How to close a parish

How to close a parish

Archbishop O’Malley held a private meeting with pastors of closing parishes yesterday. It was supposed to be private, so of course the newspapers got phone calls immediately after.

The pastors received a transition manual giving details on how to go about closing down the parish. It sounds very comprehensive and well thought out. There are a million details to oversee from the final Mass to disposing of the rectory’s silverware. Of course, one again, those who should be showing the most leadership are exhibiting the least. For example, this pastor:

“They did take questions, but mostly it was someone talking,” said the Rev. Francis Daley of St. James the Apostle, one of two Arlington parishes scheduled to close. “I feel they haven’t fully addressed the emotional aspect of this. . . . (Parishioners) are very upset. No real good reasons were given for doing this. And no timeframe was given, which leaves people very much in limbo.”

The reasons have been articulated time and time again and it’s supposed to be the pastor’s job to articulate them to his people. As for timeframe, it’s been given many times. Parishes will close July 25, Aug 25, and September 25. The final date will be determined in the next week. What’s the problem? There isn’t one, except when the pastor is looking for one.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli