  3. Stephen says:

    The Diocese has become a parody of itself.
    – How open are you? -

  4. Paul Girouard says:

    As a member of a Finance Comm I went to the meeting in Randolph – 147 people voted – I felt it was an open meeting but the die was already cast – all questions were answered – instead of just knocking the concept, what are your suggestions?
    It is easy to critise but diffcult toconceive.
    Paul

    • Stephen says:

      An inquisition to root out the heretics and enforce the rubrics and the canon. Completely eliminate the use of EEM so as to encourage reverence for the Eucharist. Pay young men cash to be alter servers so at least they recognize the priesthood as a viable career alternative and eliminate girls and women from the sanctuary.

      The Church in Boston is dead, the modernist killed it. The process now is simply grave poaching.

      • qclou says:

        if you really feel this way, why don’t you join the Greek orthodox church ? even though they have married priests, their attention to the ‘old’ order is pretty well documented. or if you really want tradtiontal , try Russian >?>?

  5. Paul,
    Thank you for your comment and feedback from your meeting.

    BCI did not knock the concept in our post–we simply were sharing the data collected and the report posted by the archdiocese. Based on the feedback from the meetings, we said there is more work to adjust the proposal and make it an effective plan that can be implemented and can succeed. Indeed, the consultative process is intended to solicit feedback so that the plan can be adjusted as necessary and improved.

    Time today does not permit BCI to articulate our specific suggestions, if that is what you are asking for. One key area we see for improvement is coming up with a plan (or plans) for real adult faith formation (not RENEW-based discussion groups), catechesis, and evangelization as core to this new model. Another is for the archdiocese to restore trust with faithful Catholics.

  6. David S. says:

    I went to a meeting at St. Adelaide’s in Peabody two weeks ago regarding these new “pastoral collaborates.” It made no sense to me whatsoever in terms of what the Archdiocese of Boston defined as the “problem” and what the Archdiocese of Boston proposed as the “solution.”

    For example, one of the concerns these new collaborates are supposed to address is the 16% Sunday Mass attendance. That’s all well and good, but there was nothing concrete in the proposal that would address Mass attendance beyond platitudes calling for for “increased evangelization.” One of the parish council members who was there said he attended meetings with the Archdiocese and he felt as if the decision to roll this out was already made and he was getting a slick marketing job.

    But the biggest concern for those of us in attendance was the notion that there would be one pastor appointed for each collaborative and that pastor would NOT be a priest who currently works in one of the current parishes to be merged. This got EVERYONE pretty incensed. Especially because the Archdiocese is claiming that these collaboratives will “retain the unique and distinct identity of each parish.” Well this is hard to imagine because our priests are an integral part of the parish and to remove them to play musical chairs and then bring in someone new destroys the identity of the parish.

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      David, I sooooo agree with your assessment that our pastors are an integral part of the parish. IMHO, the only rationale for moving the pastors out, and replacing them with a giant pastor unfamiliar with the cluster parishes, is in anticipation of closure of many churches so that the decisionmaker and process can appear objective. Obviously, the Archdiocese is afraid that the pastors retain some kind of loyalty (God forbid) to their parishes and may not “get with the program.,”- closure.

      I know there is a shortage of priests but just how does this help? The backbone of RC church has always been a rather small intimate parish. I have friends who are part of megachurches that appear to be very vibrant. However, I note they think nothing of changing churches and actually sects without any hesitation. I really think it is because their churches/religion/congregations lack the intimacy of RC parishes. The megachurch would not be the paradigm I would be following.

      You could still implement a cluster plan with sharing of resources by parishes and retain the present pastors in their present location for the most part. All pastors handing in resignations seems absurd.

      Bottom line is I think it is all about the bottom line – $$$$$.

      • BobofNewtn says:

        The concept is, indeed, in my opinion, a method to close more parishes and try to parcel out the existing clerics we have to service those entities. Let’s face it: vocations are nil or next to nil (read the death notices about cleric deaths and contrast those figures with ordinations and you see the facts. Forget the claim about a resurgence of vocations. Men come in and see what is going on around them and they are outta there!).

      • Boston priest says:

        YOUGOTTABEKIDDING,

        I can understand and appreciate your sentiments regarding pastoral assignments. I’m comfortable expressing publicly here only certain of my own feelings on this issue.

        Canon law specifies that parish priests and pastors should have stability in their assignments, but as I say that I also must observe that you’re missing an inherent contradiction in your thinking.

        Canon law says pastors and priests can be appointed for an indeterminate period of time, but the diocesan Bishop may appoint him for a specified period of time if the Episcopal Conference has by decree allowed this. In the U.S, the Episcopal Conference has allowed for more limited terms of 6 years, renewable at the option of the ordinary. This went into effect in 1984. The primary provision of canon 522 that pastors may be appointed for an indefinite period of time remains in force. Canon law is on the side of stability but the bishop can allow 6-year terms if he wants or move pastors if he feels it is necessary.

        If we’re moving to about 110 groupings of parishes and pastoral service teams (I don’t like the term PST) which is down quite a bit from today’s 290 parishes, then present pastors can NOT remain in their present location for the most part.

        So then what do you do?

        If the current pastor from one of the parishes in a collaborative remains as pastor for the whole collaborative, you get continuity and stability in one parish which is good. But then the other parishes who lose their pastor are upset and may view that “surviving” pastor as biased towards his parish with regards to friendships with the parishioners, retention of parish staff, Mass schedules, location of the rectory, church programs and ministries, allocation of resources, funding projects, etc.

        I don’t like the idea of making all of the pastors resign either. Maybe for some pastors near retirement age, you let them stay on and retire in a few years. But I’m also struggling to propose an alternative that makes sense. David and YOUGOTTABEKIDDING, do you have an alternative proposal you’d like to advance?

  7. Capt Crunch says:

    Boston was, conspicuously, missing from the list of cities…

  8. Jack O'Malley says:

    The problem is obvious. A half century of masonic heresy in the Church, evisceration of the Mass, queers in the “presbyterate”, feminist soviets running the parishes, lay “ministers” pawing the Body and Blood of the Lord with their filthy unconsecrated hands, “social justice” heretics spewing their socialist propaganda for the Democratic Party, epicene sodomite-loving poltroons like Wuerl being made archbishops and even cardinals, and our own O’Malley playing kissy-face with the atheist Obama at the abortionist Kennedy’s obsequies, the facultative ex-ordinary Bernard Law rewarded with his Roman sinecure after having promoted such deviance that no normal man would countenance, etc., etc.

    As for the solution, forget the “teams” (what a risible term). Close down the non-performers and amass the collections from the complacent suburbanites who have no problem funding O’Neill and Donilon and the rest of the Sanhedrin. Crucify Him again and His Blood be upon you. Oh wait. Nostra Aetate will absolve you.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch has just busted two bishops back into the ranks. Does Joe Ratzinger have the balls to do that to Wuerl, O’Malley, Dolan?

    Yes, Dolan. Look it up.

    • PERHAPS says:

      Perhaps more catholic schools are needed in the suburbs.

      The essential problem with “confining” the ambition and enthusiasm to building schools “only” in the inner cities is that the” take home message” is :

      The balance of a checking account is the primary reason
      a family should pursue a catholic education. If you are not
      “poor” , whatever that means in this country: One half hour
      of CCD classes for about six moths a year is enough for your
      children.

      THIS IS ABUSRD

      I wonder, too, if this thinking (with the best of intentions) indirectly feeds socialism.

      As a matter of fact, it is only when a family has several attractive
      educational options, yet still chooses a catholic school:
      It is more likely the motive to strengthen faith is authentic
      and sincere.

      In other words, the desire to send children to catholic schools
      should include from something deeper than dodging a dangerous neighborhood and achieving a potentially higher
      SAT score.

      I hope somebody with more experience and insight than
      myself will examine this issue.

      Thank you

      • PERHAPS says:

        CORRECTION:

        In other words, the desire to send our children to catholic schools should stem from something deeper than dodging
        a bad neighborhood and potentially achieving a high
        SAT score.

      • VOUCHERS says:

        PLEASE figure out a way to extend school vouchers to the suburbs. Many families are stuck with high taxes and
        have no option to send their children to catholic schools.

    • enoughisenough says:

      Perhaps this attitude is seen as uncompassionate by people looking for a reason to stay.

    • qclou says:

      Last week I received the following reply from Cardinal Dolan:

      March 28, 2012

      Dear Mr. Siciliano,

      Your letter of March 20, 2012, together with enclosure has been received.

      For you to make the allegations and insinuations you do in your letter based on my adherence to the clear teachings of the Church is not only unfair and unjust, but inflammatory. Neither I nor anyone in the Church would ever tolerate hatred of or prejudice towards any of the Lord’s children. In the future you ought to be more careful about personally attacking the character of those who espouse beliefs different than your own.

      With prayerful best wishes for a blessed Lent, I am,

      Faithfully in Christ,

      Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
      Archbishop of New York

      • qclou says:

        Sorry, I forgot to preface my posting to explain, that I did follow the suggestion to look up Cardinal Dolan and I copied this letter from one of the posts which happened to come from the Huffington Gay blog, which totally refutes the allegations that Cardinal Dolan is appeasing the ‘qu^^^s’ a pejorative that I choose not to repeat. I hateit when a very erudite [ though pompous ] poster with a decidely, ‘orthodox’ orientation comments that way

  9. Anni says:

    I attended one of the consultations; the responses from our group are not included in the report, as we were one of the later meetings. I wonder if there will be an updated report.

    I asked several questions during the comment period, all related to evangelization. I commented that it was disturbing that with all the information presented by the committee, not one word was said about how this plan improves evangelization in the RCAB. I commented that if we have seen a decline from approximately 30 percent Mass attendance to approximately 16 percent in 20 years under the current model, which I called the “one parish, one pastor” model, how we could expect this to improve when we had a “one pastor, 1600 souls” model. Then I commented that the key to evangelization was Mass and the sacraments, and that the committee discussed EVERYTHING BUT Mass and the sacraments. They talked about sharing finances and lay ministers and everything else, but no one mentioned how this model helps bring Mass and the sacraments to people.

    I used my proposed PST as a straw man. Our PST is proposed to include three parishes. Two of the churches are within about 3 miles of each other; the third church, mine, is 9 miles from one and 7 miles from the other. Now, if we have one pastor and one “other” priest, there will no longer be three 4 pm Masses and three 9:30 or 10 am Masses. If eventually we have ONE priest, which is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about but it is the likely reality in about 10 years, there will probably be one Mass at each parish church in the not-too-distant future. What happens in the winter if we have a snowstorm on a Saturday evening? It is likely that two of those parishes will have a “priestless” Sunday. The churches are separated by country “back roads”. There is no way most people will be able to drive 7 or more miles in a snowstorm to get to the church where the priest lives.

    Also, what about daily Mass? Father Evans seemed completely surprised that I would ask that question. I asked if anyone had looked at the plan to see how it would affect those of us who currently attend daily Mass. I have to go to two different parishes, neither of them my parish, to attend daily Mass now. Neither of those parishes is in my proposed PST group. I asked that the plan ENSURE that 7 am daily Mass be reasonably available to every Catholic in the Archdiocese. Father Evans hesitated and then said “well, some things are going to have to be given up” in order to make this work. Of all the things that you can “give up”, why should it be Mass?

    After his response, I explained that attending daily Mass has long been the means by which the Church encouraged vocations. No Mass, no vocations. If we become “Sunday-only” Catholics, we have lost our intimate daily association with the Body and Blood of Christ. It seems to me that the PST program is focusing on all the wrong things. The Catholic Church is not a social service organization. We do social service, but we do it because Christ told us that the second greatest commandment is like the first… We have to put the first one ahead, though. The consultation I attended discussed everything BUT how this proposal brings us closer to God and enhances our faith.

    In my humble opinion, this proposal addresses the priest shortage and provides a mechanism to consolidate parishes with dwindling enrollment, but does not do anything about bringing the lost sheep back to the Body of Christ.

    Anni

  10. Sue says:

    I don’t understand why you are calling it pitfalls. Discussing the proposal and involving the parish councils and finance councils seems like a good idea. I attended our meeting at St. Rita last month. My feeling is there are two things going on. First the number of active priests is a problem and the parishes that have low participation is a problem. Pray for vocations.

    • Sue, Thank you for your comment.

      Discussing the proposal and involving the parish councils and finance councils is an excellent idea! We commend the archdiocese for undertaking the process of soliciting feedback and you for attending the meeting to participate and offer your input. A “pitfall” as we see it is an unapparent potential source of trouble, problem, risk or danger. The comments from those who attended the meetings to discuss the proposal highlight a number of potential problems in the plan. None are insurmountable, but they are nonetheless potential problems that will need to be addressed. As one example already stated by BCI and others, if evangelization and bringing people back to the faith are core goals of the pastoral collaboratives and pastoral service teams, the absence of a plan for that would seem to be a “pitfall.” Assignment or reassignment of pastors is another potential source of trouble or risk. The response to questions about ready access to Mass and the sacraments has come across sounding like addressing this concern is an afterthought.

      BCI agrees with you that prayer for vocations is important. We also believe the archdiocesan leadership needs to maintain orthodoxy in teachings, programs, communications and diocesan staff, because enthusiastic teaching and spreading of the faith helps to attract more faithful Catholic men to the priesthood. BCI believes the archdiocese needs to reduce Pastoral Center expenses in certain areas (e.g. 6-figure salaries) to free up funds and resources to support much needed faith formation and evangelization at the parish level. Putting the right people in charge of Pastoral Planning to fill the openings in that office will also be important. There are other things we believe that can be done, but we will have to save that for another time.

      • Michael says:

        The goal of PST’s is a surrender to Satan. Raise the white flag … We lost … take our adoption agencies, take our hospitals, take our schools, … and now take our churches. PST’s are the game plan for closing churches because we don’t have enough priests. Let’s wrap it all up … it’s over.

        I think this pathetic surrender approach is a joke. We allowed infiltration into the priesthood and Satan has destroyed the foundation of the Church.

        Doesn’t Obama have it right? Doesn’t all of this boil down to the issue of contraception? Isn’t that why he is so adamant about this topic? Is it an insignificant topic – or is it a critical issue – critical to the future of American Catholic society?

        How can we Catholics expect to violate en mass the rules of the Church and God’s Commandments and NOT be instrumental in the destruction of the Church? Isn’t the answer in:
        1. Priests teaching Catholic adults the faith – not lay people teaching each other (students teaching students) or CCD teachers teaching our children but Priests teaching adults the faith,
        2. Helping them to understand sin
        3. Admitting (and correcting) our sins — including 98% usage of contraception in Catholic marriages
        4. Resulting in bigger families (forming children into the faith),
        5. Bigger families means more chances for multiple boys,
        6. And more Boys … means more priests — honestly what parent (of 2.3 children) wants their only son to become a priest? Don’t you want grandchildren, etc. Bigger families equal more priests, and more priests equals stronger faith filled churches with bigger donations because a stronger faith also means the likes of Mary Grassa O’Neill have formed a proper conscience and would never dream of stealing the hard-earned donations from the Church. Thus donations are maximized and churches don’t have to close … rather, they are in short supply and more churches need to be built.

        Problem solved … the Irish Catholics had it right.

  11. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    Anni, I do think that may be the survey I filled in. You mean that was actually meant for people like me?? I fell on it while searching for something else.

    It is very odd that this exists and yet it is not promoted or apparently used for anything thus far. Why would this not be announced from the pulpit??

    • Anni says:

      When I mentioned to my pastor that we should provide people with the link to the survey he became adamant that people do NOT know about it! I’ve been spreading the word on my own because I feel that if a lot of people respond the RCAB will know that there is interest and concern, even if no one in a position of authority and power even looks at them. If they get a couple thousand responses to the survey that should tell them something important.

      I think that my pastor wants to “control” the responses from the parish and that he does not want people to respond individually. That way we look like “one big happy family”.

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        Bingo: control the message and just let some in on the poll. What a sad plan, really. Should have been the meetings first with the parishioners; then consideration, consultation, planning and then implementation. Somehow most of the steps are missing.

      • Marie says:

        Anni and YOUGOTTABEKIDDING,

        FOOD FOR THOUGHT! This may answer your questions regarding not getting the “survey” out…..Think back to The “2011 Consultation Form”. There are 1.8 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston, approximately 315,000 of those attend Mass. The word was that the Archdiocese got the 2011 Consulation Form out to the entire Archdiocese through various means of communication (one would assume all 1.8 million); but, let us assume it went only to the 315,000 who attend Mass. The supposed response to all of the surveys was a low of 300 and a high of 450; when the Archdiocese reported the results, they reported it as 83% of the Catholics of the Archdiocese responded in favor of Reconfiguration. Why haven’t the surveys gone out to the entire Archdiocese population? The truth hurts and I don’t think they can handle the truth. Think, “figures don’t lie but liars figure”. And, following this, a little more FOOD FOR THOUGHT from “Just Wondering”, January 29, 2012. If the Archdiocese of Boston used the expertise and resources they have in hand, perhaps, churches like Mary Star of the Sea Church, Squantum, MA would not have been shuttered on September 5, 2010.

        JUST WONDERING says:

        January 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        ‘Anni: I agree with u re Vicar Foranes. I was one for a number of years and always, along with another Vicar, suggested that the Diocese use Senior Priests as Vicars. They could have a little more time and could do a lot of the visitation you state is so necessary and send a report to the Regional Bishop and the Ordinary. We use to visit Parishes, meet with the Parish Council, Finance Committee and finally the people after Mass. We would write a report for the Bishop.

        “JUST WONDERING’ if somebody will pick up the suggestion and it’s not too late. We have a large number of Senior Priests and I bet many of us would be willing to help. “JUST WONDERING” IF THEY WILL EVER ASK US TO HELP!!!!

      • Marie,
        Thank you for your message. One point you made about the “2011 Consultation” merits clarification. For the 2011 effort, the archdiocese was primarily seeking input from people who worshipped at parishes that were closed and were going to be relegated to profane use in East Boston, Everett, Lowell, Quincy, Revere, Scituate, and Wellesley. Though the 2011 Consultation was announced publicly to all in the archdiocese in February 2011, their stated goal in the press release announcing the initiative was to get input from just those who were a part of those 7 parish communities:

        The Archdiocese of Boston is conducting a consultation of the Catholic faithful who were parishioners at seven church buildings that were closed as part of a process that was initiated in 2004. The churches are St. James the Great, Wellesley; St. Therese, Everett; St. Jeanne D’Arc, Lowell; Star of the Sea, Quincy; Our Lady of Lourdes, Revere; St. Francis X. Cabrini, Scituate and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, East Boston….This consultation gives an opportunity to the former parishioners of the seven Churches to give their input prior to any decision that the Cardinal may make.

  12. SAD says:

    TO MICHAEL,

    AND, IF THOSE PRIESTS HAD SONS——THERE WOULD BE NO PRIEST SHORTAGE.

    • Capt Crunch says:

      SAD,

      Can you prove with facts and statistics that allowing married Priests would solve this problem? No, you can’t.

      Protestants allow married pastors, how are they fairing versus Catholics? The Orthodox allow married Priests how are they fairing? Everyone keeps saying how Catholic Church attendance is dwindling, but are those people leaving the Catholic Church attending another Church or just quiting Church altogether? My guess it’s the former.

      How has liberalization of the Anglican Church worked out for them?

      CC73

      • SAD says:

        CAPT CRUNCH:

        You are correct. We can not prove there would be n to shortage. I will research the statistics on boys who follow in their father’s footsteps with regards to vocation/career choices.

        I appreciate your critique. I goes all we know for sure is a
        method that has not worked.

        Thank you.

      • SAD says:

        To: Capt Crunch:

        http://www.ehow.com says these are the factors that influence the
        career choices of most men:

        1. Sense of Control: “Locus of control”
        2. Wages
        3. Dependents
        4.Parental Expectations
        5. Education (areas of aptitude influence)
        i.e. men often in engineering, math sciences–therefore leading to careers in fields.

    • James Joyce says:

      and/or f the church respected daughters and elevated them to the ordained,, there would be no shortage. Heaven forbid!!
      Excluding women in the 21st century will contribute to the demise of the Holy Roman Church.

      The men who run the Catholic Church get just what they deserve–all part of God’s plan…

      • The main topic of this post is the Boston pastoral planning initiative, and we would ask those commenting to please keep their comments focused on the Boston initiative.

        If people want to have a discussion and debate about the shortage of priests and how to get more priests, that is a big enough topic that it goes beyond the scope of this particular post and beyond what BCI can reasonably cover here. We also are faithful to the Magisterium of the Church here, and do not see BCI as an appropriate forum for questioning or debating Church teachings. The idea of ordaining women as Catholic priests is a topic for a different forum than this one, so we ask readers to please let that one go.

    • Mack says:

      Michael, by what logic do you assume that the sons of priests would be priests? The priesthood is a call from God, not a biological lineage like the priesthood in the Old Testament. The sons of any devout Catholic parents are just as likely to be called; indeed, God can even call the sons of not so devout parents…

      • Michael says:

        Mack you missed my entire point. I never suggested that priests get married — indeed, I suggested the exact opposite. Large truly Catholic families will produce solid priests. I do not believe priests should get married because that would be contradictory to the teachings of the church.

        The priest shortage is directly related to the number of small “Catholic” families that America has encouraged through the strong push for contraception. Follow the Church’s rules on contraception and see how quickly we end the concept of a shortage of priests. Large families, devoted to Christ will produce plenty of solid priest.

  13. Boston priest says:

    I don’t think the Protestant model of allowing married priests has done much for their new vocations.

    My information on this may be dated by a few years, but there was a report several years ago about a healthy number of vocations in Catholic dioceses that have been historically faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church: eg. Denver, Northern Virginia, and Lincoln, Nebraska, in the past had large numbers of men entering the priesthood relative to the # of Catholics in the diocese. Many of the most “vocation-rich” dioceses are smaller than Boston. In my experience, when men are challenged by the holy witness of a happy orthodox priest to practice their faith in ways that are countercultural and loyal to the Holy Father and Catholic teachings, they respond. That is a good place to start in boosting vocations.

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      My parish was a real feeder for vocations. It was a Franciscan parish so virtually no exposure to diocesan priests. Once the archdiocese closed and sold our parish school, not one boy entered the priest hood. ( As an aside, archdiocese sold school sold for 900K and it was resold wihin three years with no capital improvements for 2.8 million. Just saying . . . Kind of leaves a bitter taste.).

    • creativethinker says:

      Okay. But, what is wrong with having two paths to priesthood?

      I read an article once detailing how heartbroken some priests
      were that they could not continue being a priest after they had fallen in love and wanted to get married.

      Maybe the archdiocese can set up a model such as the military
      i.e. reenlist every 4 years. Yeah I know cost to train…….
      but the cost would be minimal compared to the expenses generated over the past decade.

      Why aren’t the priests trained for an additional vocation along side becoming a priest?

      Clearly this would eliminate being “stuck” in a vocation due to economic necessity.

      If necessary the priest can stay with the faith and contribute his
      other talents versus deserting the faith (i.e. Father Cutie).

      Do you think the thought of a “lifetime” is too daunting, and,
      that in reality over time the men would feel less pressure
      and end up staying anyway?

      How many priests over the past 40-50 years left for this reason.
      Someone must know.

      • Creative thinker, While creative thinking to solve difficult problems is an attribute which BCI values as a general rule, we do not see a discussion about fundamentally rethinking the nature of the priesthood as a practical or productive topic. If you want to debate that elsewhere, please feel free to, but that is definitely not a topic for this venue.

  14. Stephen says:

    From the poll…

    13. How willing would you be to accept the present pastor of another parish in your collaborative as your own?

    -That would be fine as long as he looks and acts like a heterosexual man, does not have an outstanding warrant and has some grasp of what he is actually doing on the alter. A little Latin would be nice as well.

    To get more normal well adjusted young men to enter the Priesthood you need to get the girls and women off the alter. It is that simple. Lincoln, Nebraska is the only diocese that has only male alter servers. They have vocations.

    Michael you nailed the issue.

    • BobofNewtn says:

      Hi Stephen – I am the father of two (2) females and I note your disconnect between your words “young men” and “girls”. Holy S**t, Stephen, get off the “war on women” and welcome them! They are no longer in “our” religion to serve “meals to Father”; they are here and they are real; one of my daughters is a Georgetown law graduates and a Judge and the other is a Sr. Partner inan International Law firm.

      Ignore “girls” or “women” at your peril and BTW, 96% of them use or have used contraception. Doubt those fact? Check around! Have a good weekend folks.

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        Yeah, BobofNewtn!!!!

        Stephen, do you even care how offensive you are? Would you like a church with just men? Ironically, the pews have always been filled with women, not men. Other than “saying the mass,” the men have a very low profile in most parishes and that is how it always has been. But for the “men,” (think sex abuse), we would not be having a fire sale of church property, or even be in the horrible predicament we are today. Just saying . . . By the way, I would never suggest that men have no place on the altar or in the pews, despite all the bad behavior. .

      • discouraged says:

        I think one lady, sadly, has made Georgetown Law the laughing stock of this nation. While she pays and/or is in debt for
        over 45K per year; she cannot figure out how to come up with
        $15-30.00 a month for her………..extra curricular activities.
        You mean the men over there won’t even cough up the money to pay for the birth control? You are correct: These women are amazing!!!!

        Maybe sex she be offered as a P.E. Course??? You think?
        Increase tuition slightly—-problem solved.

        Lets pray that the 96% using contraception and for those who perceive this as a “badge of honor” of sorts keep in mind
        that all of the STD’s picked up along the way may resurface—
        in their newborn babies someday.

        Ciao

      • Boston Priest says:

        Bob and YGTBK,
        Stephen said to get more young men to enter the priesthood, you should do away with girl/women altar servers. No offense, but I believe that’s objective fact. Altar boys have always been a good “feeder” for the priesthood later. But when there are altar girls, the young boys don’t want as much to serve as altar boys, so the feeder supply for vocations to the priesthood is diminished. Here’s something interesting for you to read:

        http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/08/05/the-rise-of-the-altar-girls/

        There are many fine altar girls out there, and their desire to serve is admirable. It reflects, in fact, a very feminine quality, like Martha, they feel compelled to serve the one they love. But as the 1994 letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship permitting girls to serve on the altar noted, the tradition of having boys serve at the altar “has led to a reassuring development of priestly vocations. Thus the obligation to support such groups of altar boys will always continue.” But the predominance of altar girls would suggest that allowing girls to serve negatively effects groups of altar boys. In fact, they are driving boys away from altar serving. And for those boys who do continue to serve, the presence of altar girls makes it difficult for altar serving to be considered an apprenticeship for the priesthood. If altar serving is going to continue as a way of fostering priestly vocations, it seems that another form of service needs to be found for altar girls.

        Here’s another column on the same topic:

        http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/08/what-romes-cdw-says-about-altar-boys-girl-altar-boys-and-lay-service-at-the-altar-in-general/

        So, if you folks–even if you have female children–really want more priests in the future, as I do, then you may need to be more open-minded towards Stephen’s viewpoint and acknowledge the reality that one thing that contributes to fewer priests is girls as altar servers, which chokes the feeder for priests by discouraging boys from becoming altar boys.

      • Michael says:

        Bob of Newton said: one of my daughters is a Georgetown law graduates and a Judge — WHO CARES? — the real question is, is she a practicing Catholic? The answer … is “doubt it” if she is a GLG and, especially, if she is a judge. The only way to get to that level of politics is to long ago have discarded your conscience and looked the other way on a lot of fraudulent behavior — over several years.

        Bob of Newton said: and the other is a Sr. Partner in an International Law firm — again — WHO CARES? — the real question is, is she a practicing Catholic? The answer … is “doubt it.” But she probably religiously attends the tolerant “diversity team” meetings held each month that have been systematically instituted throughout large law firms in order to ensure the destruction of religious freedom across the world and to be INTOLERANT of religious values and positions. Such diversity initiatives also demand compliance with their belief system. The penalty for non-compliance is to never become a “Senior” law partner.

        And when I say “practicing” Catholic, I don’t mean: “Is she practicing safe-sex using contraception?”. I mean the exact opposite. You are not Roman Catholic because you happen to call yourself “catholic.” You are a Roman Catholic, because you sincerely, in your heart, believe in the truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church and you do your very best to comply with the rules of the Catholic Church.

        So the level of commitment to Catholic church teaching of each of your daughters is instantly undermined by simply knowing their titles “Judge” and “Senior Partner.” One of my closest friends from law school admitted to me that, while he is a “devout” Catholic, he could never say anything that would undermine the diversity initiative of his international law firm because the penalty to his career track would be devastating.

      • Stephen says:

        Bob,
        Aren’t you Barney Franks pal?
        Ya, I am wicked freaking impressed with law degrees.

        You label me as a misogynist because i point out the virtually undisputed fact that vocations to the priesthood rise when you encourage male only alter servers.

        I don’t associate with women who use contraception. I find they give odd smells, are generally bitchy and frequently want to have casual sex with me.

      • consider says:

        “The Trouble With Boys” by Peg Tyre does an excellent job of explaining why since the 1970’s boys have been demoralized in the school systems. In an over ambitious effort to equalize for
        girls, boys were suppressed.

        This is why same sex education is a big confidence builder—for younger boys, and, eventually girls, too.

        Many girls mature more quickly, talk more and……….
        sort of take over. The boys just quietly fall through the cracks.

        Does anyone really believe the college admission “problem”
        for finding qualified men was do to an inherent intelligence problem: Particularly with our nations dismal math and science
        scores? This is perfect many educators who are thrilled to be alleviated of rigorous math and science.

        The “problem” starts in Kindergarten. Period.

        The altar boy/girl issue is simply an extension of this
        social environment which first “neutralizes” gender, and,
        then snuffs out our good boys and men.

  15. Justyn Tyme says:

    When all is said and done the bottom line is: The greatest need in the Roman Catholic Church today is the Conversion of the Clergy: Bishops/Priests : to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their Personal Lives and Sacramental/Pastoral ministries. In otherwords regarding the New Evangelization: Its the Clergy that needs to be evangelized FIRST then the Laity. I believe that it will be the Laity who will be their Evangelizers. Read: The Five Wounds of the Church by Bl. Antonio Rosmini: One of the Wounds is: The Clergy.

    Note: Venerable Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani), Pope and Martyr, did his Theological Thesis on Rosmini in the early 20th Century! Hum!!

  16. Marie says:

    To BCI regarding your response March 31, 2012 at 10:50A……

    Thank you.

    I find this, then, to be more than a little misleading: “Only 300 of 1.8 million “rendered” an opinion counter to the Archdiocese…..”. It leaves one with the opinion that only 300 of 1.8 million opposed the Archdiocese and that the consensus of recipients of the memo was that all Catholics had the opportunity to participate in the “2011 Consultation Form”.

    While the following may be “yesterday’s” news, do you not think it is reflective of an ongoing distortion of facts and figures. I continue to ask where the Meade-Eisner report is (the disappearance of facts and figures) and I continue to ask why Mary Star of the Sea Church in Squantum and others in the Archdiocese were closed and who benefits from the closures, certainly not the Catholic faithful. Mary Star of the Sea Church, by the way, will be holding Easter Mass again this year at noon at the First Church of Squantum (Congregational).If you did not know, they requested a priest from the Archdiocese and were refused. Last year’s service was inspiring and soul felt without a priest, the presence of God was overwhelming.

    So, please read the following, “yesterday’s news”:

    “Tomorrow, Sunday, August 7th, [2011] we anticipate a story in The Boston Globe that will focus on……………………………..

    Additionally, the story will likely address the Cardinal’s recent decisions to relegate six closed Churches for profane use.

    In the recent public consultation period conducted prior to the Cardinal making his decisions on relegation to profane use we heard from approximately 300 people out of a potential 1.8 million Catholics who rendered an opinion counter to the Archdiocese. While each of these individuals is important to the life of our local Church, it speaks to the wider fact that the vast majority of Catholics impacted by the parish closings have moved on to welcoming parishes.

    Our hope and prayer is that through God’s grace and blessings we can reach a resolution to these final issues so that we can continue to join with the Cardinal in rebuilding our Archdiocese.

    Thank you,

    (Name left out intentionally)”

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      Bravo, Marie! “Only 300 of 1.8 million “rendered” an opinion counter to the Archdiocese…..”. It leaves one with the opinion that only 300 of 1.8 million opposed the Archdiocese and that the consensus of recipients of the memo was that all Catholics had the opportunity to participate in the “2011 Consultation Form”.

      This was an intentional distortion. There is no other way to interpret it. Pitiful state when our Archdiocese would stoop this low.

      Why relegate to profane use especially when they seem to be getting such a pittance for sale prices??

      E.g., Parish school closed by archdiocese – sold for 900K in 1989;
      same property resold within three years with no capital improvements for 2.8 million. Is the Archdiocese stupid or corrupt? Note further, that same property now houses entitites that do gay adoptions, gay marriage adoptions etc. Just saying . . .

    • Marie, Thank you for your response. BCI would agree that the communication you referred to from the archdiocese is misleading. (We have a copy of that same email from last August). As far as BCI understands it–and as reported publicly at the time–the 2011 online survey/consultation got about 450 responses. Of those, 300 people expressed opposition to the move in the online survey, and 150 supported it. That says 2/3 of the respondents were opposed. Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time the Boston Archdiocese has made misleading or deceptive comments or statements, and yes, it is reflective of an ongoing distortion of important information. We have been blogging about their deception and lack of transparency for nearly 2 years now, and it appears that much room for improvement remains in that area.

      • Marie says:

        BCI, thank you.

        “………much room for improvement……”?

        Much room for improvement happens when one can see that progress has been made in accomplishing change. So in reality, improvement cannot happen within the structure of the present Archdiocese of Boston. It is a totally disfunctional family. (Yougottabekidding, add disfunctional to your choice of two).

        And, to a man they all have the same “our God is better than your god” mentality. I chuckle when I read the end of any of their inspirational writings: “Our hope and prayer is that through God’s grace and blessings we can reach a resolution to these final issues so that we can continue to join with the Cardinal in rebuilding our Archdiocese.”

        I have always been of the assumption that there is one God; why is their guy always right and mine who says, “Resolution is: open the doors to the Church” wrong? The Archdiocese is listening to the wrong guy, I do think!

      • If you have been reading BCI for any length of time, you have seen our pointed criticism of the dysfunction and deception in this archdiocese. There are many different ways to express similar concepts, so BCI suggests you not get too concerned over those specific words.

        That the archdiocese is soliciting input on this proposal and publishing the feedback seems like a good thing. Whether they listen or not this time around and modify the plan is a different question. Given the track record, all have legitimate grounds to be skeptical.

    • Marie says:

      Regarding my message of March 31, 2012 (12:30A). Note that on Sunday April 8, 2012 at Noon, Mary Star of the Sea Church is holding a “Celebration in the Absence of a Priest”, an Easter Sunday Liturgy with communion at First Church of Squantum (Congregational). I erroneously called it a Mass which might have been misleading and not something I am prone to do.

      • Angry Parish Council Member says:

        I’m sympathetic to your cause in Squantum, but not as far as missing Catholic Mass on Sunday, if that’s what you’re suggesting. I ssume anyone going to the “Communion Service” at the Congregational Church knows they still must attend Catholic Mass to fulfill their Sunday Mass obligation.

      • Marie says:

        Good day, Angry Prish Council Member, regarding your comments 4/1/2012, 2:20 p.m. I am not suggesting the Easter Sunday Liturgy by Friends of Mary Star of the Sea to be in lieu of Mass. You seem familiar with what has happened in Squantum, I am nothing more than a neighbor of a church that should never have been shuttered and an observer of a group who knows, lives and, therefore,understands the dynamics of the community that Mary Star of the Sea Church exists in and, the need for this church to re-open. I write in the hopes that someone hears and will do the right thing. This community is somewhat isolated and unlike any other community of 58 streets anywhere, we are pretty well aware of what happens within those 58 streets. We are an aging community and a community of growing families and we support one another as, perhaps, no other community does. You may know that the group asked for a priest to say Easter Sunday Mass and were, once again, denied. This liturgy is known as a “Celebration in the Absence of a Priest” and has been approved by the USCCB and the Vatican for use in American dioceses (Please refer to the Quincy Sun of March 15, 2012 for full explanation and online for even more information). The Archdiocese has a shortage of priests, to say mass, and this “Celebration” is specifically designed to provide for worship “in the absence of a priest”. Obviously the Archdioces and the two men who were responsible for the shuttering of this particular church thought that all worshippers would then move as one to their newly designated “home”; this did not happen; instead the action of the Archdiocese had a very devisive effect. People now go to various churches from Boston to Braintree and all places in between, it split families, it split friends, and others just stay home some because they cannot venture out beyond this peninsula, others because they are are now church homeless; it made it very difficult for the elderly who would walk or get a ride from a neighbor to Mary Star of the Sea to attend Mass. The people of this community saw the need for a Catholic church presence in 1916 and built their own church, they saw a need to expand and rebuild that church in the late 1950’s and, once again, built their own church and the Archdiocese in a moment on September 5, 2010 closed the doors to that church immediately following a mass. My observations and memory from the Liturgy of last Easter is of a suppressed group of 200 who came together in great joy, in great faith, in great spirituality to share their faith with their families, their friends their neighbors, the old, the young, as they always had prior to September 5, 2010. The Archdiocese made a mistake. Perhaps all will realize and understand just how mistaken the Archdiocese was by attending this remarkable Liturgy on April 8, 2010 at noon on April 8, 2012 at First Church of Squantum (Congregational). Maybe, all would then support the opening of Mary Star of the Sea on the peninsula of Squantum and other churches that were closed because of an ill-advised Archdiocese.

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        Marie, Thank you for clarifying. You are a great spokesperson and I could use the same language to describe my own parish now. What the archdiocese will not discuss is that every time they close a parish, half the parishioners never resurface in anyone’s count anywhere. Archdiocese keeps closing churches and then complains about 16% RC’s attending Mass?? Duh, wonder why the numbers are down?

        Historically, the Archdiocese, closing churches and taking ove rthe property for sale, is a new phenomenon when one considers the age of the RC church itself. While people assume that the Church always had this power and authority, you have to realize that this is new ground. Two, three generations ago many communities and ethnic groups banded together, without any finanacial assistance whatsoever from the archdiocese, and bought their church property and paid for all upkeep. Archdiocese only “allowed” the founding of these churches contingent upon the title of those churches being put in the name of Archbishop of Boston, Corporation Sole, or some such nomenclature. Without that agreement, no one’s church would have been allowed. The equitable owner was always the parishioners who paid for and supported the church through the years. The title owner was the Archdiocese. Now some diocese are seeing suits filed based on the theory that the Archdiocese only holds the property in trust for the parishioners, who are the true beneficiaries of that trust. Fact patterns vary. Some churches/parishes were really financed and built by the Archdiocese. However, many of the ethnic churches and isolated communities never received one penny. They bought the churches and financed everything themselves. Further, these same parishes always honored their obligations to the archdiocese as far as their yearly assessments. For the Archdiocese now to move in and take over these properties is grossly unjust. I assume that Mary Star of the Sea property is considered prime real estate. Most of the churches designated for closure are similarly situated.

      • Marie says:

        Hello “yougottabekidding”, I am replying to your message of 4/2/2012, 9:04 a.m. You say, “For the Archdiocese now to move in and take over these properties is grossly unjust. I assume that Mary Star of the Sea property is considered prime real estate. Most of the churches designated for closure are similarly situated.”

        This location, not unlike others, is a prime piece of property for development BUT perfectly situated for this neighborhood’s church of the Catholic faithful and for all to observe that “God” is spoken here. They planned well in 1916.

        Something keeps flitting around in my mind, “What God has joined together, let no archdiocese put asunder”.

        I have asked repeatedly but no one responds to the question, “Who benefits from the shuttering of Mary Star of the Sea Squantum? Who?” We know it is not the Catholic faithful, we know it is but a drop in the bucket for the archdiocese, but, who wants this particular property and for what purpose? Who are the archdiocese’s best friends?

  17. Alice Slattery says:

    Regarding the post by “Discouraged”: To wish that babies be afflicted with the consequences of STDs resulting from an act of sinful lust is a cruel wish. Why would anyone wish this upon an innocent baby? ” Discouraged” should rethink this desire!
    And certainly the man and woman engaging in this sinful act should
    stop and think about the consequences of their actions. They,too, are being cruel.

    • DISCOURAGED says:

      Ms. Slattery,

      Clearly there has been a miscommunication. The message is to
      pray for these people that they be mindful of this
      potentially heartbreaking consequence.

      No one “wishes” this for babies.

      Please re-read: It is that the 96% keep in mind this
      preventable heartbreak.

  18. Alice Slattery says:

    To “Discouraged”: Sorry, I reread your words and see that you really were warning those engaging in those sinful acts of the consequences of their actions.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 587 other followers

%d bloggers like this: