Boston Archdiocese Announces Reorganization Plan

This week's editorial, "A Spirit-Led Future," has already sparked some good conversation in the comments boxes. The editors argue that "With priestly and religious vocations and Mass attendance in decline, the church can no longer do all it once did. This may seem obvious, but its corollary still provokes resistance and controversy: Still more institutions will have to close—not just parishes and parochial schools, but colleges and hospitals, soup kitchens and retreat centers."

Shortly after we went to press the Archdiocese of Boston announced a parish reorganization plan that seeks a creative solution to this new reality of church life. Here are the details:


The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is proposing to reorganize the management of its 290 parishes by creating teams to oversee multiple parishes under a single pastor, in a search for efficiencies that would save money and allow staff to concentrate on the growth of the church.

The plan, to be unveiled Monday at a priest-only meeting with Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, does not call for the closing of more churches. The archdiocese proposes to create about 125 pastoral service teams that, once created, would be free to merge programs among churches and make recommendations to the cardinal about closing and selling churches, rectories, or other buildings.

“This would be something that comes up from the ground, not something imposed’’ by church leaders, said Monsignor William P. Fay, pastor of St. Columbkille in Brighton and cochairman of the Archdiocesan Planning Commission.

The exact number of teams and the way parishes are to be grouped together have not been announced, but most teams would oversee two or three parishes. Each parish would retain its own name and identity, though parishes within a group would probably share some staff members, as well as their pastor.

Meanwhile, a lay advisory panel in Detroit has recommended the closing of four parishes. Read more here.

Tim Reidy


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Mary Keelan
6 years 10 months ago
How sad that this must happen. Suppose that the ''something that comes from the ground up and is not imposed'' includes the expansion of priesthood to include ordained priests who have married and want to serve, women who have a calling to the priesthood, and others in short or long term commitments to religious vocations who will work to expand the mission of the Church, especially given the list of what is mentioned as likely to close? Once closed it is very difficult if not impossible to re-open. It also sounds like this ''reorganization'' is just an alternative model to do what has already been decided from above. One can only hope that a new vision and special grace will infuse these decision makers.
6 years 10 months ago
There is reason to brleive that reotganization was much discussed during the US Bishops ad limina visits to Rome -and that this kind of approach was blessed.
Would be good for some bostonians might post about this as they are directly affected and on the scene.
6 years 10 months ago
When I think about the Boston reorganization - and other similar ones - that have been going on in the recent past, I am saddened that our leadership, the Pope and Bishops of the world, are spending all their energy trying to shore up the status quo, trying to keep alive a structure that is dying all around us.  Where is the trust in the movement of the Spirit among us, the People of God?  The Popes and Bishops who convened for the Second Vatican Council showed more hope in the future and were willing to dream daring dreams.  I see and hear none of that in today's Church.  In fact the loudest voices are those who call us to go back to "the way things were" ... "the good old days".

But God calls us forward, not backward.  Good Pope John called the Council because he feared that the Church was becoming a museum, and he called upon all of us to "open the windows and look out at the world ... and let the world look at us."  Are we not called, as the Living Body of Christ in the world to reach out to the world will welcoming arms and to proclaim anew for our time that Jesus is Lord?  It seems like, institutionally, we've lost our way.  Fifty years after Vatican II, the Church is more a museum than ever!


The latest from america

The tête-à-tête between Paul Krugman and Nancy Pelosi in Manhattan was like a documentary about a once-popular rock band. (Rod Morata/Michael Priest Photography)
Speaking in a deep blue stronghold, the Democratic leader of the House calls for “civility” and cautiously hopes that she will again wield the speaker’s gavel in January.
Brandon SanchezOctober 16, 2018
The lecture provoked no hostile reaction from the students who heard it. But a media firestorm erupted.
John J. ConleyOctober 16, 2018
Though the current synod appears to lack the sort of drama and high-stakes debates of the previous two, the role of conscience appears to be a common thread.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 16, 2018
When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the Olympic podium, their act drew widespread criticism. Now Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike.
Michael McKinleyOctober 16, 2018