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.