Our parishes are so much more than buildings. They’re the foundation around which our lives are built — where we marry, christen our children, say final goodbyes to departed loved ones. It’s where we find strength in unbearable times and share the joy of tremendous blessings. So when a parish closes, we grieve.
Holy Family Church in the Diocese of Rochester, N.Y., celebrated its final Mass June 29. This leaves only three out of formerly 11 churches in Rochester’s west side. Mike Latona at the Catholic Courier in the Diocese of Rochester details this in his article, “Changes envelop city churches.” In the article, parishioner Carol Dady shares her thoughts on the closing:
“It was a hard pill to swallow. I always thought that my daughters would be married in the same church I was married in, that my mother was married in.”
This trend extends outside the Rochester. Recent diocese closings in New Orleans and Allentown, Pa., are just a few of many. Demographic changes, the cost of paying sex abuse case settlements, and a clergy shortage are to blame for closings in many parishes.
Not everyone accepts the closings easily. Members of one Boston archdiocesan parish have been fighting for more than four years to save their church.
But with change comes the beginning of new possibilities, new opportunites: Latona’s story from Rochester captures this with an insight from Debbie DiFilippo, Holy Family’s catechetical leader:
“For a lot of people it’s hard to imagine what things are going to be like somewhere else,” but “we’re a resurrection people … we recognize that out of death comes life.”